1887

Abstract

This paper describes the serendipitous discovery and first characterization of a new resistant cell type from , for which the name aspidocyte (from : Greek for shield) is proposed. These cells are induced from amoebae by a range of toxins including heavy metals and antibiotics, and were first detected by their striking resistance to detergent lysis. Aspidocytes are separate, rounded or irregular-shaped cells, which are immotile but remain fully viable; once the toxic stress is removed, they revert to amoeboid cells within an hour. Induction takes a few hours and is completely blocked by the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. Aspidocytes lack a cell wall and their resistance to detergent lysis is active, requiring continued energy metabolism, and may be assisted by a complete cessation of endocytosis, as measured by uptake of the dye FM1-43. Microarray analysis shows that aspidocytes have a distinct pattern of gene expression, with a number of genes up-regulated that are predicted to be involved in lipid metabolism. Aspidocytes were initially detected in a hypersensitive mutant, in which the AMP deaminase gene is disrupted, suggesting that the inductive pathway involves AMP levels or metabolism. Since aspidocytes can also be induced from wild-type cells and are much more resistant than amoebae to a membrane-disrupting antibiotic, it is possible that they are an adaptation allowing cells to survive a sudden onslaught of toxins in the wild.

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2007-02-01
2022-09-27
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