Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
The Role of the Maridi Dam in Causing an Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy Epidemic in Maridi, South Sudan: An Epidemiological, Sociological, and Entomological Study
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040315 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Background: An epilepsy prevalence of 4.4% was documented in onchocerciasis-endemic villages close to the Maridi River in South Sudan. We investigated the role of the Maridi dam in causing an onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy epidemic in these villages. Methods: Affected communities were visited [...] Read more.
Background: An epilepsy prevalence of 4.4% was documented in onchocerciasis-endemic villages close to the Maridi River in South Sudan. We investigated the role of the Maridi dam in causing an onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy epidemic in these villages. Methods: Affected communities were visited in November 2019 to conduct focus group discussions with village elders and assess the OV16 seroprevalence in 3- to 9-year-old children. Entomological assessments to map blackfly breeding sites and determine biting rates around the Maridi River were conducted. Historical data regarding various activities at the Maridi dam were obtained from the administrative authorities. Results: The Maridi dam was constructed in 1954–1955. Village elders reported an increasing number of children developing epilepsy, including nodding syndrome, from the early 1990s. Kazana 2 (the village closest to the dam; epilepsy prevalence 11.9%) had the highest OV16 seroprevalence: 40.0% among children 3–6 years old and 66.7% among children 7–9 years old. The Maridi dam spillway was found to be the only Simulium damnosum breeding site along the river, with biting rates reaching 202 flies/man/h. Conclusion: Onchocerciasis transmission rates are high in Maridi. Suitable breeding conditions at the Maridi dam, coupled with suboptimal onchocerciasis control measures, have probably played a major role in causing an epilepsy (including nodding syndrome) epidemic in the Maridi area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Onchocerciasis and River Epilepsy)
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Article
Venereal Transmission of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus by Culicoides sonorensis Midges
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040316 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Culicoides sonorensis biting midges are well-known agricultural pests and transmission vectors of arboviruses such as vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The epidemiology of VSV is complex and encompasses a broad range of vertebrate hosts, multiple routes of transmission, and diverse vector species. In temperate [...] Read more.
Culicoides sonorensis biting midges are well-known agricultural pests and transmission vectors of arboviruses such as vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). The epidemiology of VSV is complex and encompasses a broad range of vertebrate hosts, multiple routes of transmission, and diverse vector species. In temperate regions, viruses can overwinter in the absence of infected animals through unknown mechanisms, to reoccur the next year. Non-conventional routes for VSV vector transmission may help explain viral maintenance in midge populations during inter-epidemic periods and times of adverse conditions for bite transmission. In this study, we examined whether VSV could be transmitted venereally between male and female midges. Our results showed that VSV-infected females could venereally transmit virus to uninfected naïve males at a rate as high as 76.3% (RT-qPCR), 31.6% (virus isolation) during the third gonotrophic cycle. Additionally, VSV-infected males could venereally transmit virus to uninfected naïve females at a rate as high as 76.6% (RT-qPCR), 49.2% (virus isolation). Immunofluorescent staining of micro-dissected reproductive organs, immunochemical staining of midge histological sections, examination of internal reproductive organ morphology, and observations of mating behaviors were used to determine relevant anatomical sites for virus location and to hypothesize the potential mechanism for VSV transmission in C. sonorensis midges through copulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Untargeted Alternative Routes of Arbovirus Transmission)
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Article
Long-Term Incubation PrPCWD with Soils Affects Prion Recovery but Not Infectivity
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040311 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious prion disease of cervids. The infectious agent is shed from animals at the preclinical and clinical stages of disease where it persists in the environment as a reservoir of CWD infectivity. In this study, we demonstrate [...] Read more.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious prion disease of cervids. The infectious agent is shed from animals at the preclinical and clinical stages of disease where it persists in the environment as a reservoir of CWD infectivity. In this study, we demonstrate that long-term incubation of CWD prions (generated from tg-mice infected with deer or elk prions) with illite, montmorillonite (Mte) and whole soils results in decreased recovery of PrPCWD, suggesting that binding becomes more avid and irreversible with time. This continual decline of immunoblot PrPCWD detection did not correlate with prion infectivity levels. Bioassay showed no significant differences in incubation periods between mice inoculated with 1% CWD brain homogenate (BH) and with the CWD-BH pre-incubated with quartz or Luvisolic Ae horizon for 1 or 30 weeks. After 55 weeks incubation with Chernozem and Luvisol, bound PrPCWD was not detectable by immunoblotting but remained infectious. This study shows that although recovery of PrPCWD bound to soil minerals and whole soils with time become more difficult, prion infectivity is not significantly altered. Detection of prions in soil is, therefore, not only affected by soil type but also by length of time of the prion–soil interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prions and Prion-like Transmissible Protein Pathogens)
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Article
Prevention and Control of Legionella and Pseudomonas spp. Colonization in Dental Units
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040305 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Introduction: Dental Unit Waterlines (DUWLs) have shown to be a source of Legionella infection. We report the experience of different dental healthcare settings where a risk management plan was implemented. Materials and methods: In a Hospital Odontostomatology Clinic (HOC) and three Private Dental [...] Read more.
Introduction: Dental Unit Waterlines (DUWLs) have shown to be a source of Legionella infection. We report the experience of different dental healthcare settings where a risk management plan was implemented. Materials and methods: In a Hospital Odontostomatology Clinic (HOC) and three Private Dental Clinics (PDCs) housing 13 and six dental units (DUs), respectively, an assessment checklist was applied to evaluate staff compliance with guideline recommendations. DUWLs microbial parameters were investigated before and after the application of corrective actions. Results: In the HOC a poor adherence to good practices was demonstrated, whereas protocols were carefully applied in PDCs. L. pneumophila sg 2–15 was isolated in 31% (4/13) and 33% (2/6) of DUs in HOC and PDCs, respectively, mainly from handpieces (32%, 6/19) with counts >102 colony-forming units per milliliter (CFU/L), often associated with P. aeruginosa (68%, 13/19). The shock disinfection with 3% v/v hydrogen peroxide (HP) showed a limited effect, with a recolonization period of about 4 weeks. Legionella was eradicated only after 6% v/v HP shock disinfection and filters-installation, whilst P. aeruginosa after the third shock disinfection with a solution of 4% v/v HP and biodegradable surfactants. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate the presence and persistence of microbial contamination within the DUWLs, which required strict adherence to control measures and the choice of effective disinfectants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legionella Contamination in Water Environment)
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Article
Molecular Characterization and Antimicrobial Susceptibility of C. jejuni Isolates from Italian Wild Bird Populations
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040304 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Poultry is considered a major reservoir of human campylobacteriosis. It also been reported that not only poultry, but also wild birds, are capable of carrying C. jejuni, thus demonstrating to be a risk of spreading the bacteria in the environment. To gain [...] Read more.
Poultry is considered a major reservoir of human campylobacteriosis. It also been reported that not only poultry, but also wild birds, are capable of carrying C. jejuni, thus demonstrating to be a risk of spreading the bacteria in the environment. To gain insight into the population structure and investigate the antimicrobial resistance genotypes and phenotypes, we analyzed a collection of 135 C. jejuni from 15 species of wild birds in Italy. MLST revealed the presence of 41 sequence types (STs) and 13 clonal complexes (CCs). ST-179 complex and the generalist ST-45 complex were the most prevalent. Core genome MLST revealed that C. jejuni from ST-45 complex clustered according to the bird species, unlike the ST-179 complex which featured 3 different species in the same cluster. Overall we found a moderate prevalence of resistance to tetracycline (12.5%), ciprofloxacin and nalidixic acid (10%). The novel ST isolated from one pigeon showed resistance to all the antibiotics tested. The ST-179 complex (33.3%) was identified with significantly higher nalidixic acid resistance relative to other tested STs. Nine AMR genes (tet(O), cmeA, cmeB, cmeC, cmeR, aad, blaOXA-61, blaOXA-184 and erm(B)) and 23S rRNA and gyrA-associated point mutations were also described, indicating a concordance level between genotypic and phenotypic resistance of 23.3%, 23.4% and of 37.5% for streptomycin, tetracycline and quinolones/fluoroquinolones, respectively. We recommend that particular attention should be given to wild birds as key sentinel animals for the ecosystem contamination surveillance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Campylobacter Infections)
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Article
Evidence of the Extrahepatic Replication of Hepatitis E Virus in Human Endometrial Stromal Cells
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040295 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis worldwide. The tropism of HEV is not restricted to the liver, and the virus replicates in other organs. Not all the extrahepatic targets for HEV are identified. Herein, we found [...] Read more.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis worldwide. The tropism of HEV is not restricted to the liver, and the virus replicates in other organs. Not all the extrahepatic targets for HEV are identified. Herein, we found that non-decidualized primary human endometrial stromal cells (PHESCs), which are precursors for the decidua and placenta, are susceptible to HEV infection. PHESCs, isolated from healthy non-pregnant women (n = 5), were challenged with stool-derived HEV-1 and HEV-3. HEV RNA was measured by qPCR, and HEV capsid protein was assessed by flow cytometry, immunofluorescence (IF), and ELISA. HEV infection was successfully established in PHESCs. Intracellular and extracellular HEV RNA loads were increased over time, indicating efficient replication in vitro. In addition, HEV capsid protein was detected intracellularly in the HEV-infected PHESCs and accumulated extracellularly over time, confirming the viral assembly and release from the infected cells. HEV-1 replicated more efficiently in PHESCs than HEV-3 and induced more inflammatory responses. Ribavirin (RBV) treatment abolished the replication of HEV in PHESCs. In conclusion, PHESCs are permissive to HEV infection and these cells could be an endogenous source of HEV infection during pregnancy and mediate HEV vertical transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Elimination of Viral Hepatitis)
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Article
First Whole Genome Sequence of Anaplasma platys, an Obligate Intracellular Rickettsial Pathogen of Dogs
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040277 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
We have assembled the first genome draft of Anaplasma platys, an obligate intracellular rickettsia, and the only known bacterial pathogen infecting canine platelets. A. platys is a not-yet-cultivated bacterium that causes infectious cyclic canine thrombocytopenia, a potentially fatal disease in dogs. Despite [...] Read more.
We have assembled the first genome draft of Anaplasma platys, an obligate intracellular rickettsia, and the only known bacterial pathogen infecting canine platelets. A. platys is a not-yet-cultivated bacterium that causes infectious cyclic canine thrombocytopenia, a potentially fatal disease in dogs. Despite its global distribution and veterinary relevance, no genome sequence has been published so far for this pathogen. Here, we used a strategy based on metagenome assembly to generate a draft of the A. platys genome using the blood of an infected dog. The assembled draft is similar to other Anaplasma genomes in size, gene content, and synteny. Notable differences are the apparent absence of rbfA, a gene encoding a 30S ribosome-binding factor acting as a cold-shock protein, as well as two genes involved in biotin metabolism. We also observed differences associated with expanded gene families, including those encoding outer membrane proteins, a type IV secretion system, ankyrin repeat-containing proteins, and proteins with predicted intrinsically disordered regions. Several of these families have members highly divergent in sequence, likely to be associated with survival and interactions within the host and the vector. The sequence of the A. platys genome can benefit future studies regarding invasion, survival, and pathogenesis of Anaplasma species, while paving the way for the better design of treatment and prevention strategies against these neglected intracellular pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
High-Resolution Melting (HRM) Curve Assay for the Identification of Eight Fusarium Species Causing Ear Rot in Maize
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040270 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Maize plants are often infected with fungal pathogens of the genus Fusarium. Taxonomic characterization of these species by microscopic examination of pure cultures or assignment to mating populations is time-consuming and requires specific expertise. Reliable taxonomic assignment may be strengthened by the [...] Read more.
