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Amoeba (sp)

Page updated 21/8/02

This is the genus that most people consider when the word "amoeba" is mentioned.  Amoeba proteus is a so called "giant amoeba", being large compared to the  huge number of other genera generally considered to belonging to the amoeba. Recent molecular data (Bolivar et al, 2001) (SSUrRNA) suggest that Amoeba is most closely related to Chaos and less so to genera such as Rhizamoeba, Paraflabellula, Leptomyxa, Hartmanella and Echinamoeba. The nuclear membrane of Amoeba sp has a honey comb appearance (Goldstein et al, 1978) presumably as it is studded with so many nuclear pore complexes.  The nucleus of Amoeba proteus and A. discoides probably contains histone-like proteins (Sopina et al, 1979) as cross reactive proteins have been detected by immuno-fluorescence using antibodies directed against calf thymus histones.  So far the relationship to other genera of amoeba is a bit of a mystery as little genetic information is known.  The determination of the SSUrDNA gene of Amoeba will be complicated by the fact that this group has to be cultured with other protists whose presence may make the unambiguous isolation of the gene difficult. Saccamoeba another member of the Family Amoebidae have been analysed at the SSUrDNA level, and if the family turns out to be valid then we can assume the Amoeba fits into the general  relationship in a similar position (Amaral Zettler et al, 2000).  A myosin heavy chain gene from Amoeba proteus has been cloned and sequenced (Oh & Jeon, 1998) so this may be used when other sequences become known for other amoeba genera, so far there are only a handful of amoeba (Acanthamoeba, Dictyostelium & Entamoeba ) that have conventional myosin genes sequenced.  

Collecting "Giant" amoeba


Amoeba proteus at The Protist Information Server

Blades Biological U.K. suppliers of Amoeba proteus.

A short video of a locomoting Amoeba proteus courtesy of Rob Insall



Amaral Zettler, L.A., Nerad, T.A., O'Kelly, C.J., Peglar, M.T., Gillevet, P.M., Silberman, J.D. & Sogin, M.L. (2000). "A molecular reassessment of the Leptomyxid amoebae." Protist 151, 275-282.

Bolivar, I., Fahrni, J. F., Smirnov, A. & Pawlowski, J. (2001) SSU rRNA-based phylogenetic position of the genera Amoeba and Chaos (Lobosea, Gymnamoebia): The origin of gymnamoebae revisited. Mol.Biol.Evol. 18, 2306-2314.

Goldstein, L., Wise, G.E., Stephenson, C. & Ko, C. (1978). "Small nuclear RNAs: An association with condensed chromatin in amoebae." J.Cell Sci. 30, 227-235.

Jeon, K.W. (1995). "Bacterial endosymbiosis in amoebae." Trends Cell Biol. 5, 137-140.

Oh, S.W. & Jeon, K.W. (1998). "Characterization of myosin heavy chain and its gene in Amoeba proteus." J.Euk.Microbiol. 45(6), 600-605.

Prusch, R.D. & Thompson, V.L. (1994). "Diacyglycerol as a component of the signal-coupling pathways during the initiation of endocytosis in Amoeba proteus." Cell & Tissue Res. 279(2), 359-364.

Sopina, V.A., Ivanova, S.B., Lipskaya, A.A., Bers, E.P., Vodop'yanova, L.G., Afon'kin, S.Y. & Kozlov, A.V. (1979). "A study of histones in amoeba nuclei by indirect immunofluorescence method." Exp.Cell Res. 121, 299-306.

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