The aim and the background of this paper was to investigate how ancient primitive eukaryotes evolved to the successful parasites they are today. In preparing this work, the most significant literature of the last years has been studied. We expand it by the results of our own research.
Results and conclusion: Anaerobic single-celled eukaryotes, such as Entamoeba invadens and Giardia lamblia, became successful invasive pathogens by using mechanisms inherited from the common ancestor (LECA). As described in previous papers pathogen protists have a surprising stem cell network (ancient protolineage) controlled by intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of cell conversion and differentiation inherited from the ancestor. Mechanisms leading to pathogenicity were not acquired after the organisms became parasitic, they were present before the single-celled organisms switched to parasitism. Only organisms possessing an extended ancestral stem cell system capable of switching between most oxidative (MO) and most hypoxic (MH) niches by changing metabolic pathways and antigenicity could develop into successful invasive pathogens like Entamoeba or Giardia. Related organisms not conserving all ancestral features evolved to become luminal commensals or free-living protists.
Keywords: Entamoeba invadens, stem cells, LECA, anaerobic metabolism, hypoxic and oxidative niches, commensalisms, parasitism