Maize plants are often infected with fungal pathogens of the genus Fusarium. Taxonomic characterization of these species by microscopic examination of pure cultures or assignment to mating populations is time-consuming and requires specific expertise. Reliable taxonomic assignment may be strengthened by the analysis of DNA sequences. Species-specific PCR assays are available for most Fusarium pathogens, but the number of species that infect maize increases the labor and costs required for analysis. In this work, a diagnostic assay for major Fusarium pathogens of maize based on the analysis of melting curves of PCR amplicons was established. Short segments of genes RPB2 and TEF-1α, which have been widely used in molecular taxonomy of Fusarium, were amplified with universal primers in a real-time thermocycler and high-resolution melting (HRM) curves of the products were recorded. Among major Fusarium pathogens of maize ears, F. cerealis, F. culmorum, F. graminearum, F. equiseti, F. poae, F. temperatum, F. tricinctum, and F. verticillioides, all species except for the pair F. culmorum/F. graminearum could be distinguished by HRM analysis of a 304 bp segment of the RPB2 gene. The latter two species could be differentiated by HRM analysis of a 247 bp segment of the TEF-1α gene. The assay was validated with DNA extracted from pure cultures of fungal strains, successfully applied to total DNA extracted from infected maize ears and also to fungal mycelium that was added directly to the PCR master mix (“colony PCR”). HRM analysis thus offers a cost-efficient method suitable for the diagnosis of multiple fungal pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Pathogens)
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Article
Modeling of the HIV-1 Life Cycle in Productively Infected Cells to Predict Novel Therapeutic Targets
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040255 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
There are many studies that model the within-host population dynamics of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) infection. However, the within-infected-cell replication of HIV-1 remains to be not comprehensively addressed. There exist rather few quantitative models describing the regulation of the HIV-1 life [...] Read more.
There are many studies that model the within-host population dynamics of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) infection. However, the within-infected-cell replication of HIV-1 remains to be not comprehensively addressed. There exist rather few quantitative models describing the regulation of the HIV-1 life cycle at the intracellular level. In treatment of HIV-1 infection, there remain issues related to side-effects and drug-resistance that require further search “...for new and better drugs, ideally targeting multiple independent steps in the HIV-1 replication cycle” (as highlighted recently by Tedbury & Freed, The Future of HIV-1 Therapeutics, 2015). High-resolution mathematical models of HIV-1 growth in infected cells provide an additional analytical tool in identifying novel drug targets. We formulate a high-dimensional model describing the biochemical reactions underlying the replication of HIV-1 in target cells. The model considers a nonlinear regulation of the transcription of HIV-1 mediated by Tat and the Rev-dependent transport of fully spliced and singly spliced transcripts from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. The model is calibrated using available information on the kinetics of various stages of HIV-1 replication. The sensitivity analysis of the model is performed to rank the biochemical processes of HIV-1 replication with respect to their impact on the net production of virions by one actively infected cell. The ranking of the sensitivity factors provides a quantitative basis for identifying novel targets for antiviral therapy. Our analysis suggests that HIV-1 assembly depending on Gag and Tat-Rev regulation of transcription and mRNA distribution present two most critical stages in HIV-1 replication that can be targeted to effectively control virus production. These processes are not covered by current antiretroviral treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Virus Dynamics and Evolution)
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Article
In Vitro Anti-NTHi Activity of Haemophilin-Producing Strains of Haemophilus haemolyticus
Pathogens 2020, 9(4), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9040243 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a leading causative organism of opportunistic respiratory tract infections. However, there are currently no effective vaccination strategies, and existing treatments are compromised by antibiotic resistance. We previously characterized Haemophilus haemolyticus (Hh) strains capable of producing haemophilin (HPL), a [...] Read more.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a leading causative organism of opportunistic respiratory tract infections. However, there are currently no effective vaccination strategies, and existing treatments are compromised by antibiotic resistance. We previously characterized Haemophilus haemolyticus (Hh) strains capable of producing haemophilin (HPL), a heme-binding protein that restricts NTHi growth by limiting its access to an essential growth factor, heme. Thus, these strains may have utility as a probiotic therapy against NTHi infection by limiting colonization, migration and subsequent infection in susceptible individuals. Here, we assess the preliminary feasibility of this approach by direct in vitro competition assays between NTHi and Hh strains with varying capacity to produce HPL. Subsequent changes in NTHi growth rate and fitness, in conjunction with HPL expression analysis, were employed to assess the NTHi-inhibitory capacity of Hh strains. HPL-producing strains of Hh not only outcompeted NTHi during short-term and extended co-culture, but also demonstrated a growth advantage compared with Hh strains unable to produce the protein. Additionally, HPL expression levels during competition correlated with the NTHi-inhibitory phenotype. HPL-producing strains of Hh demonstrate significant probiotic potential against NTHi colonization in the upper respiratory tract, however, further investigations are warranted to demonstrate a range of other characteristics that would support the eventual development of a probiotic. Full article
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Article
Evolutionary Trajectory for the Emergence of Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030240 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 80
Abstract
Over the last two decades, the world experienced three outbreaks of coronaviruses with elevated morbidity rates. Currently, the global community is facing emerging virus SARS-CoV-2 belonging to Betacoronavirus, which appears to be more transmissible but less deadly than SARS-CoV. The current study [...] Read more.
Over the last two decades, the world experienced three outbreaks of coronaviruses with elevated morbidity rates. Currently, the global community is facing emerging virus SARS-CoV-2 belonging to Betacoronavirus, which appears to be more transmissible but less deadly than SARS-CoV. The current study aimed to track the evolutionary ancestors and different evolutionary strategies that were genetically adapted by SARS-CoV-2. Our whole-genome analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 was the descendant of Bat SARS/SARS-like CoVs and bats served as a natural reservoir. SARS-CoV-2 used mutations and recombination as crucial strategies in different genomic regions including the envelop, membrane, nucleocapsid, and spike glycoproteins to become a novel infectious agent. We confirmed that mutations in different genomic regions of SARS-CoV-2 have specific influence on virus reproductive adaptability, allowing for genotype adjustment and adaptations in rapidly changing environments. Moreover, for the first time we identified nine putative recombination patterns in SARS-CoV-2, which encompass spike glycoprotein, RdRp, helicase and ORF3a. Six recombination regions were spotted in the S gene and are undoubtedly important for evolutionary survival, meanwhile this permitted the virus to modify superficial antigenicity to find a way from immune reconnaissance in animals and adapt to a human host. With these combined natural selected strategies, SARS-CoV-2 emerged as a novel virus in human society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
Impact of Environmental Conditions and Agronomic Practices on the Prevalence of Fusarium Species Associated with Ear- and Stalk Rot in Maize
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030236 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 18
Abstract
Fusarium species are common pathogens on maize and reduce the product quality through contamination with mycotoxins thus jeopardizing safety of both animal feed and human food products. Monitoring of Fusarium infected maize ears and stalks was conducted in Germany to determine the range [...] Read more.
Fusarium species are common pathogens on maize and reduce the product quality through contamination with mycotoxins thus jeopardizing safety of both animal feed and human food products. Monitoring of Fusarium infected maize ears and stalks was conducted in Germany to determine the range of Fusarium species present in the field and to assess the impact of tillage, crop rotation, and weather conditions on the frequency of Fusarium species. From 2016 till 2018, a total of 387 infected ears and 190 stalk segments from 58 locations in Germany were collected. For each sample location, site-specific agronomic data on tillage and previous crops as well as meteorological data on precipitation, air temperature, and relative humidity during the vegetation period were recorded. The most frequent Fusarium species detected in maize ears were Fusarium graminearum, F. verticillioides and F. temperatum, whereas, F. graminearum, F. equiseti, F. culmorum, and F. temperatum were the species prevailing on maize stalks. Differences in the local species composition were found to be primarily associated with weather variations between the years and the microclimate at the different locations. The results indicate that mean temperature and precipitation in July, during flowering, has the strongest impact on the local range of Fusarium spp. on ears, whereas the incidence of Fusarium species on stalks is mostly affected by weather conditions during September. Ploughing significantly reduced the infection with F. graminearum and F. temperatum, while crop rotation exerted only minor effects. Full article
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Article
Characterization of the Humoral Immune Response to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Infection under Experimental and Field Conditions Using an AlphaLISA Platform
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030233 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Coronavirus infections are a continuous threat raised time and again. With the recent emergence of novel virulent strains, these viruses can have a large impact on human and animal health. Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) is considered to be a reemerging pig disease caused [...] Read more.
Coronavirus infections are a continuous threat raised time and again. With the recent emergence of novel virulent strains, these viruses can have a large impact on human and animal health. Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) is considered to be a reemerging pig disease caused by the enteropathogenic alphacoronavirus PED virus (PEDV). In the absence of effective vaccines, infection prevention and control through diagnostic testing and quarantine are critical. Early detection and differential diagnosis of PEDV infections increase the chance of successful control of the disease. Therefore, there is a continuous need for development of reduced assay-step protocols, no-wash, high-throughput immunoassays. This study described the characterization of the humoral immune response against PEDV under experimental and field conditions using a rapid, sensitive, luminescent proximity homogenous assay (AlphaLISA). PEDV IgG and IgA antibodies were developed toward the beginning of the second week of infection. PEDV IgG antibodies were detected for at least 16 weeks post-exposure. Remarkably, the serum IgA levels remained high and relatively stable throughout the study, lasting longer than the serum IgG response. Overall, AlphaLISA allows the detection and characterization of pathogen-specific antibodies with new speed, sensitivity, and simplicity of use. Particularly, the bridge assay constitutes a rapid diagnostic that substantially improves upon the “time to result” metric of currently available immunoassays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immune Response to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus)
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Article
Compost Amendments Based on Vinegar Residue Promote Tomato Growth and Suppress Bacterial Wilt Caused by Ralstonia Solanacearum
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030227 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Tomato bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum (RS) is one of the most devastating soil-borne diseases, and compost is to be considered as a resource-saving and environment-friendly measure to control the disease. Herein, a pot experiment was implemented to explore the effects of [...] Read more.
Tomato bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum (RS) is one of the most devastating soil-borne diseases, and compost is to be considered as a resource-saving and environment-friendly measure to control the disease. Herein, a pot experiment was implemented to explore the effects of vinegar residue matrix amendments on the growth performances of tomato seedlings and to examine the suppression ability against bacterial wilt under vinegar residue substrate (VRS), and peat substrate (Peat) with RS inoculation. The results revealed that VRS effectively suppressed the disease incidence of bacterial wilt, increased the number of bacteria and actinomycetes, decreased fungi populations, promoted soil microbial populations and microbial activities, enhanced the growths of tomato seedlings, and modulated defense mechanism. In addition, VRS efficiently inhibited the oxidative damage in RS inoculated leaves via the regulation of excess reactive oxide species (O2•− and H2O2) production, lessening of malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and causing less membrane injury; resulting in enhancements of antioxidants enzymes activities accompanying with modulating their encoding gene expression. The transcription levels of NPR1, PIN2, PR1b, ACO1, EDS1, PR1B, MAPK3, PIN2, and RRS1 were also modulated with the pathogens inoculated in tomato leaves both in VRS and Peat treatments, which indicated that systemic-acquired resistance possesses cross-talk between salicylic acid, jasmonic acid, and the ethylene-dependent signaling pathway. Besides, the RS inoculation significantly inhibited the growth of tomato seedlings, and all growth indices of plants grown in VRS were considerably higher than those produced in Peat. Taken together, VRS represents a new strategy to control tomato bacterial wilt through boosting the soil microbial populations and microbial activities. Furthermore, VRS promotes the plant immune response to provide a better growth environment for plants surviving in disease conditions. Full article
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Article
Free to Circulate: An Update on the Epidemiological Dynamics of Porcine Circovirus 2 (PCV-2) in Italy Reveals the Role of Local Spreading, Wild Populations, and Foreign Countries
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030221 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV-2) is one of the most impactful and widespread pathogens of the modern swine industry. Unlike other DNA viruses, PCV-2 is featured by a remarkable genetic variability, which has led to the emergence and recognition of different genotypes, some of [...] Read more.
Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV-2) is one of the most impactful and widespread pathogens of the modern swine industry. Unlike other DNA viruses, PCV-2 is featured by a remarkable genetic variability, which has led to the emergence and recognition of different genotypes, some of which (PCV-2a, 2b, and 2d) have alternated over time. Currently, PCV-2d is considered the most prevalent genotype, and some evidence of differential virulence and vaccine efficacy have been reported. Despite the potential practical relevance, the data on PCV-2 epidemiology in Italy are quite outdated and do not quantify the actual circulation of this genotype in Italy. In the present study, 82 complete ORF2 sequences were obtained from domestic pigs and wild boars sampled in Northern Italy in the period 2013–2018 and merged with those previously obtained from Italy and other countries. A combination of phylogenetic, haplotype network, and phylodynamic analyses were used to genotype the collected strains and evaluate the temporal trend and the spatial and host spread dynamics. A rising number of PCV-2d detections was observed in domestic pigs, particularly since 2013, reaching a detection frequency comparable to PCV-2b. A similar picture was observed in wild boars, although a lower sequence number was available. Overall, the present study demonstrates the extreme complexity of PCV-2 molecular epidemiology in Italy, the significant spread across different regions, the recurrent introduction from foreign countries, and the frequent occurrence of recombination events. Although a higher viral flux occurred from domestic to wild populations than vice versa, wild boars seem to maintain PCV-2 infection and spread it over relatively long distances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porcine Circovirus Infections)
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Article
Viromes of Ten Alfalfa Plants in Australia Reveal Diverse Known Viruses and a Novel RNA Virus
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030214 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Alfalfa plants in the field can display a range of virus-like symptoms, especially when grown over many years for seed production. Most known alfalfa viruses have RNA genomes, some of which can be detected using diagnostic assays, but many viruses of alfalfa are [...] Read more.
Alfalfa plants in the field can display a range of virus-like symptoms, especially when grown over many years for seed production. Most known alfalfa viruses have RNA genomes, some of which can be detected using diagnostic assays, but many viruses of alfalfa are not well characterized. This study aims to identify the RNA and DNA virus complexes associated with alfalfa plants in Australia. To maximize the detection of RNA viruses, we purified double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for high throughput sequencing and characterized the viromes of ten alfalfa samples that showed diverse virus-like symptoms. Using Illumina sequencing of tagged cDNA libraries from immune-captured dsRNA, we identified sequences of the single-stranded RNA viruses, alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV), bean leafroll virus, a new emaravirus tentatively named alfalfa ringspot-associated virus, and persistent dsRNA viruses belonging to the families Amalgaviridae and Partitiviridae. Furthermore, rolling circle amplification and restriction enzyme digestion revealed the complete genome of chickpea chlorosis Australia virus, a mastrevirus (family Geminiviridae) previously reported only from chickpea and French bean that was 97% identical to the chickpea isolate. The sequence data also enabled the assembly of the first complete genome (RNAs 1–3) of an Australian AMV isolate from alfalfa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Pathogens)
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Article
Rodents as Hosts of Pathogens and Related Zoonotic Disease Risk
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030202 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
Rodents are known to be reservoir hosts for at least 60 zoonotic diseases and are known to play an important role in their transmission and spread in different ways. We sampled different rodent communities within and around human settlements in Northern Senegal, an [...] Read more.
Rodents are known to be reservoir hosts for at least 60 zoonotic diseases and are known to play an important role in their transmission and spread in different ways. We sampled different rodent communities within and around human settlements in Northern Senegal, an area subjected to major environmental transformations associated with global changes. Herein, we conducted an epidemiological study on their bacterial communities. One hundred and seventy-one (171) invasive and native rodents were captured, 50 from outdoor trapping sites and 121 rodents from indoor habitats, consisting of five species. The DNA of thirteen pathogens was successfully screened on the rodents’ spleens. We found: 2.3% of spleens positive to Piroplasmida and amplified one which gave a potentially new species CandidatusTheileria senegalensis”; 9.35% of Bartonella spp. and amplified 10, giving three genotypes; 3.5% of filariasis species; 18.12% of Anaplasmataceae species and amplified only 5, giving a new potential species CandidatusEhrlichia senegalensis”; 2.33% of Hepatozoon spp.; 3.5% of Kinetoplastidae spp.; and 15.2% of Borrelia spp. and amplified 8 belonging all to Borrelia crocidurae. Some of the species of pathogens carried by the rodents of our studied area may be unknown because most of those we have identified are new species. In one bacterial taxon, Anaplasma, a positive correlation between host body mass and infection was found. Overall, male and invasive rodents appeared less infected than female and native ones, respectively. Full article
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Article
Bartonella spp. Prevalence (Serology, Culture, and PCR) in Sanitary Workers in La Rioja Spain
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030189 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Bartonella spp. are increasingly implicated in association with a spectrum of zoonotic infectious diseases. One hundred sanitary workers in La Rioja, Spain, completed a questionnaire and provided blood specimens for Bartonella spp. serology and Bartonella Alpha-Proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) enrichment blood culture/PCR. Six [...] Read more.
Bartonella spp. are increasingly implicated in association with a spectrum of zoonotic infectious diseases. One hundred sanitary workers in La Rioja, Spain, completed a questionnaire and provided blood specimens for Bartonella spp. serology and Bartonella Alpha-Proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) enrichment blood culture/PCR. Six immunofluorescence assays (IFA) were performed and aseptically obtained blood specimens were inoculated into liquid BAPGM and subcultured onto blood agar plates. Bartonella DNA was amplified using conventional and real-time PCR assays. The Bartonella spp., strain, or genotype was determined by DNA sequencing. Bartonella seroreactivity was documented in 83.1% and bloodstream infection in 21.6% of participants. Bartonella henselae, B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotypes I and III, and B. quintana were identified. IFA seroreactivity and PCR positivity were not statistically associated with self-reported symptoms. Our results suggest that exposure to and non-clinical infection with Bartonella spp. may occur more often than previously suspected in the La Rioja region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
Article
Development of a High-Throughput Serum Neutralization Test Using Recombinant Pestiviruses Possessing a Small Reporter Tag
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030188 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
A serum neutralization test (SNT) is an essential method for the serological diagnosis of pestivirus infections, including classical swine fever, because of the cross reactivity of antibodies against pestiviruses and the non-quantitative properties of antibodies in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In conventional SNTs, [...] Read more.
A serum neutralization test (SNT) is an essential method for the serological diagnosis of pestivirus infections, including classical swine fever, because of the cross reactivity of antibodies against pestiviruses and the non-quantitative properties of antibodies in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In conventional SNTs, an immunoperoxidase assay or observation of cytopathic effect after incubation for 3 to 7 days is needed to determine the SNT titer, which requires labor-intensive or time-consuming procedures. Therefore, a new SNT, based on the luciferase system and using classical swine fever virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus, and border disease virus possessing the 11-amino-acid subunit derived from NanoLuc luciferase was developed and evaluated; this approach enabled the rapid and easy determination of the SNT titer using a luminometer. In the new method, SNT titers can be determined tentatively at 2 days post-infection (dpi) and are comparable to those obtained by conventional SNTs at 3 or 4 dpi. In conclusion, the luciferase-based SNT can replace conventional SNTs as a high-throughput antibody test for pestivirus infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Classical Swine Fever)
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Article
Phylogenetic Analysis of Belgian Small Ruminant Lentiviruses Supports Cross Species Virus Transmission and Identifies New Subtype B5 Strains
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030183 - 03 Mar 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV) are a group of highly divergent viruses responsible for global and fatal infections in sheep and goats. Since the current phylogenetic classification of these viruses was proposed in 2004, it nowadays consists out of 5 genotypes and 28 subtypes. [...] Read more.
Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV) are a group of highly divergent viruses responsible for global and fatal infections in sheep and goats. Since the current phylogenetic classification of these viruses was proposed in 2004, it nowadays consists out of 5 genotypes and 28 subtypes. In support of our national SRLV control program, we performed the genetic characterization of SRLV strains circulating in the Belgian sheep and goat population. Fourteen sheep and 9 goat strains were sequenced in the gag-pol and pol regions using the method described by Shah. Most SRLV strains from sheep and goats belonged to prototype A1 and B1 subtypes, respectively. We, however, also found indications for cross-species transmission of SRLV strains between sheep and goats and vice versa, and identified a new subtype designated as B5. An in-depth analysis of the current SRLV phylogeny revealed that many subtypes have been defined over the years based on limited sequence information. To keep phylogeny as a useful tool, we advocate to apply more rigorous sequencing standards to ensure the correct classification of current and new emerging strains. The genetic characterization of Belgian SRLV strains will help in the development of appropriate diagnostic tools to assist the national control program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
Upscaling the Surveillance of Tick-Borne Pathogens in the French Caribbean Islands
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030176 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Despite the high burden of vector-borne disease in (sub)tropical areas, few information are available regarding the diversity of tick and tick-borne pathogens circulating in the Caribbean. Management and control of vector-borne disease require actual epidemiological data to better assess and anticipate the risk [...] Read more.
Despite the high burden of vector-borne disease in (sub)tropical areas, few information are available regarding the diversity of tick and tick-borne pathogens circulating in the Caribbean. Management and control of vector-borne disease require actual epidemiological data to better assess and anticipate the risk of (re)emergence of tick-borne diseases in the region. To simplify and reduce the costs of such large-scale surveys, we implemented a high-throughput microfluidic real-time PCR system suitable for the screening of the main bacterial and parasitic genera involved in tick-borne disease and potentially circulating in the area. We used the new screening tool to perform an exploratory epidemiological study on 132 adult specimens of Amblyomma variegatum and 446 of Rhipicephalus microplus collected in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Not only the system was able to detect the main pathogens of the area—Ehrlichia ruminantium, Rickettsia africae, Anaplasma marginale, Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis—but the system also provided evidence of unsuspected microorganisms in Caribbean ticks, belonging to the Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Borrelia and Leishmania genera. Our study demonstrated how high-throughput microfluidic real-time PCR technology can assist large-scale epidemiological studies, providing a rapid overview of tick-borne pathogen and microorganism diversity, and opening up new research perspectives for the epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection New Frontiers in Tick Research)
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Article
MmpS5-MmpL5 Transporters Provide Mycobacterium smegmatis Resistance to imidazo[1,2-b][1,2,4,5]tetrazines
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030166 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
The emergence and spread of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains (including MDR, XDR, and TDR) force scientists worldwide to search for new anti-tuberculosis drugs. We have previously reported a number of imidazo[1,2-b][1,2,4,5]tetrazines – putative inhibitors of mycobacterial eukaryotic-type serine-threonine protein-kinases, active against [...] Read more.
The emergence and spread of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains (including MDR, XDR, and TDR) force scientists worldwide to search for new anti-tuberculosis drugs. We have previously reported a number of imidazo[1,2-b][1,2,4,5]tetrazines – putative inhibitors of mycobacterial eukaryotic-type serine-threonine protein-kinases, active against M. tuberculosis. Whole genomic sequences of spontaneous drug-resistant M. smegmatis mutants revealed four genes possibly involved in imidazo[1,2-b][1,2,4,5]tetrazines resistance; however, the exact mechanism of resistance remain unknown. We used different approaches (construction of targeted mutants, overexpression of the wild-type (w.t.) and mutant genes, and gene-expression studies) to assess the role of the previously identified mutations. We show that mutations in MSMEG_1380 gene lead to overexpression of the mmpS5-mmpL5 operon in M. smegmatis, thus providing resistance to imidazo[1,2-b][1,2,4,5]tetrazines by increased efflux through the MmpS5-MmpL5 system, similarly to the mechanisms of resistance described for M. tuberculosis and M. abscessus. Mycobacterial MmpS5-MmpL5 transporters should be considered as an MDR-efflux system and they should be taken into account at early stages of anti-tuberculosis drug development. Full article
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Article
Pathogenicity and Genetic Characterization of Vietnamese Classical Swine Fever Virus: 2014–2018
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030169 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Here, we examined the pathogenicity and genetic differences between classical swine fever viruses (CSFV) isolated on pig farms in North Vietnam from 2014–2018. Twenty CSFV strains from 16 pig farms were classified as genotype 2 (sub-genotypes 2.1b, 2.1c, and 2.2). The main sub-genotype, [...] Read more.
