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Amoebas and their secret relationship with your immune system

Amoebas and their secret relationship with your immune system

Amoebas are much more than small microbes that flow in search of some particle to feed on.

Are protozoa capable of apparently complex acts, such as change shape, even coming to group together as a multicellular organism, when they feel threatened.

All this, together with his way of feeding through the phagocytosis, makes it inevitable to associate them with the functioning of the immune system and to think that, in fact, they could have been the ones that originated it.

What is an amoeba?

As I told you, an amoeba is a eukaryotic organism (with delimited nucleus) unicellular that is characterized mainly by its absence of cell wall, that gives you power change shape, and his amoeboid movement through extensions of their cytoplasm called pseudopods. These are also useful for feeding, since they intervene in the process of phagocytosis. But what is phagocytosis? Basically, it consists of literally engulfing the particles they feed on, surrounding them with their cytoplasmic membrane.

Another of the peculiarities of this microorganism is its ability to form cysts when conditions are not favorable to them. Thus, they surround themselves with a kind of cell wall and await the improvement of conditions. Meanwhile, they continue to do the mitosisSo when the cyst opens, a large number of amoebae go outside.

So what is the relationship between amoebae and the immune system?

Our immune system contains some cells, called macrophages, whose function is to destroy the Infectious agents that attack the organism. For it, engulf them and digest them, while, in addition, attract the rest of the white blood cells to the infection zone.

As I told you at the beginning, some amoebas, like Dyctiostelium discoideum are able to attract each other and group together to form multicellular organisms similar in appearance to a slug, inside which some cells called sentinels, they engulf bacteria and sequester toxins.

The process through which this single-celled organism becomes multicellular has nothing to do with embryogenesis human, but I do know that the molecular processes of communication between cells are very similar to those of animals, which is why many scientists theorize a common origin between protozoa and some phagocytes, like our macrophages.

Surely if you were one of those who used the word amoeba as a way of insulting someone, you should think twice before doing it again, because thanks to them we may be able to defend ourselves against many diseases.