Discrimination Experiments in Entamoeba and Evidence from Other Protists Suggest Pathogenic Amebas Cooperate with Kin to Colonize Hosts and Deter Rivals
Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Entamoeba histolytica is one of the least understood protists in terms of taxa, clone, and kin discrimination/recognition ability. However, the capacity to tell apart same or self (clone/kin) from different or nonself (nonclone/nonkin) has long been demonstrated in pathogenic eukaryotes like Trypanosoma and Plasmodium, free-living social amebas (Dictyostelium, Polysphondylium), budding yeast (Saccharomyces), and in numerous bacteria and archaea (prokaryotes). Kin discrimination/recognition is explained under inclusive fitness theory; that is, the reproductive advantage that genetically closely related organisms (kin) can gain by cooperating preferably with one another (rather than with distantly related or unrelated individuals), minimizing antagonism and competition with kin, and excluding genetic strangers (or cheaters = noncooperators that benefit from others’ investments in altruistic cooperation). In this review, we rely on the outcomes of in vitro pairwise discrimination/recognition encounters between seven Entamoeba lineages to discuss the biological significance of taxa, clone, and kin discrimination/recognition in a range of generalist and specialist species (close or distantly related phylogenetically). We then focus our discussion on the importance of these laboratory observations for E. histolytica's life cycle, host infestation, and implications of these features of the amebas’ natural history for human health (including mitigation of amebiasis).
Espinosa, A., & Paz-y-Miño-C, G. (2019). Discrimination Experiments in Entamoeba and Evidence from Other Protists Suggest Pathogenic Amebas Cooperate with Kin to Colonize Hosts and Deter Rivals. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 66 (2), 354-368. https://doi.org/10.1111/jeu.12673