Here, we examined the pathogenicity and genetic differences between classical swine fever viruses (CSFV) isolated on pig farms in North Vietnam from 2014–2018. Twenty CSFV strains from 16 pig farms were classified as genotype 2 (sub-genotypes 2.1b, 2.1c, and 2.2). The main sub-genotype, 2.1c, was classified phylogenetically as belonging to the same cluster as viruses isolated from the Guangdong region in South China. Strain HY58 (sub-genotype 2.1c), isolated from pigs in Vietnam, caused higher mortality (60%) than the Vietnamese ND20 strain (sub-genotype 2.2). The Vietnamese strain of sub-genotype 2.1b was estimated to have moderate virulence; indeed, genetic analysis revealed that it belongs to the same cluster as Korean CSFV sub-genotype 2.1b. Most CSFVs circulating in North Vietnam belong to sub-genotype 2.1c. Geographical proximity means that this genotype might continue to circulate in both North Vietnam and Southern China (Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hunan). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Classical Swine Fever)
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Article
Adenovirus-vectored African Swine Fever Virus Antigens Cocktail Is Not Protective against Virulent Arm07 Isolate in Eurasian Wild Boar
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030171 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease of domestic and wild suids for which there is currently no vaccine or treatment available. The recent spread of ASF virus (ASFV) through Europe and Asia is causing enormous economic and animal losses. Unfortunately, the [...] Read more.
African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease of domestic and wild suids for which there is currently no vaccine or treatment available. The recent spread of ASF virus (ASFV) through Europe and Asia is causing enormous economic and animal losses. Unfortunately, the measures taken so far are insufficient and an effective vaccine against ASFV needs to be urgently developed. We hypothesized that immunization with a cocktail of thirty-five rationally selected antigens would improve the protective efficacy of subunit vaccine prototypes given that the combination of fewer immunogenic antigens (between 2 and 22) has failed to elicit protective efficacy. To this end, immunogenicity and efficacy of thirty-five adenovirus-vectored ASFV antigens were evaluated in wild boar. The treated animals were divided into different groups to test the use of BioMize adjuvant and different inoculation strategies. Forty-eight days after priming, the nine treated and two control wild boar were challenged with the virulent ASFV Arm07 isolate. All animals showed clinical signs and pathological findings consistent with ASF. This lack of protection is in line with other studies with subunit vaccine prototypes, demonstrating that there is still much room for improvement to obtain an effective subunit ASFV vaccine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African Swine Fever Virus Infection)
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Article
Zika Virus-Induction of the Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1/3 Contributes to the Modulation of Viral Replication
Pathogens 2020, 9(3), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9030163 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has emerged and caused global outbreaks since 2007. Although ZIKV proteins have been shown to suppress early anti-viral innate immune responses, little is known about the exact mechanisms. This study demonstrates that infection with either [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has emerged and caused global outbreaks since 2007. Although ZIKV proteins have been shown to suppress early anti-viral innate immune responses, little is known about the exact mechanisms. This study demonstrates that infection with either the African or Asian lineage of ZIKV leads to a modulated expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) genes encoding SOCS1 and SOCS3 in the following cell models: A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells; JAr human choriocarcinoma cells; human neural progenitor cells. Studies of viral gene expression in response to SOCS1 or SOCS3 demonstrated that the knockdown of these SOCS proteins inhibited viral NS5 or ZIKV RNA expression, whereas overexpression resulted in an increased expression. Moreover, the overexpression of SOCS1 or SOCS3 inhibited the retinoic acid-inducible gene-I-like receptor-mediated activation of both type I and III interferon pathways. These results imply that SOCS upregulation following ZIKV infection modulates viral replication, possibly via the regulation of anti-viral innate immune responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Advances in Flavivirus Research)
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Article
Recognition of Lipoproteins by Toll-like Receptor 2 and DNA by the AIM2 Inflammasome Is Responsible for Production of Interleukin-1β by Virulent Suilysin-Negative Streptococcus suis Serotype 2
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020147 - 21 Feb 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Streptococcus suis serotype 2 is an important porcine bacterial pathogen and zoonotic agent causing sudden death, septic shock and meningitis. These pathologies are the consequence of an exacerbated inflammatory response composed of various mediators including interleukin (IL)-1β. Elevated levels of the toxin suilysin [...] Read more.
Streptococcus suis serotype 2 is an important porcine bacterial pathogen and zoonotic agent causing sudden death, septic shock and meningitis. These pathologies are the consequence of an exacerbated inflammatory response composed of various mediators including interleukin (IL)-1β. Elevated levels of the toxin suilysin (SLY) were demonstrated to play a key role in S. suis-induced IL-1β production. However, 95% of serotype 2 strains isolated from diseased pigs in North America, many of which are virulent, do not produce SLY. In this study, we demonstrated that SLY-negative S. suis induces elevated levels of IL-1β in systemic organs, with dendritic cells contributing to this production. SLY-negative S. suis-induced IL-1β production requires MyD88 and TLR2 following recognition of lipoproteins. However, the higher internalization rate of the SLY-negative strain results in intracellularly located DNA being recognized by the AIM2 inflammasome, which promotes IL-1β production. Finally, the role of IL-1 in host survival during the S. suis systemic infection is beneficial and conserved, regardless of SLY production, via modulation of the inflammation required to control bacterial burden. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that SLY is not required for S. suis-induced IL-1β production. Full article
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Article
Isolation of Acanthamoeba T5 from Water: Characterization of Its Pathogenic Potential, Including the Production of Extracellular Vesicles
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020144 - 21 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living amoebae widely distributed in nature, associated with the development of encephalitis and keratitis. Despite the fact that it is common to find genotype T5 in environmental samples, only a few cases have been associated with clinical cases [...] Read more.
Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living amoebae widely distributed in nature, associated with the development of encephalitis and keratitis. Despite the fact that it is common to find genotype T5 in environmental samples, only a few cases have been associated with clinical cases in humans. The wide distribution of Acanthamoeba, the characteristic of being amphizoic and the severity of the disease motivate researchers to focus on the isolation of these organisms, but also in demonstrating direct and indirect factors that could indicate a possible pathogenic potential. Here, we performed the characterization of the pathogenic potential of an Acanthamoeba T5 isolate collected from a water source in a hospital. Osmo- and thermotolerance, the secretion of proteases and the effect of trophozoites over cell monolayers were analyzed by different methodologies. Additionally, we confirm the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs) of this isolate incubated at two different temperatures, and the presence of serine and cysteine proteases in these vesicles. Finally, using atomic force microscopy, we determined some nanomechanical properties of the secreted vesicles and found a higher value of adhesion in the EVs obtained at 37 °C, which could have implications in the parasite´s survival and damaging potential in two different biological environments. Full article
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Article
Comprehensive Evaluation of Hepatitis E Serology and Molecular Testing in a Large Cohort
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020137 - 19 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Introduction: Reliable and cost-effective diagnostics for hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection are necessary. The aim of our study was to investigate which diagnostic test is most accurate to detect HEV infection in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients in a real world setting. Patients and [...] Read more.
Introduction: Reliable and cost-effective diagnostics for hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection are necessary. The aim of our study was to investigate which diagnostic test is most accurate to detect HEV infection in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients in a real world setting. Patients and Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 1165 patients tested for HEV antibodies and HEV PCR at the same time point. Clinical, laboratory and virological data were taken from patient charts. HEV IgA was measured in a subgroup of 185 patients. Results: HEV RNA was detectable in 61 patients (5.2%); most of them (n = 49, 80.3%/n = 43, 70.5%) were HEV IgM+ and IgG+; however, 12 patients (19.6%) were HEV RNA positive/HEV IgM negative and 17 patients (27.8%) were HEV RNA positive/HEV IgG negative. Ten HEV RNA positive patients (16.4%) had neither HEV IgG nor IgM antibodies. Importantly, all of them were immunosuppressed. HEV IgA testing was less sensitive than HEV IgM for HEV diagnosis. Conclusions: HEV infection can be overlooked in patients without HEV specific antibodies. Performing PCR is necessary to diagnose or exclude HEV infection in immunocompromised hosts. In immunocompetent patients, a screening based on HEV antibodies (IgG/IgM) is sufficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) Infections)
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Article
Metabolic Changes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis during the Anti-Tuberculosis Therapy
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020131 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria, remains one of the most pressing health problems. Despite the general trend towards reduction of the disease incidence rate, the situation remains extremely tense due to the distribution of the resistant forms. Most often, these strains [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria, remains one of the most pressing health problems. Despite the general trend towards reduction of the disease incidence rate, the situation remains extremely tense due to the distribution of the resistant forms. Most often, these strains emerge through the intra-host microevolution of the pathogen during treatment failure. In the present study, the focus was on three serial clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing B0/W148 cluster from one patient with pulmonary tuberculosis, to evaluate their changes in metabolism during anti-tuberculosis therapy. Using whole genome sequencing (WGS), 9 polymorphisms were determined, which occurred in a stepwise or transient manner during treatment and were linked to the resistance (GyrA D94A; inhA t-8a) or virulence. The effect of the inhA t-8a mutation was confirmed on both proteomic and transcriptomic levels. Additionally, the amount of RpsL protein, which is a target of anti-tuberculosis drugs, was reduced. At the systemic level, profound changes in metabolism, linked to the evolution of the pathogen in the host and the effects of therapy, were documented. An overabundance of the FAS-II system proteins (HtdX, HtdY) and expression changes in the virulence factors have been observed at the RNA and protein levels. Full article
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Article
Identification of a Neisseria gonorrhoeae Histone Deacetylase: Epigenetic Impact on Host Gene Expression
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020132 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Epigenetic reprogramming in macrophages is termed trained innate immunity, which regulates immune tolerance and limits tissue damage during infection. Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a strict human pathogen that causes the sexually transmitted infection termed gonorrhea. Here, we report that this pathogen harbors a gene [...] Read more.
Epigenetic reprogramming in macrophages is termed trained innate immunity, which regulates immune tolerance and limits tissue damage during infection. Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a strict human pathogen that causes the sexually transmitted infection termed gonorrhea. Here, we report that this pathogen harbors a gene that encodes a histone deacetylase-like enzyme (Gc-HDAC) that shares high 3D-homology to human HDAC1, HDAC2 and HDAC8. A Gc-HDAC null mutant was constructed to determine the biologic significance of this gene. The results showed that WT gonococci reduced the expression of host defense peptides LL-37, HBD-1 and SLPI in macrophages when compared to its Gc-HDAC-deficient isogenic strain. The enrichment of epigenetic marks in histone tails control gene expression and are known to change during bacterial infections. To investigate whether gonococci exert epigenetic modifications on host chromatin, the enrichment of acetylated lysine 9 in histone 3 (H3K9ac) was investigated using the TLR-focused ChIP array system. The data showed that infection with WT gonococci led to higher H3K9ac enrichment at the promoters of pro-inflammatory mediators’ genes, many TLRs, adaptor proteins and transcription factors, suggesting gene activation when compared to infection with the Gc-HDAC-deficient mutant. Taken together, the data suggest that gonococci can exert epigenetic modifications on host cells to modulate certain macrophage defense genes, leading to a maladaptive state of trained immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neisseria gonorrhoeae Infections)
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Article
Ecology and Infection Dynamics of Multi-Host Amdoparvoviral and Protoparvoviral Carnivore Pathogens
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020124 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Amdoparvovirus and Protoparvovirus are monophyletic viral genera that infect carnivores. We performed surveillance for and sequence analyses of parvoviruses in mustelids in insular British Columbia to investigate parvoviral maintenance and cross-species transmission among wildlife. Overall, 19.1% (49/256) of the tested animals were parvovirus-positive. [...] Read more.
