Sei sulla pagina 1di 20

Differences between a Prokaryote and Eukaryote

Prokaryote: Eukaryote:

 sizes range from 0.20 – 2.0 µm  sizes range from 10-100 µm

 organelles aren’t membrane bounded  organelles are membrane bounded
 functions of organelles aren’t localized  organelles have localized functions
 DNA material isn’t membrane bounded  genetic material membrane bounded
 Cell wall contains peptidoglycan only  cell wall has no peptidoglycan
 Plasma membrane made up primarily of  plasma membrane contains
phospholipids phospholipids, carbohydrates and
 Divides by binary fission cholesterol
 divides by mitosis and meiosis

- includes the two groups BACTERIA and ARCHAEA

The Bacteria:
- minute, simple, unicellular organisms and their genetic make-up is not enclosed in a special
nuclear membrane
- their cell wall is made up of peptidoglycan and they are called prokaryotes

Bacterial Shapes:

1. Bacillus – rod like

a. Diplobacillus – in pairs, 2 cells attached to each other
b. Streptobacillus – in chains, many cells attached to each other
c. Coccobacillus – figure 8

2. Coccus – spherical (but can be oval, elongated or flattened on one side)

a. Diplococcus – in pairs
b. Streptococcis – chainlike
c. Tetrads – divides in two planes, a square group of 8 cells
d. Sarcina – division at 3 planes, a cubical packet of 8 cells
e. Staphylococcus – division at multiple planes, grapelike or clusters

3. Spirals – long rods twisted into spirals or helices

a. Vibrio – comma shaped or incomplete spirals
b. Spirilla – rigid or tightly curved
c. Spirochete – flexible or loosely curved

4. Pleomorphic – bacteria having variable shapes and lacks a characteristic form

Smallest bacteria:
o Mycoplasma - 0.3 µm, the size of the largest viruses which are the pox virus
o Nanobacteria – 0.05 – 0.2 µm
Largest bacteria:
o Epulopiscium fishelsoni – 600x80 µm (smaller than a printed hyphen)
o Thiomargarita namibiense – larger than Epulopiscium


- includes most of the gram-negative bacteria
- (note: this handout is limited to the presentation of the pathogenic species of bacteria)

A. The α (alpha) Proteobacteria

- includes most of the proteobacteria that are capable of growth at very low levels of nutrients
- some have unusual morphology, including protrusions such as stalks or buds known as
- also include agriculturally important bacteria capable of inducing nitrogen fixation in symbiosis
with plants, and several plant and human pathogens

1. Rickettsia
- gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria coccobacilli
- they are obligate intracellular parasites (meaning they reproduce only within a mammalian cell
- first observed by Sir Howard Ricketts in the blood of a patient with Rocky Mountain Spotted
- Though they looked like small bacteria, they wouldn’t grow on artificial media, but they can be
cultivated artificially in cell culture or chick embryos
- They are transmitted to humans by bites of insects and ticks
- They need ticks, mites, lice and other arthropods as vectors
- Quickly enter the cytoplasm of the cell and begin reproducing by binary fission
- Highly pleomorphic
- Sulfonamides cannot be used for treatment because this drug stimulates them rather than
inhibiting them
- Toxins are present in the capsule but not as powerful as those formed by bacteria

Representative species:
1. Rickettsia prowazekii - causative agent of epedimec typhus (louse borne), transmitted by
2. Rickettsia typhi – endemic murine typhus (flea borne), transmitted by rat fleas
3. Ricketssia rickettsii – Rocky Mountain spotted fever (tick borne), transmitted by ticks
4. Rickettsia tsutsugamushi – tsutsugamushi disease (mite borne)
5. Rickettsia quintana – trench fever (louse borne)

B. The ß (beta) Proteobacteria
- often use nutrient substances that diffuse away from areas of anaerobic decomposition of
organic matter, such as hydrogen gas, ammonia and methane
- they are the sheathed bacteria; as cells are pushed out by cell division they form new sheath
material to elongate these tubes

1. Bordetella
- Bordetella pertussis
 nonmotile, aerobic gram-negative rod
 causes the disease “pertussis” (whooping cough)

2. Neisseria
- aerobic, gram-negative cocci that usually inhabit the mucous membranes of mammals
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae – the causative agent of gonorrhoea
- Neisseria meningitides – the causative agent of meningococcal meningitis

C. The γ (gamma) Proteobacteria

- constitute the largest subgroup of the proteobacteria and include a great variety of
physiological types

1. Pseudomonadales
- members of the order Pseudomonadales are gram-negative aerobic rods or cocci

A. Pseudomonas
 aerobic, gram-negative rods that are motile by polar flagella, either single or tufts
 produces a blue-green pigmentation
 Pseudomonas aeruginosa - under certain conditions, particularly in weakened
hosts, this organism can infect the urinary tract, burns, and wounds, and can
cause septicemia (blood infections), abscesses and meningitis
 capable of growth in some antiseptics, such as quaternary ammonium
compounds; they are sometimes resistant to antibiotics

