Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Lens Cleaner

Greater understanding of an eye-infecting microbe's cell wall will help develop treatments

26 May 2019

Lens Cleaner

Anyone who uses contact lenses knows that you need to clean them each night with a sterilising solution. This stops any unwanted micro-menaces infecting your eyes via the lenses, but there are some threats that can survive even this treatment. Acanthamoeba castellanii is an amoeba species that can cause keratitis and blindness, and is a growing threat in some countries. To develop treatments or preventions, researchers need to know more about its structure, so tracked three key proteins and their places in the developing amoeba cell walls. By variably staining the different proteins at different periods of growth (pictured at the second, third, and mature stage), they could pinpoint each protein’s position in the inner and outer wall, and conjoining structures. The wall is a key factor in the bugs’ resistance to both lens solution and antibiotics, so understanding how its built might help develop treatments to exploit any weaknesses.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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