Amdoparvovirus and Protoparvovirus are monophyletic viral genera that infect carnivores. We performed surveillance for and sequence analyses of parvoviruses in mustelids in insular British Columbia to investigate parvoviral maintenance and cross-species transmission among wildlife. Overall, 19.1% (49/256) of the tested animals were parvovirus-positive. Aleutian mink disease virus (AMDV) was more prevalent in mink (41.6%, 32/77) than martens (3.1%, 4/130), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) was more prevalent in otters (27.3%, 6/22) than mink (5.2%, 4/77) or martens (2.3%, 3/130), and canine parvovirus 2 (CPV-2) was found in one mink, one otter, and zero ermines (N = 27). Viruses were endemic and bottleneck events, founder effects, and genetic drift generated regional lineages. We identified two local closely related AMDV lineages, one CPV-2 lineage, and five FPV lineages. Highly similar viruses were identified in different hosts, demonstrating cross-species transmission. The likelihood for cross-species transmission differed among viruses and some species likely represented dead-end spillover hosts. We suggest that there are principal maintenance hosts (otters for FPV, raccoons for CPV-2/FPV, mink for AMDV) that enable viral persistence and serve as sources for other susceptible species. In this multi-host system, viral and host factors affect viral persistence and distribution, shaping parvoviral ecology and evolution, with implications for insular carnivore conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Virus Dynamics and Evolution)
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Article
ZnO Nanoflower-Based NanoPCR as an Efficient Diagnostic Tool for Quick Diagnosis of Canine Vector-Borne Pathogens
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020122 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a unique technique in molecular biology and biotechnology for amplifying target DNA strands, and is also considered as a gold standard for the diagnosis of many canine diseases as well as many other infectious diseases. However, PCR still [...] Read more.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a unique technique in molecular biology and biotechnology for amplifying target DNA strands, and is also considered as a gold standard for the diagnosis of many canine diseases as well as many other infectious diseases. However, PCR still faces many challenges and issues related to its sensitivity, specificity, efficiency, and turnaround time. To address these issues, we described the use of unique ZnO nanoflowers in PCR reaction and an efficient ZnO nanoflower-based PCR (nanoPCR) for the molecular diagnosis of canine vector-borne diseases (CVBDs). A total of 1 mM of an aqueous solution of ZnO nanoflowers incorporated in PCR showed a significant enhancement of the PCR assay with respect to its sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of two important CVBDs, Babesia canis vogeli and Hepatozoon canis. Interestingly, it drastically reduced the turnaround time of the PCR assay without compromising the yield of the amplified DNA, which can be of benefit for veterinary practitioners for the improved management of diseases. This can be attributed to the favorable adsorption of ZnO nanoflowers to the DNA and thermal conductivity of ZnO nanoflowers. The unique ZnO nanoflower-assisted nanoPCR greatly improved the yield, purity, and quality of the amplified products, but the mechanism behind these properties and the effects and changes due to the different concentrations of ZnO nanoflowers in the PCR system needs to be further studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine and Feline Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Enterovirus 71 Infection Shapes Host T Cell Receptor Repertoire and Presumably Expands VP1-Specific TCRβ CDR3 Cluster
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020121 - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) has become an important public health problem in the Asia-Pacific region in the past decades. EV71 infection might cause neurological and psychiatric complications and even death. Although an EV71 vaccine has been currently approved, there is no effective therapy for [...] Read more.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) has become an important public health problem in the Asia-Pacific region in the past decades. EV71 infection might cause neurological and psychiatric complications and even death. Although an EV71 vaccine has been currently approved, there is no effective therapy for treating EV71-infected patients. Virus infections have been reported to shape host T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. Therefore, understanding of host TCR repertoire in EV71 infection could better the knowledge in viral pathogenesis and further benefit the anti-viral therapy development. In this study, we used a mouse-adapted EV71 (mEV71) model to observe changes of host TCR repertoire in an EV71-infected central nervous system. Neonate mice were infected with mEV71 and mouse brainstem TCRβ repertoires were explored. Here, we reported that mEV71 infection impacted host brainstem TCRβ repertoire, where mEV71 infection skewed TCRβ diversity, changed VJ combination usages, and further expanded specific TCRβ CDR3 clones. Using bioinformatics analysis and ligand-binding prediction, we speculated the expanded TCRβ CDR3 clone harboring CASSLGANSDYTF sequence was capable of binding cleaved EV71 VP1 peptides in concert with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. We observed that mEV71 infection shaped host TCRβ repertoire and presumably expanded VP1-specific TCRβ CDR3 in mEV71-infected mouse brainstem that integrated EV71 pathogenesis in central nervous system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Dynamic Network of Interactions in the Wildlife-Livestock Interface in Mediterranean Spain: An Epidemiological Point of View
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020120 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
The correct management of diseases that are transmitted between wildlife and livestock requires a reliable estimate of the pathogen transmission rate. The calculation of this parameter is a challenge for epidemiologists, since transmission can occur through multiple pathways. The social network analysis is [...] Read more.
The correct management of diseases that are transmitted between wildlife and livestock requires a reliable estimate of the pathogen transmission rate. The calculation of this parameter is a challenge for epidemiologists, since transmission can occur through multiple pathways. The social network analysis is a widely used tool in epidemiology due to its capacity to identify individuals and communities with relevant roles for pathogen transmission. In the present work, we studied the dynamic network of interactions in a complex epidemiological scenario using information from different methodologies. In 2015, nine red deer, seven fallow deer, six wild boar and nine cattle were simultaneously monitored using GPS-GSM-Proximity collars in Doñana National Park. In addition, 16 proximity loggers were set in aggregation points. Using the social network analysis, we studied the dynamic network of interactions, including direct and indirect interactions, between individuals of different species and the potential transmission of pathogens within this network. The results show a high connection between species through indirect interactions, with a marked seasonality in the conformation of new interactions. Within the network, we differentiated four communities that included individuals of all the species. Regarding the transmission of pathogens, we observed the important role that fallow deer could be playing in the maintenance and transmission of pathogens to livestock. The present work shows the need to consider different types of methodologies in order to understand the complete functioning of the network of interactions at the wildlife/livestock interface. It also provides a methodological approach applicable to the management of shared diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tuberculosis Epidemiology and Control in Multi-Host Systems)
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Article
High Prevalence of Strongyloidiasis in Spain: A Hospital-Based Study
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020107 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Introduction: Strongyloidiasis is a prevailing helminth infection ubiquitous in tropical and subtropical areas, however, seroprevalence data are scarce in migrant populations, particularly for those coming for Asia. Methods: This study aims at evaluating the prevalence of S. stercoralis at the hospital [...] Read more.
Introduction: Strongyloidiasis is a prevailing helminth infection ubiquitous in tropical and subtropical areas, however, seroprevalence data are scarce in migrant populations, particularly for those coming for Asia. Methods: This study aims at evaluating the prevalence of S. stercoralis at the hospital level in migrant populations or long term travellers being attended in out-patient and in-patient units as part of a systematic screening implemented in six Spanish hospitals. A cross-sectional study was conducted and systematic screening for S. stercoralis infection using serological tests was offered to all eligible participants. Results: The overall seroprevalence of S. stercoralis was 9.04% (95%CI 7.76–10.31). The seroprevalence of people with a risk of infection acquired in Africa and Latin America was 9.35% (95%CI 7.01–11.69), 9.22% (7.5–10.93), respectively. The number of individuals coming from Asian countries was significantly smaller and the overall prevalence in these countries was 2.9% (95%CI −0.3–6.2). The seroprevalence in units attending potentially immunosuppressed patients was significantly lower (5.64%) compared with other units of the hospital (10.20%) or Tropical diseases units (13.33%) (p < 0.001). Conclusions: We report a hospital-based strongyloidiasis seroprevalence of almost 10% in a mobile population coming from endemic areas suggesting the need of implementing strongyloidiasis screening in hospitalized patients coming from endemic areas, particularly if they are at risk of immunosuppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevalence of Strongyloidiasis and Schistosomiasis)
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Article
Molecular Detection of Antimalarial Drug Resistance in Plasmodium vivax from Returned Travellers to NSW, Australia during 2008–2018
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020101 - 05 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
To monitor drug resistance in Plasmodium vivax, a multidrug resistance 1 (Pvmdr1) gene and a putative transporter protein (Pvcrt-o) gene were used as molecular markers for chloroquine resistance. The biomarkers, the dihydrofolate reductase (Pvdhfr) gene and [...] Read more.
To monitor drug resistance in Plasmodium vivax, a multidrug resistance 1 (Pvmdr1) gene and a putative transporter protein (Pvcrt-o) gene were used as molecular markers for chloroquine resistance. The biomarkers, the dihydrofolate reductase (Pvdhfr) gene and the dihydropteroate synthetase (Pvdhps) gene, were also used for the detection of resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP); this drug is often accidentally used to treat P. vivax infections. Clinical blood samples (n = 120) were collected from patients who had been to one of eight malaria-endemic countries and diagnosed with P. vivax infection. The chloroquine resistance marker, the Pvmdr1 gene, showed F976:L1076 mutations and L1076 mutation. A K10 insertion in the Pvcrt-o gene was also found among the samples successfully sequenced. A combination of L/I57:R58:M61:T117 mutations in the Pvdhfr gene and G383:G553 mutations in the Pvdhps gene were also observed. Mutations found in these genes indicate that drug resistance is present in these eight countries. Whether or not countries are using chloroquine to treat P. vivax, there appears to be an increase in mutation numbers in resistance gene markers. The detected changes in mutation rates of these genes do suggest that there is still a trend towards increasing P. vivax resistance to chloroquine. The presence of the mutations associated with SP resistance indicates that P. vivax has had exposure to SP and this may be a consequence of either misdiagnosis or coinfections with P. falciparum in the past. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addressing Plasmodium vivax: From Control to Elimination)
Article
Comparison of the Transcriptome Response within the Swine Tracheobronchial Lymphnode Following Infection with PRRSV, PCV-2 or IAV-S.
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020099 - 05 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a major respiratory pathogen of swine that has become extremely costly to the swine industry worldwide, often causing losses in production and animal life due to their ease of spread. However, the intracellular changes that [...] Read more.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a major respiratory pathogen of swine that has become extremely costly to the swine industry worldwide, often causing losses in production and animal life due to their ease of spread. However, the intracellular changes that occur in pigs following viral respiratory infections are still scantily understood for PRRSV, as well as other viral respiratory infections. The aim of this study was to acquire a better understanding of the PRRS disease by comparing gene expression changes that occur in tracheobronchial lymph nodes (TBLN) of pigs infected with either porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2), or swine influenza A virus (IAV-S) infections. The study identified and compared gene expression changes in the TBLN of 80 pigs following infection by PRRSV, PCV-2, IAV-S, or sham inoculation. Total RNA was pooled for each group and time-point (1, 3, 6, and 14 dpi) to make 16 libraries—analyses are by Digital Gene Expression Tag Profiling (DGETP). The data underwent standard filtering to generate a list of sequence tag raw counts that were then analyzed using multidimensional and differential expression statistical tests. The results showed that PRRSV, IAV-S and PCV-2 viral infections followed a clinical course in the pigs typical of experimental infection of young pigs with these viruses. Gene expression results echoed this course, as well as uncovered genes related to intersecting and unique host immune responses to the three viruses. By testing and observing the host response to other respiratory viruses, our study has elucidated similarities and differences that can assist in the development of vaccines and therapeutics that shorten or prevent a chronic PRRSV infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
Map3k14 as a Regulator of Innate and Adaptive Immune Response during Acute Viral Infection
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020096 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The replication of virus in secondary lymphoid organs is crucial for the activation of antigen-presenting cells. Balanced viral replication ensures the sufficient availability of antigens and production of cytokines, and both of which are needed for virus-specific immune activation and viral elimination. Host [...] Read more.
The replication of virus in secondary lymphoid organs is crucial for the activation of antigen-presenting cells. Balanced viral replication ensures the sufficient availability of antigens and production of cytokines, and both of which are needed for virus-specific immune activation and viral elimination. Host factors that regulate coordinated viral replication are not fully understood. In the study reported here, we identified Map3k14 as an important regulator of enforced viral replication in the spleen while performing genome-wide association studies of various inbred mouse lines in a model of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. When alymphoplasia mice (aly/aly, Map3k14aly/aly, or Nikaly/aly), which carry a mutation in Map3k14, were infected with LCMV or vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), they display early reductions in early viral replication in the spleen, reduced innate and adaptive immune activation, and lack of viral control. Histologically, scant B cells and the lack of CD169+ macrophages correlated with reduced immune activation in Map3k14aly/aly mice. The transfer of wildtype B cells into Map3k14aly/aly mice repopulated CD169+ macrophages, restored enforced viral replication, and resulted in enhanced immune activation and faster viral control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunological Responses and Immune Defense Mechanisms)
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Article
Isolation of Naegleria spp. from a Brazilian Water Source
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020090 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The genus Naegleria, of the free-living amoeba (FLA) group, has been investigated mainly due to its human health impact, resulting in deadly infections and their worldwide distribution on freshwater systems. Naegleria fowleri, colloquially known as the “brain-eating amoeba,” is the most [...] Read more.