B Francisella
 small, pleomorphic bacteria that grow only on complex media enriched with blood or
tissue extracts
 Francisella tularensis – causes tularemia

2. Legionellales
- have a conventional reproductive system and grow readily on suitable artificial media

A. Legionella
 relatively common in streams; they colonize such habitats a warm-water supply
lines in hospitals and water in the cooling towers of air conditioning systems
 they have the ability to survive and reproduce within aquatic amoebae, which
makes them difficult to eradicate in water systems
 Legionella pneumophila – causes Legionnaire’s disease
B. Coxiella
 Coxiella burnetii – causes Q fever
 like Rickettsia, they require a mammalian host cell in order to reproduce, but
unlike Rickettsia they are not transmitted among humans by insect or tick bites
 commonly transmitted by aerosols or contaminated milk
 highly resistant to the stresses of airborne transmission and heat treatment

3. Vibrionales
- facultatively anaerobic gram-negative rods
- many are slightly curved
- they are found mostly in aquatic habitats

A. Vibrio
 Vibrio cholerae – causative agent of cholera (disease characterized by a
profuse and watery diarrhea
 infected shellfish is a significant source of infection
 cholera toxin stimulates the epithelial cells to secrete large
quanities of chloride ions into the intestine causing H 2O, Na
and other electrolytes to follow and leave the body as
 Vibrio parahaemolyticus – causes a less serious form of gastroenteritis
 usually inhabiting coastal salt waters, it is transmitted to
humans mostly by raw or undercooked shellfish

4. Enterobacteriales
- facultatively anaerobic, gram-negative rods that are, if motile, peritrichously flagellated
- have simple nutritional requirements
- an important bacterial group, often commonly called enterics
- inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals
- most enterics are active fermenters of glucose and other carbohydrates
- they have fimbriae that help them adhere to surfaces or mucous membranes

A. Escherichia
- one of the most common inhabitants of the human intestinal tract
- Escherichia coli – representative species
 E. coli are not usually pathogenic; however, it can be a cause or urinary
tract infections and certain strains produce enterotoxins that cause
traveler’s diarrhea and occasionally cause very serious foodborne disease
 All pathogenic strains of E. coli have specialized fimbriae that allow them
to bind to certain intestinal epithelial cells
 They also produce toxins that cause gastrointestinal disturbances

Distinct Groups of Pathogenic Groups of E. coli:

1. Enterohemorrhagic strains – causes hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic

syndrome (HUS)

a. Best known pathogen in this group is E. coli O17:H7; inhabitant of animal intestinal
tracts, especially cattle, where it has no pathogenic effect
b. E. coli O157:H7 – produces shiga-like toxins, which are responsible for hemorrhagic
colitis, an inflammation of the colon with bleeding
c. Another dangerous complication is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), characterized
by blood in the urine leading to kidney failure, which occurs when the kidneys are
affected by the toxin

2. Enterotoxigenic strains –causes traveler’s diarrhea and infant diarrhea

a. Forms an enterotoxin that produces a watery diarrhea that resembles a mild type of
b. 2 enterotoxins which causes diarrhea are:
i. heat labile toxin – can be destroyed by heat
ii. heat stable toxin – cannot be destroyed by heat and is similar to the toxin which
causes cholera

3. Enteroinvasive strains
a. Causes dysentery almost identical to shigellosis

4. Enteropathogenic strains
a. Causes diarrhea in newborn infants and starts epidemics in hospital nurseries

5. Enteroaggegative strains
a. Causes chronic diarrhea in infants

Escherichia coli – produces indole, a form of gas, from tryptophan thereby giving a characteristic
odor to feces which is a basis in distinguishing E. coli caused diarrhea from other enteric bacteria-
caused diarrhea

B. Salmonella
- common inhabitants of the intestinal tracts of many animals especially poultry and cattle
- under unsanitary conditions, they can contaminate food
- Salomonella typhi – causes typhoid fever
- Salmonella enteritidis
- Salmonella cholerasuis – from undercooked poultry
- Salmonellosis – a less severe gastrointestinal disease caused by other salmonellae; this is
also one of the most common forms of foodborne illnesses

C. Shigella
- responsible for a disease called bacillary dysentery, or shigellosis
- they are highly virulent because of its adhesion to carbohydrate receptors on the cells of the
colon by means of adhesins on their pili
- unlike Salmonella, they are found only in humans
- Shigella are second only to E. coli as a cause of traveler’s diarrhea
- Some strains of Shigella can cause life-threatening dysentery
- Shigella dysenteriae – causes dysentery
- SHIGA toxin – potent toxin produced by Shigella dysenteriae; damages the blood vessels in
the intestinal wall causing intense inflammation of the intestinal wall. This causes bleeding so
stools are streaked with blood. Its effect on the nervous system contributes to convulsions.

