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1 History
2 Anatomy
3 Movement
4 Genome
4.1 Osmoregulation
4.2 Amoebic cysts
5 Nutrition in amoebae
6 Rero!uction o" amoebae
# $i!eo gallery
% &ee also
' Re"erences
1( )*ternal lin+s
,-e microscoic amoeba .as "irst !iscovere! by August /o-ann R0sel von Rosen-o" in 1#5#.122
)arly naturalists re"erre! to Amoeba as t-e Proteus animalcule a"ter t-e Gree+ go! 3roteus4 .-o
coul! c-ange -is s-ae. ,-e name 5amibe5 .as given to it by 6ory !e &aint7$incent4132 "rom t-e
Gree+ amoib 8 9:;<=>4 meaning c-ange. 142 Dientamoeba fragili .as "irst !escribe! in 1'1%4 an!
.as lin+e! to -arm in -umans.152

Anatomy o" an amoeba.
,-e cell?s organelles an! cytolasm are enclose! by a cell membrane@ it obtains its "oo! t-roug-
-agocytosis. ,-is ma+es amoebae -eterotro-s. Amoebae -ave a single large tubular seu!oo! at
t-e anterior en!4 an! several secon!ary ones branc-ing to t-e si!es. ,-e cytolasm o" amoeba is
!ivi!e! into outer ectolasm an! inner en!olasm. ,-e most "amous secies4 Amoeba proteus4
averages about 22(7#4( 9m in lengt- .-ile in motion4162 ma+ing it a giant among amoeboi!s.1#2 A
"e. amoeboi!s belonging to !i""erent genera can gro. larger4 -o.ever4 suc- as Gromia4 3elomy*a4
an! A-aos.
Amoebae?s most recogniBable "eatures inclu!e one or more nuclei an! a simle contractile vacuole
to maintain osmotic eCuilibrium 7 lo. .ater amounts in cell rotecting cell "rom bursting .it-
e*cess .ater. Doo! enveloe! by t-e amoeba is store! an! !igeste! in vacuoles. Amoebae4 li+e
ot-er unicellular eu+aryotic organisms4 rero!uce ase*ually via mitosis an! cyto+inesis4 not to be
con"use! .it- binary "ission4 .-ic- is -o. ro+aryotes 8bacteria> rero!uce. En cases .-ere t-e
amoebae are "orcibly !ivi!e!4 t-e ortion t-at retains t-e nucleus .ill survive an! "orm a ne. cell
an! cytolasm4 .-ile t-e ot-er ortion !ies. Amoebae also -ave no !e"inite s-ae.1%2
Amoebae move by using seu!oo!ia or 5"alse "eet5. 3seu!oo!ia are "orme! by t-e amoeba by out t-e cytolasm4 "ollo.e! by en!olasm "!.
,-e amoeba is remar+able "or its very large genome. ,-e secies Amoeba proteus -as 2'( billion
base airs in its genome4 .-ile t-e relate! Polychaos dubium 8"ormerly +no.n as Amoeba dubia>
-as 6#( billion base airs. ,-e -uman genome is small by contrast4 .it- its count o" 2.' billion base
airs.1'2 Fnicellular bu!!ing yeast -as an estimate! 12 million airs.1%2
Gi+e most ot-er rotists4 amoebae -ave a contractile vacuole. Amoeba proteus4 a "ree7living4
"res-.ater secies o" amoeba4 -as one contractile vacuole 8A$>4 .-ic- is a membrane7boun!
organelle. ,-e A$ "ills .it- .ater "rom t-e cytolasm 8!iastole>4 an!4 .-ile "using .it- t-e
cell membrane4 it Cuic+ly contracts releasing .ater to t-e outsi!e 8systole> by e*ocytosis. ,-is
rocess regulates t-e amount o" .ater resent in t-e cytolasm o" t-e amoeba@ it is4 a means o"
Emme!iately a"ter t-e A$ e*els .ater4 its membrane crumles4 an! soon a"!s4 many small
vacuoles or vesicles aear surroun!ing t-e membrane o" t-e A$.11(2 Et is suggeste! t-at t-ese
vesicles slit "rom t-e A$ membrane itsel". ,-e small vesicles gra!ually increase in siBe as t-ey
ta+e in .ater an! t-en t-ey "use .it- t-e A$4 .-ic- gro.s in siBe as it "ills .it- .ater. ,-ere"ore4
t-e "unction o" t-ese numerous small vesicles is to collect e*cess cytolasmic .ater an! c-annel it
to t-e central A$. ,-e A$ s.ells "or a number o" minutes an! t-en contracts to e*el t-e .ater
outsi!e. ,-e cycle is t-en reeate! again.
