Identification of differentially expressed Legionella genes during its intracellular growth in Acanthamoeba

Fu Shi Quan, Hyun Hee Kong, Hae Ahm Lee, Ki Back Chu, Eun Kyung Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Legionella grows intracellularly in free-living amoeba as well as in mammalian macrophages. Until now, the overall gene expression pattern of intracellular Legionella in Acanthamoeba was not fully explained. Intracellular bacteria are capable of not only altering the gene expression of its host, but it can also regulate the expression of its own genes for survival. In this study, differentially expressed Legionella genes within Acanthamoeba during the 24 h intracellular growth period were investigated for comparative analysis. RNA sequencing analysis revealed 3,003 genes from the intracellular Legionella. Among them, 115 genes were upregulated and 1,676 genes were downregulated more than 2 fold compared to the free Legionella. Gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed the suppression of multiple genes within the intracellular Legionella, which were categorized under ‘ATP binding’ and ‘DNA binding’ in the molecular function domain. Gene expression of alkylhydroperoxidase, an enzyme involved in virulence and anti-oxidative stress response, was strongly enhanced 24 h post-intracellular growth. Amino acid ABC transporter substrate-binding protein that utilizes energy generation was also highly expressed. Genes associated with alkylhydroperoxidase, glucose pathway, and Dot/Icm type IV secretion system were shown to be differentially expressed. These results contribute to a better understanding of the survival strategies of intracellular Legionella within Acanthamoeba.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere05238
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Bacteria
  • Differential gene expression
  • Host-parasite interactions
  • Intracellular growth
  • Legionella
  • Microorganism
  • Parasite
  • Protozoa


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