This disease is also known as the asylum dysentery because of mass outbreaks that
occurred in mental institutions

D. Klebsiella
- commonly found in soil or water
- many isolates are capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmospehere, which has been proposed
as being a nutritional advantage in isolated populations with little protein nitrogen in their diet
- Klebsiella pneumoniae – occasionally causes a serious form of pneumonia in humans

E. Yersinia
- Yersinia pestis – causes plague, the Black Death of medieval Europe; urban rats in some
parts of the world and ground squirrels in the American Southwest carry these bacteria
- Fleas usually transmit the organisms among animals and to humans, although contact with
respiratory droplets from infected animals and people can be involved in transmission

F. Enterobacter
- Enterobacter cloacae & Enterobacter aerogenes – can cause urinary tract infections and
hospital-acquired infections
- They are widely distributed in humans and animals, as well as in water, sewage, and soil

6. Pasteurellales
- nonmotile; best known as human and animal pathogens

A. Pasteurella
- primarily known as a pathogen of domestic animals
- causes septicemia in chickens and other fowl, and pneumonia in several types of animals
- Pasteurella multocida – can be transmitted to humans by dog and cat bites

B. Haemophilus
- commonly inhabit the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, mouth, vagina, and
intestinal tract
- Haemophilus influenzae – named long ago because of the erroneous belief that it was
responsible for influenza
o Common cause of meningitis in young children and is a frequent
cause of earaches
o Also causes epiglotitis (a life-threatening condition in which the
epiglottis becomes infected and inflamed), septic arthritis in
children, bronchitis and pneumoniae
- Haemophilus ducreyi – causes chandroid, an STD; it enters the body through breaks in the
skin so it is less communicable than gonorrhea and syphilis

C. The Є (epsilon) Proteobacteria

- slender, gram-negative rods that are helical or vibrioid; vibrioid – helical bacteria that do not
have a complete turn

1. Campylobacter
- microaerophilic vibrios, each cell has one polar flagellum
- Campylobacter fetus – causes spontaneous abortion in domestic animals
- Campylobacter jejuni – leading cause of outbreaks of foodborne intestinal diseases; major
cause of diarrheal outbreaks in US

2. Helicobacter
- microaerophilic curved rods with multiple flagella
- Helicobacter pylori – most common cause of peptic ulcers in humans

- the nonproteobacteria gram-negative bacteria are not closely related to the gram-negative
- this group includes a number of physiologically distinctive (photosynthetic) bacteria and
morphologically distinctive bacteria, such as spirochetes

1. Chlamydia
- gram-negative coccoid bacteria
- unlike rickettsias, they do not require insects or ticks for transmission
- they are transmitted by humans by interpersonal contact or by airborne respiratory routes
- Chlamydia trachomatis – causative agent of trachoma (common cause of blindness in
humans); considered to be the primary causative agent of both nongonococcal urethritis,
which may be the most common sexually transmitted disease and lymphogranuloma
venereum, another STD
- Chlamydia psittaci – causative agent of psittacosis (ornithosis)
- Chlamydia pneumoniae – cause of mild form of pneumonia (that is prevalent in young adults)

2. Spirochetes
o Move by means of axial filaments (or endoflagella)

A. Treponema
- Treponema pallidum – causative agent of syphilis

B. Borrelia
- Borrelia burgdorferi – causes Lyme disease (tick borne)
- Borrelia recurrentis – causes epidemic relapsing fever (louse borne)
- Borrelia turicatae – causes endemic relapsing fever

C. Leptospira
- bacteria are excreted in the urine of such animals as dogs, rats, and swine.
- Leptospirosis – disease usually spread to humans by water contaminated by Leptospira
- Leptospira interrogans – causes leptospirosis or Weil’s disease
- Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae – causes spirochaetal jaundice; enters mucous membranes
through a break in the skin usually from urine contaminated waters

1. Bacteroides
- live in the human intestinal tract in numbers approaching 1 billion per gram of feces
- some species reside in anaerobic habitats such as the gingival crevice and are also frequently
recovered from deep tissue infections
- nonmotile, do not form endospores
- infections form by Bacteroides often result from puncture wounds or surgery and are a
frequent cause of peritonitis, an inflammation resulting from a perforated bowel
- Bacteroides gingivalis – causes periodontal diseases
- Fusobacterium periodonticum – causes dental abscess
- Fusobacterium nucleatum – causes respiratory tract diseases


1. Mycoplasma
- highly pleomorphic because they lack a cell wall
- can produce filaments that resemble fungi
- very small in size ranging from 0.1 – 0.25 µm; they have the smallest genome of any bacteria
- Mycoplasma pneumoniae – cause of common form of mild pneumonia
- Other genera in the order Mycoplasma, the Ureaplasma species, can enzymatically split the
urea in urine and are occasionally associated with urinary tract infections
- Ureaplasma urealyticum – causes a mild postpartum fever during delivery when it enters the
blood stream