The genus Naegleria, of the free-living amoeba (FLA) group, has been investigated mainly due to its human health impact, resulting in deadly infections and their worldwide distribution on freshwater systems. Naegleria fowleri, colloquially known as the “brain-eating amoeba,” is the most studied Naegleria species because it causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) of high lethality. The assessment of FLA biodiversity is fundamental to evaluate the presence of pathogenic species and the possibility of human contamination. However, the knowledge of FLA distribution in Brazil is unknown, and to rectify this situation, we present research on identifying Naegleria spp. in the Monjolinho River as a model study. The river is a public Brazilian freshwater source that crosses the city of São Carlos, in São Paulo state, Brazil. Five distinct sampling sites were examined through limnological features, trophozoites culturing, and PCR against internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions and 5.8S rRNA sequences. The results identified N. philippinensis, N. canariensisi, N. australiensis, N. gruberi, N. dobsoni sequences, as well as a Hartmannella sequence. The methodology delineated here represents the first Brazilian Naegleria spp. study on a freshwater system. Our results stress the urgency of a large scale evaluation of the presence of free-living amoebas in Brazil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Parasitic Protozoa)
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Increasing the Safety Profile of the Master Donor Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020086 - 29 Jan 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Seasonal influenza epidemics remain one of the largest public health burdens nowadays. The best and most effective strategy to date in preventing influenza infection is a worldwide vaccination campaign. Currently, two vaccines are available to the public for the treatment of influenza infection, [...] Read more.
Seasonal influenza epidemics remain one of the largest public health burdens nowadays. The best and most effective strategy to date in preventing influenza infection is a worldwide vaccination campaign. Currently, two vaccines are available to the public for the treatment of influenza infection, the chemically Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (IIV) and the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV). However, the LAIV is not recommended for parts of the population, such as children under the age of two, immunocompromised individuals, the elderly, and pregnant adults. In order to improve the safety of the LAIV and make it available to more of the population, we sought to further attenuate the LAIV. In this study, we demonstrate that the influenza A virus (IAV) master donor virus (MDV) A/Ann Arbor/6/60 H2N2 LAIV can inhibit host gene expression using both the PA-X and NS1 proteins. Furthermore, we show that by removing PA-X, we can limit the replication of the MDV LAIV in a mouse model, while maintaining full protective efficacy. This work demonstrates a broadly applicable strategy of tuning the amount of host antiviral responses induced by the IAV MDV for the development of newer and safer LAIVs. Moreover, our results also demonstrate, for the first time, the feasibility of genetically manipulating the backbone of the IAV MDV to improve the efficacy of the current IAV LAIV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza Virus and Vaccination)
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Article
Suicidal Leishmania
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020079 - 25 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Leishmania are obligate intracellular parasites known to have developed successful ways of efficient immunity evasion. Because of this, leishmaniasis, a disease caused by these flagellated protists, is ranked as one of the most serious tropical infections worldwide. Neither prophylactic medication, nor vaccination has [...] Read more.
Leishmania are obligate intracellular parasites known to have developed successful ways of efficient immunity evasion. Because of this, leishmaniasis, a disease caused by these flagellated protists, is ranked as one of the most serious tropical infections worldwide. Neither prophylactic medication, nor vaccination has been developed thus far, even though the infection has usually led to strong and long-lasting immunity. In this paper, we describe a “suicidal” system established in Leishmania mexicana, a human pathogen causing cutaneous leishmaniasis. This system is based on the expression and (de)stabilization of a basic phospholipase A2 toxin from the Bothrops pauloensis snake venom, which leads to the inducible cell death of the parasites in vitro. Furthermore, the suicidal strain was highly attenuated during macrophage infection, regardless of the toxin stabilization. Such a deliberately weakened parasite could be used to vaccinate the host, as its viability is regulated by the toxin stabilization, causing a profoundly reduced pathogenesis. Full article
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Article
Hypermutation as an Evolutionary Mechanism for Achromobacter xylosoxidans in Cystic Fibrosis Lung Infection
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020072 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Achromobacter xylosoxidans can cause chronic infections in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) by adapting to the specific environment. The study of longitudinal isolates allows to investigate its within-host evolution to unravel the adaptive mechanisms contributing to successful colonization. In this [...] Read more.
Achromobacter xylosoxidans can cause chronic infections in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) by adapting to the specific environment. The study of longitudinal isolates allows to investigate its within-host evolution to unravel the adaptive mechanisms contributing to successful colonization. In this study, four clinical isolates longitudinally collected from two chronically infected patients underwent whole genome sequencing, de novo assembly and sequence analysis. Phenotypic assays were also performed. The isolates coming from one of the patients (patient A) presented a greater number of genetic variants, diverse integrative and conjugative elements, and different protease secretion. In the first of these isolates (strain A1), we also found a large deletion in the mutS gene, involved in DNA mismatch repair (MMR). In contrast, isolates from patient B showed a lower number of variants, only one integrative and mobilizable element, no phenotypic changes, and no mutations in the MMR system. These results suggest that in the two patients the establishment of a chronic infection was mediated by different adaptive mechanisms. While the strains isolated from patient B showed a longitudinal microevolution, strain A1 can be clearly classified as a hypermutator, confirming the occurrence and importance of this adaptive mechanism in A. xylosoxidans infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans LtxA Hijacks Endocytic Trafficking Pathways in Human Lymphocytes
Pathogens 2020, 9(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9020074 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Leukotoxin (LtxA), from oral pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, is a secreted membrane-damaging protein. LtxA is internalized by β2 integrin LFA-1 (CD11a/CD18)-expressing leukocytes and ultimately causes cell death; however, toxin localization in the host cell is poorly understood and these studies fill this void. [...] Read more.
Leukotoxin (LtxA), from oral pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, is a secreted membrane-damaging protein. LtxA is internalized by β2 integrin LFA-1 (CD11a/CD18)-expressing leukocytes and ultimately causes cell death; however, toxin localization in the host cell is poorly understood and these studies fill this void. We investigated LtxA trafficking using multi-fluor confocal imaging, flow cytometry and Rab5a knockdown in human T lymphocyte Jurkat cells. Planar lipid bilayers were used to characterize LtxA pore-forming activity at different pHs. Our results demonstrate that the LtxA/LFA-1 complex gains access to the cytosol of Jurkat cells without evidence of plasma membrane damage, utilizing dynamin-dependent and presumably clathrin-independent mechanisms. Upon internalization, LtxA follows the LFA-1 endocytic trafficking pathways, as identified by co-localization experiments with endosomal and lysosomal markers (Rab5, Rab11A, Rab7, and Lamp1) and CD11a. Knockdown of Rab5a resulted in the loss of susceptibility of Jurkat cells to LtxA cytotoxicity, suggesting that late events of LtxA endocytic trafficking are required for toxicity. Toxin trafficking via the degradative endocytic pathway may culminate in the delivery of the protein to lysosomes or its accumulation in Rab11A-dependent recycling endosomes. The ability of LtxA to form pores at acidic pH may result in permeabilization of the endosomal and lysosomal membranes. Full article
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Article
In Vivo Antiviral Effects of U18666A Against Type I Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010067 - 18 Jan 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
Background: The cationic amphiphilic drug U18666A inhibits the proliferation of type I FIPV in vitro. In this study, we evaluated the in vivo antiviral effects of U18666A by administering it to SPF cats challenged with type I FIPV. Methods: Ten SPF cats were [...] Read more.
Background: The cationic amphiphilic drug U18666A inhibits the proliferation of type I FIPV in vitro. In this study, we evaluated the in vivo antiviral effects of U18666A by administering it to SPF cats challenged with type I FIPV. Methods: Ten SPF cats were randomly assigned to two experimental groups. FIPV KU-2 were inoculated intraperitoneally to cats. The control group was administered PBS, and the U18666A-treated group was administered U18666A subcutaneously at 2.5 mg/kg on day 0, and 1.25 mg/kg on days 2 and 4 after viral inoculation. Results: Two of the five control cats administered PBS alone developed FIP. Four of the five cats administered U18666A developed no signs of FIP. One cat that temporarily developed fever, had no other clinical symptoms, and no gross lesion was noted on an autopsy after the end of the experiment. The FIPV gene was detected intermittently in feces and saliva regardless of the development of FIP or administration of U18666A. Conclusions: When U18666A was administered to cats experimentally infected with type I FIPV, the development of FIP might be suppressed compared with the control group. However, the number of animals with FIP is too low to establish anti-viral effect of U18666A in cats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
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Article
High-Resolution Composition Analysis of an Inactivated Polyvalent Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010063 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Appropriate vaccine selection is crucial in the control of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Vaccination can prevent clinical disease and reduces viral shedding, but there is a lack of cross-protection between the seven serotypes and their sublineages, making the selection of an adequately protective vaccine [...] Read more.
Appropriate vaccine selection is crucial in the control of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Vaccination can prevent clinical disease and reduces viral shedding, but there is a lack of cross-protection between the seven serotypes and their sublineages, making the selection of an adequately protective vaccine difficult. Since the exact composition of their vaccines is not consistently disclosed by all manufacturers, incompatibility of the strains used for vaccination with regionally circulating strains can cause vaccination campaigns to fail. Here, we present a deep sequencing approach for polyvalent inactivated FMD vaccines that can identify all component strains by their genome sequences. The genomes of all strains of a commercial pentavalent FMD vaccine were de novo assembled and the vaccine composition determined semi-quantitatively. The genome assembly required high stringency parameters to prevent misassemblies caused by conserved regions of the genome shared by related strains. In contrast, reference-guided assembly is only recommended in cases where the number of strains is previously known and appropriate reference sequences are available. The presented approach can be applied not only to any inactivated whole-virus FMD vaccine but also to vaccine quality testing in general and allows for better decision-making for vaccines with an unknown composition. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 Alpha (HIF-1α) in Equine Sarcoid: An Immunohistochemical and Biochemical Study
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010058 - 14 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: equine sarcoids are the most frequent skin tumors in equidae worldwide. It is well known that delta bovine papillomaviruses are their causative agents. We have recently shown the presence in equine sarcoids of abnormal vessel structures, which could cause a hypoxic condition. [...] Read more.
Background: equine sarcoids are the most frequent skin tumors in equidae worldwide. It is well known that delta bovine papillomaviruses are their causative agents. We have recently shown the presence in equine sarcoids of abnormal vessel structures, which could cause a hypoxic condition. The aim of this study was to analyze the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) in a subset of BPV positive equine sarcoids and explore the relationship with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression. Results: 80% of equine sarcoids showed strong cytoplasmic staining in >60% of neoplastic fibroblasts, while 20% of samples showed a moderate cytoplasmic staining in 40–60% of neoplastic fibroblasts for HIF-1α. Results of Western blotting (WB) were consistent with immunohistochemistry (IHC). Moreover, a positive correlation between HIF-1α and VEGF expression (r = 0.60, p < 0.01) was observed. Conclusion: we have shown that HIF-1α was strongly expressed in equine sarcoid. The upregulation of HIF-1α has been described in numerous tumors and can be modulated by many proteins encoded by transforming viruses. Thus, it is also possible that BPV could have a relevant role in HIF-1α pathway regulation, contributing to the development of equine sarcoids by promoting HIF-1α/VEGF mediated tumor angiogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bovine Papillomavirus Infection)
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Article
CRISPR-cas3 of Salmonella Upregulates Bacterial Biofilm Formation and Virulence to Host Cells by Targeting Quorum-Sensing Systems
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010053 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
Salmonella is recognized as one of the most common microbial pathogens worldwide. The bacterium contains the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated (Cas) systems, providing adaptive immunity against invading foreign nucleic acids. Previous studies suggested that certain bacteria employ the Cas proteins [...] Read more.