,-e membranes o" t-e small vesicles as .ell as t-e membrane o" t-e A$ -ave aCuaorin roteins
embe!!e! in t-em.11(2 ,-ese transmembrane roteins "acilitate .ater assage t-roug- t-e
membranes. ,-e resence o" aCuaorin roteins in bot- A$ an! t-e small vesicles suggests t-at
.ater collection occurs bot- t-roug- t-e A$ membrane itsel" as .ell as t-roug- t-e "unction o" t-e
vesicles. Ho.ever4 t-e vesicles4 being more numerous an! smaller4 .oul! allo. a "aster .ater
uta+e !ue to t-e larger total sur"ace area rovi!e! by t-e vesicles.11(2
,-e small vesicles also -ave anot-er rotein embe!!e! in its membraneH $acuolar7tye H
or $7A,3ase.11(2 ,-is A,3ase ums H
ions into t-e vesicle lumen4 lo.ering its H .it- resect
to t-e cytosol. Ho.ever4 t-e H o" t-e A$ in some amoebas is only mil!ly aci!ic4 suggesting t-at
t-e H
ions are being remove! "rom t-e A$ or "rom t-e vesicles. Et is t-oug-t t-at t-e
electroc-emical gra!ient generate! by $7A,3ase mig-t be use! "or t-e transort o" ions 8it is
resume! J
an! Al
> into t-e vesicles. ,-is buil!s an osmotic gra!ient across t-e vesicle
membrane4 lea!ing to in"lu* o" .ater "rom t-e cytosol into t-e vesicles by osmosis411(2 .-ic- is
"acilitate! by aCuaorins.
&ince t-ese vesicles "use .it- t-e central contractile vacuole4 .-ic- e*els t-e .ater4 ions en! u
being remove! "rom t-e cell4 .-ic- is not bene"icial "or a "res-.ater organism. ,-e removal o" ions
.it- t-e .ater -as to be comensate! by some yet7uni!enti"ie! mec-anism.
Gi+e most cells4 amoebae are a!versely a""ecte! by e*cessive osmotic ressure cause! by e*tremely
saline or !ilute .ater. Amoebae .ill revent t-e in"lu* o" salt in saline .ater4 resulting in a net loss
o" .ater as t-e cell becomes isotonic .it- t-e environment4 causing t-e cell to s-rin+. 3lace! into
"res- .ater4 amoebae .ill matc- t-e concentration o" t-e surroun!ing .ater4 causing t-e cell to
s.ell an! sometimes burst i" t-e .ater surroun!ing t-e amoeba is too !ilute.1112
Amoebic cysts
Main articleH Microbial cyst
En environments t-at are otentially let-al to t-e cell4 an amoeba may become !ormant by "orming
itsel" into a ball an! secreting a rotective membrane to become a microbial cyst. ,-e cell remains
in t-is state until it encounters more "avourable con!itions.1%2 K-ile in cyst "orm t-e amoeba .ill
not relicate an! may !ie i" unable to emerge "or a lengt-y erio! o" time.
Nutrition in amoebae
Amoeba obtains its nutrition in a -eterotro-ic mo!e. 6ot- t-e anabolic an! catabolic "unctions are
carrie! out in t-e same cell. Amoeba "ee!s on lan+ton an! !iatoms resent in .ater. Et can "orm
arm7 li+e structures calle! seu!oo!ia4 e*ten!ing "rom any art o" its bo!y as it is s-aeless. K-en
it senses "oo! in its surroun!ings it e*ten!s its seu!oo!ia in t-at !irection an! moves!s it.
,-en it engul"s t-e "oo! .it- its seu!oo!ia. K-en t-e "oo! enters its bo!y t-e amoeba "orms a
"oo! vacuole aroun! it .-ic- contains certain enBymes to !igest t-e "oo!. K-en t-e "oo! is
!igeste! t-e un.ante! .aste is release! t-roug- its bo!y sur"ace.
Reproduction of amoebae
Ase*uality 8rero!uction by binary "ission> is o"ten t-oug-t to be a !e"ining c-aracteristic o"
amoebae.1122 Ho.ever4 analysis o" #1 isolates o" amoeba "rom t-e same geogra-ical area along a
river in!icate! t-at se* must be occurring in t-at articular lineage.1122 Recently4 Ga-r et al.1132
roose! t-at t-e maLority o" amoeboi! lineages are4 contrary to oular belie"4 at least anciently
se*ual4 an! t-at most current ase*ual grous -ave arisen recently an! in!een!ently. En a!!ition4
recent evi!ence also in!icates t-at several ot-er single7celle! eu+aryotes t-at .ere reviously
regar!e! as ase*ual are4 or .ere in t-e ast4 caable o" se*ual rero!uction. ,-ese "in!ings -ave le!
to t-e i!ea t-at se* .as resent in t-e earliest common ancestor o" all eu+aryotes.1142 1152