2. Clostridiales
- obligate anaerobes
- their rod-shaped cells contain endospores that usually distend the cell
- Clostridium tetani – causes tetanus
- Clostridium botulinum – causes botulism
- Clostridium perfringens – causes gas gangrene; also causes common form of foodborne
- Clostridium difficile – inhabitant of the intestinal tract that may cause a serious diarrhea

B. Epulopiscium
- Epulopiscium fishelsoni – one of the largest bacteria

C. Veillonella
- part of the normal microbiota of the mouth and are the components of dental plaque
- anaerobic, gram-negative cocci that typically occur in pairs or short chains
- nonmotile, do not form endospores


- rod shaped, produce endospores
- common in soil and only a few are pathogenic to humans

- Bacillus anthracis – causes anthrax, a disease of cattle, sheep and horses that can be
transmitted to humans; often mentioned as a possible agent of biological warfare
- Bacillus cereus – occasionally identified as a cause of food poisoning, especially in starchy
foods such as rice

4. Lactobacillales
A. Lactobacillus
- in humans, they are located in the vagina, intestinal tract, and oral cavity
- used commercially in the production of sauerkraut, pickles, buttermilk, and yogurt

B. Streptococus
- spherical, gram-positive bacteria that typically appear in chains
- Streptococcus pyogenes – causes scarlet fever, pharyngitis (sore throat), erysipelas,
impetigo, and rheumatic fever
- Streptococcus mutans – the cause of dental caries (cavities)
- Streptococcus pneumoniae – the most common cause of pneumonia

C. Staphylococcus
- Staphylococcus aureus
o produces many toxins that contribute to the bacterium’s pathogenecity by increasing its
ability to invade the body or damage tissue
o produces the toxin responsible for toxic shock syndrome, a severe infection
characterized by high fever and vomiting, sometimes even death
o also produces an enterotoxin that causes vomiting and nausea when ingested; it is one
of the most common causes of food poisoning
- Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis – causes of skin infections

D. Listeria
- Listeria monocytogens
o can contaminate food, especially dairy products
o survives within phagocytic cells and is capable of growth at refrigeration temperatures
o if it infects a pregnant woman, it poses the threat of stillbirth or serious damage to the

5. Actinobacteria
-“mold-like” bacteria

A. Mycobacterium (ACID-FAST BACTERIA)

- aerobic, non-endospore-forming rods
- one of the acid-fast bacteria; possesses mycolic acid, a waxy substance that protects them
from hostile environments and also forms a barrier to most strains so smears should be heated
to allow stains to penetrate the cell
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis – causes tuberculosis
- Mycobacterium leprae – causes leprosy


- pleomorphic, and their morphology often varies with the age of the cells
- Corynebacterium diphtheriae – causative agent of diphtheria

C. Propionibacterium
- this bacterium has the ability to form propionic acid
- some species are important in the fermentation of Swiss cheese
- Propionibacterium acnes – commonly found on human skin and is implicated as the primary
bacterial cause of acne

6. Actinomycetes
- filamentous bacteria
- superficially their morphology resembles that of the filamentous fungi; however the filaments of
actinomycetes consist of prokaryotic cells with diameters much smaller than those of molds

A. Streptomyces
- valuable because they produce most of our commercial antibiotics
- Streptomyces griseus – 2 forms of streptomycin:
a. streptomycin – may cause damage to the eight cranial nerve causing dizziness and
ringing in the ear
b. dihydrostreptomycin – may be toxic to the auditory portion of the nerve causing
deafness, must be used under careful medical supervision
- Streptomyces venezuelae – chlorampenicol (chloromycetin)
- Streptomyces aureofasciens – chlortetracycline (aureomycin)
- Streptomyces rimosus – oxytetracycline (terramycin)
- Streptomyces erythraeus – erythromycin (erythrocin)
- Streptomyces fradiae – neomycin
- Streptomyces kanamyceticus – kanamycin

B. Actinomyces
- facultative anaerobes that are found in the mouth and throat of humans and animals
- Actinomyces israelii – causes actinomycosis (a tissue-destroying disease usually affecting
the head, neck or lungs)

C. Nocardia
- morphologically resemble Actinomyces; but they are aerobic
- often acid-fast
- common in soil
- Nocardia asteroids – occasionally causes a chronic, difficult-to-treat pulmonary infection; also
one of the causative agents of mycetoma, a localized destructive infection of the feet or hands

- The eukaryotes include algae, protozoa, fungi, higher plants and animals
- The eukaryotic cell is typically larger and structurally more complex than the prokaryotic cell

Flagella and cilia

- many types of eukaryotic cells have projections that are used for cellular locomotion or for
moving substances along the surface of the cell
- these projections contain cytoplasm and are enclosed by the plasma membrane