Salmonella is recognized as one of the most common microbial pathogens worldwide. The bacterium contains the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated (Cas) systems, providing adaptive immunity against invading foreign nucleic acids. Previous studies suggested that certain bacteria employ the Cas proteins of CRISPR-Cas systems to target their own genes, which also alters the virulence during invasion of mammals. However, whether CRISPR-Cas systems in Salmonella have similar functions during bacterial invasion of host cells remains unknown. Here, we systematically analyzed the genes that are regulated by Cas3 in a type I-E CRISPR-Cas system and the virulence changes due to the deletion of cas3 in Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. Compared to the cas3 gene wild-type (cas3 WT) Salmonella strain, cas3 deletion upregulated the lsrFGBE genes in lsr (luxS regulated) operon related to quorum sensing (QS) and downregulated biofilm-forming-related genes and Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1) genes related to the type three secretion system (T3SS). Consistently, the biofilm formation ability was downregulated in the cas3 deletion mutant (Δcas3). The bacterial invasive and intracellular capacity of Δcas3 to host cells was also reduced, thereby increasing the survival of infected host cells and live chickens. By the transcriptome-wide screen (RNA-Seq), we found that the cas3 gene impacts a series of genes related to QS, the flagellum, and SPI-1-T3SS system, thereby altering the virulence phenotypes. As QS SPI-1-T3SS and CRISPR-Cas systems are widely distributed in the bacteria kingdom, our findings extend our understanding of virulence regulation and pathogenicity in mammalian hosts for Salmonella and potentially other bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gene Regulation in Biofilms)
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Article
Toxoplasma gondii Recombinant antigen AMA1: Diagnostic Utility of Protein Fragments for the Detection of IgG and IgM Antibodies
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010043 - 05 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii is an important zoonotic protozoan that infects a wide variety of vertebrates as intermediate hosts. For this reason, the diagnosis of this disease is very important and requires continuous improvement. One possibility is to use recombinant antigens in serological tests. Apical [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii is an important zoonotic protozoan that infects a wide variety of vertebrates as intermediate hosts. For this reason, the diagnosis of this disease is very important and requires continuous improvement. One possibility is to use recombinant antigens in serological tests. Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1), a protein located in specific secretory organelles (micronemes) of T. gondii, is very interesting in regard to its potential diagnostic utility. In the present study, we attempted to identify a fragment of the AMA1 protein with a high sensitivity and specificity for the serological diagnosis of human toxoplasmosis. The full-length AMA1 and two different fragments (AMA1N and AMA1C) were produced using an Escherichia coli expression system. After purification by metal affinity chromatography, recombinant proteins were tested for their utility as antigens in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the detection of IgG and IgM anti-T. gondii antibodies in human and mouse immune sera. Our data demonstrate that the full-length AMA1 recombinant antigen (corresponding to amino acid residues 67–569 of the native protein) has a better diagnostic potential than its N- or C-terminal fragments. This recombinant protein strongly interacts with specific anti-T. gondii IgG (99.4%) and IgM (80.0%) antibodies, and may be used for developing new tools for diagnostics of toxoplasmosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Analysis of Porcine Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine Induction by S. suis In Vivo and In Vitro
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010040 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Weaning piglets are susceptible to the invasive Streptococcus (S.) suis infection, which can result in septicemia. The aim of this study was to investigate the cytokine profile induced upon S. suis infection of blood, to determine the cellular sources of those cytokines, and [...] Read more.
Weaning piglets are susceptible to the invasive Streptococcus (S.) suis infection, which can result in septicemia. The aim of this study was to investigate the cytokine profile induced upon S. suis infection of blood, to determine the cellular sources of those cytokines, and to study the potential effects of the induced cytokines on bacterial killing. We measured TNF-α, IL-6, IFN-γ, IL-17A and IL-10 after an experimental intravenous infection with S. suis serotype 2 in vivo, and analyzed whole blood, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and separated leukocytes to identify the cytokine-producing cell type(s). In addition, we used a reconstituted whole blood assay to investigate the effect of TNF-α on bacterial killing in the presence of different S. suis-specific IgG levels. An increase in IL-6 and IL-10, but not in IFN-γ or IL-17A, was observed in two of three piglets with pronounced bacteremia 16 to 20 h after infection, but not in piglets with controlled bacteremia. Our results confirmed previous findings that S. suis induces TNF-α and IL-6 and could demonstrate that TNF-α is produced by monocytes in vitro. We further found that IL-10 induction resulted in reduced secretion of TNF-α and IL-6. Rapid induction of TNF-α was, however, not crucial for in vitro bacterial killing, not even in the absence of specific IgG. Full article
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Article
Comparison of the Pathogenicity of Two Different Branches of Senecavirus a Strain in China
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010039 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Senecavirus A (SVA), an emerging infectious disease, is associated with the porcine idiopathic vesicular disease. Here, the pathogenesis of different strains of SVA was investigated in growing-finishing pigs. We aimed to evaluate the replication characteristics, virus particle morphology, clinical signs, and vesicular lesions [...] Read more.
Senecavirus A (SVA), an emerging infectious disease, is associated with the porcine idiopathic vesicular disease. Here, the pathogenesis of different strains of SVA was investigated in growing-finishing pigs. We aimed to evaluate the replication characteristics, virus particle morphology, clinical signs, and vesicular lesions in comparison with two different strains of SVA. The animals were infected with SVA HB-CH-2016 or CH/AH-02/2017 by intranasal routes (3 mL, 109TCID50/mL) and monitored daily for 14 days post-inoculation (dpi) for clinical signs and vesicular lesions. Viremia or viral shedding was detected in the blood, fecal swab, and nasal swab samples. Results showed no distinct differences in plaque size, replication ability, and characteristic virions between SVA HB-CH-2016 and CH/AH-02/2017 strains. Animal experimental results showed that both SVA CH/AH-02/2017 and SVA HB-CH-2016 could infect pigs. However, an obvious difference in the pathogenicity and dynamics of infection was observed between SVA HB-CH-2016 and CH/AH-02/2017 strains. The pathogenesis of SVA CH/AH-02/2017 was similar to that of published results of USA strains, whereas the SVA HB-CH-2016 strain had low pathogenicity to pigs. Clinical signs and vesicular lesions were observed in SVA CH/AH-02/2017-infected pigs. Additionally, the different branches of SVA should be capable of inducing broad cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies, which play an important role in clearing the SVA virus. This study of animal models for SVA infection will be beneficial to develop vaccines and antivirals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
The Cell-Cycle Regulatory Protein p21CIP1/WAF1 Is Required for Cytolethal Distending Toxin (Cdt)-Induced Apoptosis
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010038 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) induces lymphocytes to undergo cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis; toxicity is dependent upon the active Cdt subunit, CdtB. We now demonstrate that p21CIP1/WAF1 is critical to Cdt-induced apoptosis. Cdt induces increases in the levels of p21 [...] Read more.
The Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) induces lymphocytes to undergo cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis; toxicity is dependent upon the active Cdt subunit, CdtB. We now demonstrate that p21CIP1/WAF1 is critical to Cdt-induced apoptosis. Cdt induces increases in the levels of p21CIP1/WAF1 in lymphoid cell lines, Jurkat and MyLa, and in primary human lymphocytes. These increases were dependent upon CdtB’s ability to function as a phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) phosphatase. It is noteworthy that Cdt-induced increases in the levels of p21CIP1/WAF1 were accompanied by a significant decline in the levels of phosphorylated p21CIP1/WAF1. The significance of Cdt-induced p21CIP1/WAF1 increase was assessed by preventing these changes with a two-pronged approach; pre-incubation with the novel p21CIP1/WAF1 inhibitor, UC2288, and development of a p21CIP1/WAF1-deficient cell line (Jurkatp21−) using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/cas9 gene editing. UC2288 blocked toxin-induced increases in p21CIP1/WAF1, and JurkatWT cells treated with this inhibitor exhibited reduced susceptibility to Cdt-induced apoptosis. Likewise, Jurkatp21− cells failed to undergo toxin-induced apoptosis. The linkage between Cdt, p21CIP1/WAF1, and apoptosis was further established by demonstrating that Cdt-induced increases in levels of the pro-apoptotic proteins Bid, Bax, and Bak were dependent upon p21CIP1/WAF1 as these changes were not observed in Jurkatp21− cells. Finally, we determined that the p21CIP1/WAF1 increases were dependent upon toxin-induced increases in the level and activity of the chaperone heat shock protein (HSP) 90. We propose that p21CIP1/WAF1 plays a key pro-apoptotic role in mediating Cdt-induced toxicity. Full article
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The Xylella fastidiosa-Resistant Olive Cultivar “Leccino” Has Stable Endophytic Microbiota during the Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS)
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010035 - 31 Dec 2019
Cited by 16
Abstract
Xylella fastidiosa is a highly virulent pathogen that causes Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS), which is currently devastating olive plantations in the Salento region (Apulia, Southern Italy). We explored the microbiome associated with X. fastidiosa-infected (Xf-infected) and -uninfected (Xf [...] Read more.
Xylella fastidiosa is a highly virulent pathogen that causes Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS), which is currently devastating olive plantations in the Salento region (Apulia, Southern Italy). We explored the microbiome associated with X. fastidiosa-infected (Xf-infected) and -uninfected (Xf-uninfected) olive trees in Salento, to assess the level of dysbiosis and to get first insights into the potential role of microbial endophytes in protecting the host from the disease. The resistant cultivar “Leccino” was compared to the susceptible cultivar “Cellina di Nardò”, in order to identify microbial taxa and parameters potentially involved in resistance mechanisms. Metabarcoding of 16S rRNA genes and fungal ITS2 was used to characterize both total and endophytic microbiota in olive branches and leaves. “Cellina di Nardò” showed a drastic dysbiosis after X. fastidiosa infection, while “Leccino” (both infected and uninfected) maintained a similar microbiota. The genus Pseudomonas dominated all “Leccino” and Xf-uninfected “Cellina di Nardò” trees, whereas Ammoniphilus prevailed in Xf-infected “Cellina di Nardò”. Diversity of microbiota in Xf-uninfected “Leccino” was higher than in Xf-uninfected “Cellina di Nardò”. Several bacterial taxa specifically associated with “Leccino” showed potential interactions with X. fastidiosa. The maintenance of a healthy microbiota with higher diversity and the presence of cultivar-specific microbes might support the resistance of “Leccino” to X. fastidiosa. Such beneficial bacteria might be isolated in the future for biological treatment of the OQDS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Pathogens)
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Article
Membrane Binding, Cellular Cholesterol Content and Resealing Capacity Contribute to Epithelial Cell Damage Induced by Suilysin of Streptococcus suis
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010033 - 30 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Streptococcus (S.) suis is a major cause of economic losses in the pig industry worldwide and is an emerging zoonotic pathogen. One important virulence-associated factor is suilysin (SLY), a toxin that belongs to the family of cholesterol-dependent pore-forming cytolysins (CDC). However, [...] Read more.
Streptococcus (S.) suis is a major cause of economic losses in the pig industry worldwide and is an emerging zoonotic pathogen. One important virulence-associated factor is suilysin (SLY), a toxin that belongs to the family of cholesterol-dependent pore-forming cytolysins (CDC). However, the precise role of SLY in host–pathogen interactions is still unclear. Here, we investigated the susceptibility of different respiratory epithelial cells to SLY, including immortalized cell lines (HEp-2 and NPTr cells), which are frequently used in in vitro studies on S. suis virulence mechanisms, as well as primary porcine respiratory cells, which represent the first line of barrier during S. suis infections. SLY-induced cell damage was determined by measuring the release of lactate dehydrogenase after infection with a virulent S. suis serotype 2 strain, its isogenic SLY-deficient mutant strain, or treatment with the recombinant protein. HEp-2 cells were most susceptible, whereas primary epithelial cells were hardly affected by the toxin. This prompted us to study possible explanations for these differences. We first investigated the binding capacity of SLY using flow cytometry analysis. Since binding and pore-formation of CDC is dependent on the membrane composition, we also determined the cellular cholesterol content of the different cell types using TLC and HPLC. Finally, we examined the ability of those cells to reseal SLY-induced pores using flow cytometry analysis. Our results indicated that the amount of membrane-bound SLY, the cholesterol content of the cells, as well as their resealing capacity all affect the susceptibility of the different cells regarding the effects of SLY. These findings underline the differences of in vitro pathogenicity models and may further help to dissect the biological role of SLY during S. suis infections. Full article
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Article
Genome-Wide Analysis of Cyclophilin Proteins in 21 Oomycetes
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010024 - 26 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Cyclophilins (CYPs), a highly-conserved family of proteins, belong to a subgroup of immunophilins. Ubiquitous in eukaryotes and prokaryotes, CYPs have peptidyl-prolyl cis–trans isomerase (PPIase) activity and have been implicated as virulence factors in plant pathogenesis by oomycetes. We identified 16 CYP orthogroups from [...] Read more.