- if the projections are few and are long in relation to the size of the cell, they are called
- if the projections are numerous and short, resembling hairs, they are called CILIA
- both flagella and cilia are anchored to the plasma membrane by a basal body, and both consist
of nine pairs of microtubules (doublets) arranged in a ring, plus another two microtubules in the
center of the ring, an arrangement called a 9 + 2 array
- Microtubules are long, hollow tubes made up of a protein called tubulin
- A prokaryotic flagellum rotates, but a eukaryotic flagellum moves in a wavelike manner

The Cell Wall and Glycocalyx

- most eukaryotes have cell walls, although they are generally much simpler than those of
prokaryotic cells
- many algae have cell walls consisting of the polysaccharide cellulose
- In most fungi, the principal structural component of the cell wall is the polysaccharide chitin
- The cell walls of yeasts contains the polysaccharides glucan and mannan
- In eukaryotes that lack a cell wall, the plasma membrane may be the outer covering
- Protozoa do not have a typical cell wall; instead, they have a flexible outer covering called a
- In other eukaryotic cells, including animal cells, the plasma membrane is covered by a
glycocalyx (which strengthens the cell surface, helps attach cells together, and may contribute
to cell-cell recognition)
- Eukaryotic cells do not contain peptidoglycan (this is significant medically because antibiotics,
such as penicillins and cephalosporins, act against petidoglycan and therefore do not affect
human eukaryotic cells)

The Plasma (Cytoplasmic) Membrane

- Like prokaryotic plasma membrane, the eukaryotic plasma membrane is a phospholipids
bilayer containing proteins
- BUT, eukaryotic plasma membranes contain carbohydrates attached to the proteins and
sterols not found in prokaryotic cells (except Mycoplasma bacteria)
- eukaryotic cells can move materials across the plasma membrane by the passive processes
used by prokaryotes, in addition to active transport and endocytosis (phagocytosis and

- the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells include everything inside the plasma membrane and external
to the nucleus (the term cytosol refers to the fluid portion of cytoplasm)
- the chemical characteristics of the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells resemble those of the
cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells
- eukaryotic cytoplasm has a cytoskeleton and exhibits cytoplasmic streaming

- organells are structures with specific shapes and specialized functions
- include the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosome, Golgi complex, lysosomes, vacuoles,
mitochondira, chloroplasts, peroxisomes, and centrosomes
- eukaryotic cells contain ribosomes that are larger and denser than prokaryotic ribosomes

A. Nucleus
- usually spherical or oval, largest structure in the cell, contains almost all of the cell’s hereditary
information (DNA)
- surrounded by a double membrane called the nuclear envelope
- tiny channels in the membrane are present called nuclear pores
- within the nuclear envelope are spherical bodies called nucleoli
- nucleus also contains most of the cell’s DNA, which is combined with several proteins,
including histones and nonhistones
- when the cell is not reproducing, the DNA and its associated proteins appear as a threadlike
mass called chromatin
- during nuclear division, the chromatin coils into shorter and thicker rodlike bodies called

B. Endoplasmic Reticulum
- provides a surface for chemical reactions
- serves as a transporting network
- stores synthesized molecules
- protein synthesis and transport occur on rough ER
- lipid synthesis occurs on smooth ER

C. Ribosomes
- attached to the outer surface of rough ER, which are also found free in the cytoplasm
- sites of protein synthesis in the cell
- ribosomes of eukaryotic ER and cytoplasm are larger than those of prokaryotic cells

D. Golgi Complex
- consists of flattened sacs called cisterns
- functions in membrane formation and protein secretion

E. Lysosomes
- formed from Golgi complexes and look like membrane-enclosed spheres
- store powerful digestive enzymes capable of breaking down various molecules; these
enzymes can also digest bacteria that enter the cell
- have only a single membrane and lack internal structure
- human white blood cells, which use phagocytosis to ingest bacteria, contain large number of

F. Vacuoles
- membrane-enclosed cavities derived from the Golgi complex or endocytosis
- usually found in plant cells that store various substances, help bring food into the cell, increase
cell size, and provide rigidity to leaves and stems

G. Mitochondria
- primary sites of ATP production
- contains 70S ribosomes and DNA, and they multiply by binary fission

H. Choloroplasts
- contain chlorophyll and enzymes for photosynthesis
- like mitochondria, they contain 70S ribosomes and DNA and multiply by binary fission

I. Peroxisomes
- organelle similar in structure to lysosomes, but smaller
- contain one or more enzymes that can oxidize various organic substances
- enzymes in peroxisomes oxidize toxic substances, such as alcohol
- also contain the enzyme catalase, which decomposes H2O2

J. Centrosome
- consists of pericentriolar area and centrioles
- centrioles are 9 triplet microtubules involved in formation of mitotic and flagellar microtubules

- they are chemoheterotrophs, requiring organic compounds for energy and carbon
- aerobic or facultatively anaerobic; only a few anaerobic fungi are known

Characteristics of Fungi:

1. Molds
 the thallus (body) of a mold or fleshy fungus consists of filaments of cells called hyphae
 a mass of hyphae is called a mycelium

2. Yeasts
 are nonfilamentous, unicellular fungi that are typically spherical or oval.

A. Budding yeast, such as Saccharomyces divide unevenly

 In budding, the parent cell forms a protuberance (bud) on its outer surface. As bud elongates.
The parent cell’s nucleus divides, and one nucleus migrates into the bud. Cell wall material is
then laid down between the bud and parent cell, and the bud eventually breaks away.
 Some yeasts produce buds that fail to detach themselves; these buds form a short chain of
cells called a pseudohypha.
 Candida albicans attaches to human epithelial cells as a yeast but usually requires
pseudohyphae to invade deeper tissues

B. Fission yeasts, such as Schizosaccharomyces, divide evenly to produce new cells.

 during fission, the parent cell elongates, its nucleus divides, and two daughter cells are

3. Dimorphic fungi
 some fungi, most notably the pathogenic species, exhibit dimorphism – two forms of growth
(such fungi can grow either as a mold or a yeast).
 Dimorphism in pathogenic fungi is temperature-dependent: At 37°C, the fungus is yeastlike,
and at 25°C, it is moldlike

Life cycle of fungi:

- Filamentous fungi can reproduce asexually by fragmentation of their hyphae
- In addition, both sexual and asexual reproduction in fungi occurs by the formation of spores
- Fungi are usually identified by spore type

A. Asexual spores
- produced by an individual fungus through mitosis and subsequent cell division; there is no
fusion of the nuclei of cells
1. Conidiospore – a unicellular or multicellular spore that is not enclosed in a sac
a. Conidiospores are produced in chain at the end of a conidiophore
b. Such spores are produced by Aspergillus

Type of conidiospore:
 arthrospore – Coccidiodes immitis produces this type of spores
 blastoconidia – can be found in some yeasts, such as Candida albicans and

2. Chlamydospore – a thick-walled spore formed by rounding and enlargement within a

hyphal segment
a. A fungus that produces chlamydospores is the yeast Candida

3. Sporangiospore – formed within a sporangium, or sac, at the end of an aerial hyphae

called a sporangiophore
a. Rhizopus produces this type of spores

B. Sexual spores – results from sexual reproduction

Nutritional Adaptations of Fungi:

- fungi are generally adapted to environments that would be hostile to bacteria
- fungi usually grow better in an environment with a pH of about 5, which is too acidic for the
growth of most common bacteria
- almost all molds are aerobic; most yeasts are facultatively anaerobes
- most fungi are resistant to osmotic pressure than bacteria; most can therefore grow in
relatively high sugar or salt concentrations
- fungi can grow on substances with a very low moisture content, generally too low to support
the growth of bacteria
- fungi require somewhat less nitrogen than bacteria for an equivalent amount of growth
- fungi are often capable of metabolizing complex carbohydrates, such as lignin (a component of
wood), that most bacteria cannot use for nutrients
- these characteristics enable fungi to grow on such unlikely substrates as bathroom walls, shoe
leather, and discarded newspapers

Medically Important Phyla of Fungi

- Note: this handout is limited to the presentation of pathogenic fungi

1. Zygomycota
o conjugation fungi; saprophytic molds that have coenocytic hyphae
o Rhizopus nigricans –the common black bread mold
o the asexual spores of Rhizopus are sporangiospores; the sexual spores are the
zygospores (which is a large spore enclosed in a thick wall)

2. Ascomycota
o sac fungi; include molds with septate hyphae and some yeasts
o asexual spores are usually conidiospores

3. Basidiomycota
- club fungi; includes fungi that produce mushrooms

A. Teleomorphs – produce both sexual and asexual spores

B. Anamorphs – have lost the ability to reproduce sexually (e.g. Penicillium)

Fungal Diseases:

 mycosis – term used to refer to any fungal infection; mycoses are generally chronic (long-
lasting) infections because fungi grow slowly

5 groups of mycoses:
-classified according to the degree of tissue involvement and mode of entry into the host

1. Systemic mycoses
a. Fungal infections deep within the body
b. Not restricted to any particular region of the body but can affect a number of tissues and
c. Usually caused by fungi that live in the soil
d. Inhalation of spores is the route of transmission; this infection typically begin in the
lungs and then spread to other body tissues
e. Not contagious from animal to human or from human to human
f. Examples: histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis

2. Subcutaneous mycoses
a. Fungal infections beneath the skin caused by saprophytic fungi that live in soil and on
b. Infection occurs by direct implantation of spores or mycelial fragments into a puncture
wound in the skin

3. Cutaneous mycoses (dermatomycoses)

a. Infections in the epidermis, hair, nails
b. Fungi that infect only the epidermis, hair, and nails are called dermatophytes
c. Dermatophytes secrete keratinase, an enzyme that degrades keratin, a protein found
in hair, skin and nails
d. infection is transmitted from human to human or from animal to human by direct contact
or by contact with infected hairs and epidermal cells (as from barber shop clippers or
shower room floors)

4. Superficial mycoses
a. Localized on hair shafts and superficial skin cells
b. Prevalent in tropical countries

5. Opportunistic mycoses

Opportunistic pathogen – generally harmless in its normal habitat but can become
pathogenic in host who is seriously debilitated or traumatized, who is under treatment with
broad-spectrum antibiotics, or whose immune system is suppressed by drugs or by an immune
disorder; AIDS patient are quite susceptible to opportunistic pathogens

a. can infect any tissues; however, they are usually systemic

b. Caused by normal microbiota or fungi that are not usually pathogenic
c. Include mucormycosis, caused by some Rhizopus and Mucor; (infection occurs
mostly in patients with diabetes mellitus, with leukemia, or undergoing treatment with
immunosuppressive drugs)
d. aspergillosis, caused by Aspergillus (this disease occurs in people who have
debilitating lung diseases or cancer and have inhaled Aspergillus spores); and
e. candidiasis (or yeast infection), caused by Candida albicans (frequently occurs in
newborns, in people with AIDS, and in people being treated with broad-spectrum

B. Protozoa
- unicellular, eukaryotic chemoheterotrophic organisms
- inhabit water and soil
- protozoan means “first animal”, which generally describes its animal-like nutrition
- in addition to getting a food, a protozoan must reproduce, and parasitic species must be able
to get from one host to another

Medically Important Phyla of Protozoa

1. Archaezoa
- eukaryotes that lack mitochondria
- live in symbionts in the digestive tracts of animals
- spindle-shaped, with flagella projecting from the front end
- most have two or more flagella, which move in a whiplike manner that pulls the cells through
their environment
- Trichomonas vaginalis
 human parasite; can be found in the vagina and in the male urinary tract
 transmitted through sexual intercourse but can also be transmitted by toilet facilities or
- Giardia lamblia
 can be found in the small intestine of humans and other mammals;
 excreted in the feces as a cyst and survives in the environment before being ingested
by the next host
 causes giardiasis

2. Microsporidia
- lacks mitochondria
- obligate intracellular parasites
- causes a number of human diseases, including chronic diarrhea and keratoconjunctivitis
(inflammation of the conjunctiva near the cornea)

3. Rhizopoda
- or the amoebas, they move by extending blunt, lobelike projections of the cytoplasm called
- Entamoeba histolytica
 the causative agent of amoebic dysentery;
 the only pathogenic amoeba found in the human intestine
 primary food is the red blood cells
 transmitted between humans through ingestion of the cysts that are excreted in the
feces of the infected person
- Acanthamoeba
 grows in water, including tap water
 can infect the cornea and cause blindness

4. Apicomplexan
- not motile in their mature forms and are obligate intracellular parasites
- example: Plasmodium
 The causative agent of malaria
 Grows by sexual reproduction in the Anopheles mosquito
- Babesia microti
 Parasite of the red blood cells
 Causes fever and anemia in immunosuppressed individuals
 Transmitted by the tick Ixodes scapularis
- Toxoplasma gondii
 Intracellular parasite of humans
 Life cycle involves domestic rats
 Dangerous to pregnant women, as it can cause congenital infections in utero
- Cryptosporidium
 Newly recognized parasite of humans
 Can cause respiratory and gallbladder infections in AIDS patients and other
immunosuppressed people, and may be a major cause of death
 Can be transmitted to humans through the feces of cows, rodents, dogs, cats

5. Ciliophora
- or ciliates, have cilia that are similar but shorter than flagella
- Balantidium coli
 The causative agent of a severe, though rare, type of dysentery

6. Euglenozoa
- Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
 Causes African sleeping sickness
 Transmitted by the tsetse fly
- Trypanosoma cruzi
 Causative agent of Chagas’ disease
 Transmitted by the “kissing bug”, so named because it bites on the face

Blood flagellates

Flagellate Insect Vector Disease

Trypanosoma cruzi Reduviid (assassin) bug Chagas disease

Trypanosoma gambiense Tsetse fly (Glossina sp.) West African sleeping sickness
Trypanosoma rhodesiense Tsetse fly (Glossina sp.) East African sleeping sickness
Leishmania donovani Sand fly (Phlebotomos sp). Visceral Leishmaniasis; Dumdum
Leishmania tropica Sand fly (Phlebotomos sp.) Cutaneous Leishmaniasis; Oriental
sore; Baghdad boil
Leishmania braziliensis Sand fly (Phlebotomos sp.) Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis;


1. Platyhelminthes (flatworms)
2. Nematoda (roundworms)
- these worms are commonly called helminthes

Characteristics of Helminths:

- multicellular, eukaryotic animals that generally possess digestive, circulatory, nervous,

excretory and reproductive systems
- parasitic helminthes must be highly specialized to live inside their hosts

 important terminologies:
1. host – an organism infected by a pathogen
2. definitive host – an organism that harbors the adult, sexually mature form of a parasite
3. intermediate host – an organism that harbors the larval or sexual stage of a helminth or

- these are the flatworms, they are flattened from front to back
- include the trematodes and cestodes

A. Trematodes
- other name: flukes; often have flat, leaf-shaped bodies with a ventral sucker and an oral
sucker; these suckers hold the organism in place and suck fluids from the host
- flukes can also obtain food by absorbing it through their nonliving outer covering, called the
- Clonorchis sinensis – the Asian liver fluke
- Paragonimus westermani – lung fluke; lives in the bronchioles of humans and other
mammals, and is approximately 6 mm wide and 12 mm long, causes paragonimiasis
- Schistosoma – blood fluke, causes schistosomiasis

Life cycle of the lung fluke Paragonimus westermani:

1. hermaphroditic adult fluke releases fertilized eggs into human lung

2. eggs reach water after being excreted in the feces
3. miracidium develops in egg and hatches from egg
4. free-swimming miracidium enters snail
5. inside snail, miracidium develops into redia, which reproduces asexually to produce rediae,
several cercaria develop within redia
6. cercaria leaves snail and enters crayfish
7. in crayfish, cercaria encysts to produce metacercaria
8. infected crayfish is eaten by human, and metacercaria develops into adult fluke

B. Cestodes
- other name: tapeworms; intestinal parasites
- the head, or scolex (plural: scoleses), has suckers for attaching to the intestinal mucosa of the
definitive host; some species also have small hooks for attachment
- tapeworms do not ingest the tissues of their hosts; in fact, they completely lack a digestive
- to obtain nutrients from the small intestine, they absorb food through their cuticle
- Taenia saginata – beef tapeworm, live in humans and can reach a length of 6 m
- Taenia solium – pork tapeworm, adult worms living in the human intestine produce eggs,
which are passed out in the feces
 When eggs are eaten by pigs, the larval helminth encysts in the pig’s muscles;
humans become infected when they eat undercooked pork
 Causes neurocysticercosis
- Echinococcus granulosus – causes hydatidosis

Life cycle of Echinococcus granulosus

1. eggs are excreted with feces

2. eggs are ingested by sheep, deer, or humans (humans can also become infected by
contaminating their hands with dog feces or saliva from a dog that has licked itself)
3. eggs hatch in the human’s small intestine, and the larvae migrate to the liver or lungs
4. larva develops into a hydatid cyst; the cyst contains “brood capsules,” from which thousands
of scoleces might be produced
5. humans are a dead-end for the parasite, but in the wild, the cycts might be in a deer that is
eaten by a wolf
6. the scoleces would be able to attach themselves in the wolf’s intestine and grow into adults

C. Nematodes
- roundworms, cylindrical and tapered at each end
- have a complete digestive system, consisting of a mouth, an intestine and an anus
- some species are free-living in soil, and water, and others are parasites on plants and animals
- parasitic nematodes do not have the succession of larval stages exhibited by flatworms
- some nematodes pass their entire life cycle, from egg to mature adult, in a single host
- Enterobius vermicularis
 pinworm; found in the large intestine; from there, the female pinworm migrates to the
anus to deposit her eggs on the perianal skin
 eggs can be ingested by the host or by another person exposed through contaiminated
clothing or bedding
- Ascaris lumbricoides
 Adult Ascaris lives in the small intestines of humans and domestic animals (such as
pigs and horses)
 Feeds primarily on semidigested food
 Eggs, excreted with feces, can survive in the soil for long periods until accidentally
ingested by another host
 The eggs hatch in the small intestine of the host, mature in the lungs, and from there
migrate to the intestines

- Necator americanus
 Adult hookworms
 Live in the small intestine of humans
 Eggs are excreted in the feces
 Larvae hatch in the soil, where they feed on bacteria
 A larva enter its host by penetrating the host’s skin; it then enters a blood or lymph
vessel, which carries it to the lungs
 It is coughed in the sputum, swallowed and finally carried to the small intestine
 People can avoid hookworm infections by wearing shoes
- Trichenella spiralis
 Causes trichinosis, usually acquired by eating encysted larvae in poorly cooked pork
- Anisakines
 Wriggly worms
 Can be transmitted to humans from infected fish and squid
 Anisakine larvae are in the fish’s intestine and migrate to the muscle during refrigerated
 Not transmitted in fresh fish
 Freezing or thorough cooking will kill the larvae