Cyclophilins (CYPs), a highly-conserved family of proteins, belong to a subgroup of immunophilins. Ubiquitous in eukaryotes and prokaryotes, CYPs have peptidyl-prolyl cis–trans isomerase (PPIase) activity and have been implicated as virulence factors in plant pathogenesis by oomycetes. We identified 16 CYP orthogroups from 21 diverse oomycetes. Each species was found to encode 15 to 35 CYP genes. Three of these orthogroups contained proteins with signal peptides at the N-terminal end, suggesting a role in secretion. Multidomain analysis revealed five conserved motifs of the CYP domain of oomycetes shared with other eukaryotic PPIases. Expression analysis of CYP proteins in different asexual life stages of the hemibiotrophic Phytophthora infestans and the biotrophic Plasmopara halstedii demonstrated distinct expression profiles between life stages. In addition to providing detailed comparative information on the CYPs in multiple oomycetes, this study identified candidate CYP effectors that could be the foundation for future studies of virulence. Full article
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Article
Chromosomal Conjugative and Mobilizable Elements in Streptococcus suis: Major Actors in the Spreading of Antimicrobial Resistance and Bacteriocin Synthesis Genes
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010022 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Streptococcus suis is a zoonotic pathogen suspected to be a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes. The genomes of 214 strains of 27 serotypes were screened for AMR genes and chromosomal Mobile Genetic Elements (MGEs), in particular Integrative Conjugative Elements (ICEs) and Integrative [...] Read more.
Streptococcus suis is a zoonotic pathogen suspected to be a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes. The genomes of 214 strains of 27 serotypes were screened for AMR genes and chromosomal Mobile Genetic Elements (MGEs), in particular Integrative Conjugative Elements (ICEs) and Integrative Mobilizable Elements (IMEs). The functionality of two ICEs that host IMEs carrying AMR genes was investigated by excision tests and conjugation experiments. In silico search revealed 416 ICE-related and 457 IME-related elements. These MGEs exhibit an impressive diversity and plasticity with tandem accretions, integration of ICEs or IMEs inside ICEs and recombination between the elements. All of the detected 393 AMR genes are carried by MGEs. As previously described, ICEs are major vehicles of AMR genes in S. suis. Tn5252-related ICEs also appear to carry bacteriocin clusters. Furthermore, whereas the association of IME-AMR genes has never been described in S. suis, we found that most AMR genes are actually carried by IMEs. The autonomous transfer of an ICE to another bacterial species (Streptococcus thermophilus)—leading to the cis-mobilization of an IME carrying tet(O)—was obtained. These results show that besides ICEs, IMEs likely play a major role in the dissemination of AMR genes in S. suis. Full article
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Communication
Human Microglia Respond to Malaria-Induced Extracellular Vesicles
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010021 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Microglia are the chief immune cells of the brain and have been reported to be activated in severe malaria. Their activation may drive towards neuroinflammation in cerebral malaria. Malaria-infected red blood cell derived-extracellular vesicles (MiREVs) are produced during the blood stage of malaria [...] Read more.
Microglia are the chief immune cells of the brain and have been reported to be activated in severe malaria. Their activation may drive towards neuroinflammation in cerebral malaria. Malaria-infected red blood cell derived-extracellular vesicles (MiREVs) are produced during the blood stage of malaria infection. They mediate intercellular communication and immune regulation, among other functions. During cerebral malaria, the breakdown of the blood–brain barrier can promote the migration of substances such as MiREVs from the periphery into the brain, targeting cells such as microglia. Microglia and extracellular vesicle interactions in different pathological conditions have been reported to induce neuroinflammation. Unlike in astrocytes, microglia–extracellular vesicle interaction has not yet been described in malaria infection. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the uptake of MiREVs by human microglia cells and their cytokine response. Human blood monocyte-derived microglia (MoMi) were generated from buffy coats of anonymous healthy donors using Ficoll-Paque density gradient centrifugation. The MiREVs were isolated from the Plasmodium falciparum cultures. They were purified by ultracentrifugation and labeled with PKH67 green fluorescent dye. The internalization of MiREVs by MoMi was observed after 4 h of co-incubation on coverslips placed in a 24-well plate at 37 °C using confocal microscopy. Cytokine-gene expression was investigated using rt-qPCR, following the stimulation of the MoMi cells with supernatants from the parasite cultures at 2, 4, and 24 h, respectively. MiREVs were internalized by the microglia and accumulated in the perinuclear region. MiREVs-treated cells increased gene expression of the inflammatory cytokine TNFα and reduced gene expression of the immune suppressive IL-10. Overall, the results indicate that MiREVs may act on microglia, which would contribute to enhanced inflammation in cerebral malaria. Full article
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Article
Genetic Changes in Experimental Populations of a Hybrid in the Cryptococcus neoformans Species Complex
Pathogens 2020, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9010003 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Hybrids between Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans are commonly found in patients and the environment. However, the genetic stability of these hybrids remains largely unknown. Here, we established mutation accumulation lines of a diploid C. neoformans × C. deneoformans laboratory hybrid and analyzed [...] Read more.
Hybrids between Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans are commonly found in patients and the environment. However, the genetic stability of these hybrids remains largely unknown. Here, we established mutation accumulation lines of a diploid C. neoformans × C. deneoformans laboratory hybrid and analyzed the genotypes at 33 markers distributed across all 14 chromosomes. Our analyses found that under standard culture conditions, heterozygosity at most loci was maintained over 800 mitotic generations, with an estimated 6.44 × 10−5 loss-of-heterozygosity (LoH) event per mitotic division. However, under fluconazole stress, the observed LoH frequency increased by > 50 folds for the two markers on Chromosome 1, all due to the loss of the fluconazole susceptible allele on this chromosome. Flow cytometry analyses showed that after the 40th transfer (120 days), 19 of the 20 lines maintained the original ploidy level (2N), while one line was between 2N and 3N. The combined flow cytometry, genotyping at 33 markers, and quantitative PCR analyses showed the allelic loss was compensated for by amplification of the resistant ERG11 allele in eight of the ten fluconazole-stress lines. Our results suggest that hybrids in C. neoformans species complex are generally stable but that they can undergo rapid adaptation to environmental stresses through LoH and gene duplication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of Fungal and Bacterial Microbes)
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Article
Endocytic Pathway of Feline Coronavirus for Cell Entry: Differences in Serotype-Dependent Viral Entry Pathway
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040300 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a pathogen causing a lethal infectious disease in cats, feline infectious peritonitis. It has two serotypes (type I FCoV and type II FCoV). According to our previous study, type I FCoV infection is inhibited by compounds inducing intracellular cholesterol [...] Read more.
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a pathogen causing a lethal infectious disease in cats, feline infectious peritonitis. It has two serotypes (type I FCoV and type II FCoV). According to our previous study, type I FCoV infection is inhibited by compounds inducing intracellular cholesterol accumulation, whereas type II FCoV infection is not inhibited. Intracellular cholesterol accumulation was reported to disrupt late endosome function. Based on these findings, types I and II FCoV are considered to enter the cytosol through late and early endosomes, respectively. We investigated whether the antiviral activities of a late endosome trafficking inhibitor and cholesterol-accumulating agents are different between the FCoV serotypes. The late endosome trafficking inhibitor did not inhibit type II FCoV infection, but it inhibited type I FCoV infection. Type I FCoV infection was inhibited by cholesterol-accumulating triazoles, but not by non-cholesterol-accumulating triazoles. These phenomena were observed in both feline cell lines and feline primary macrophages. This study provides additional information on the differences in intracellular reproductive cycle between type I and type II FCoV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
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Article
Genetic Basis and Physiological Effects of Lipid A Hydroxylation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040291 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Modifications of the lipid A moiety of lipopolysaccharide influence the physicochemical properties of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Some bacteria produce lipid A with a single hydroxylated secondary acyl chain. This hydroxylation is catalyzed by the dioxygenase LpxO, and is important for [...] Read more.
Modifications of the lipid A moiety of lipopolysaccharide influence the physicochemical properties of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Some bacteria produce lipid A with a single hydroxylated secondary acyl chain. This hydroxylation is catalyzed by the dioxygenase LpxO, and is important for resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides (e.g., polymyxins), survival in human blood, and pathogenicity in animal models. The lipid A of the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be hydroxylated in both secondary acyl chains, but the genetic basis and physiological role of these hydroxylations are still unknown. Through the generation of single and double deletion mutants in the lpxO1 and lpxO2 homologs of P. aeruginosa PAO1 and lipid A analysis by mass spectrometry, we demonstrate that both LpxO1 and LpxO2 are responsible for lipid A hydroxylation, likely acting on different secondary acyl chains. Lipid A hydroxylation does not appear to affect in vitro growth, cell wall stability, and resistance to human blood or antibiotics in P. aeruginosa. In contrast, it is required for infectivity in the Galleria mellonella infection model, without relevantly affecting in vivo persistence. Overall, these findings suggest a role for lipid A hydroxylation in P. aeruginosa virulence that could not be directly related to outer membrane integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Phenotypic Characterization of Rhodococcus equi Biofilm Grown In Vitro and Inhibiting and Dissolving Activity of Azithromycin/Rifampicin Treatment
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040284 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Microbial biofilm has been implicated in a wide range of chronic infections. In spite of the fact that Rhodococcus equi is a recognized cause of chronic disease in animals and humans, few studies have focused on the sessile phenotype of R. equi. [...] Read more.
Microbial biofilm has been implicated in a wide range of chronic infections. In spite of the fact that Rhodococcus equi is a recognized cause of chronic disease in animals and humans, few studies have focused on the sessile phenotype of R. equi. The aim of this research was to phenotypically characterize the biofilm development of R. equi and its answerability for hypo-responsiveness to macrolides and rifampicin. Biofilm formation is initiated by bacterial adhesion to the surface. In this work, the ability of R. equi to adhere to the surface of human lung epithelial cells was detected by a fluorometric adhesion test performed on 40 clinical isolates. Subsequently, the capability of R. equi to produce biofilm was investigated by colorimetric, fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy analysis, revealing a general slow growth of rhodococcal biofilm and different sessile phenotypes among field isolates, some also including filamented bacteria. Azithromycin treatment produced a higher long-term inhibition and dissolution of R. equi biofilms than rifampicin, while the two antibiotics combined boosted the anti-biofilm effect in a statistically significant manner, although this was not equally effective for all R. equi isolates. Increasing the MIC concentrations of drugs tenfold alone and in combination did not completely eradicate pre-formed R. equi biofilms, while a rifampicin-resistant isolate produced an exceptionally abundant extracellular matrix. These results have strengthened the hypothesis that biofilm production may occur as an antibiotic tolerance system in R. equi, potentially determining persistence and, eventually, chronic infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
Transcriptomic Analysis of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans Core and Accessory Genes in Different Growth Conditions
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040282 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans genome can be divided into an accessory gene pool (found in some but not all strains) and a core gene pool (found in all strains). The functions of the accessory genes (genomic islands and non-island accessory genes) are largely unknown. We [...] Read more.
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans genome can be divided into an accessory gene pool (found in some but not all strains) and a core gene pool (found in all strains). The functions of the accessory genes (genomic islands and non-island accessory genes) are largely unknown. We hypothesize that accessory genes confer critical functions for A. actinomycetemcomitans in vivo. This study examined the expression patterns of accessory and core genes of A. actinomycetemcomitans in distinct growth conditions. We found similar expression patterns of island and non-island accessory genes, which were generally lower than the core genes in all growth conditions. The median expression levels of genomic islands were 29%–37% of the core genes in enriched medium but elevated to as high as 63% of the core genes in nutrient-limited media. Several putative virulence genes, including the cytolethal distending toxin operon, were found to be activated in nutrient-limited conditions. In conclusion, genomic islands and non-island accessory genes exhibited distinct patterns of expression from the core genes and may play a role in the survival of A. actinomycetemcomitans in nutrient-limited environments. Full article
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Article
The Prevalence of HSV, HHV-6, HPV and Mycoplasma genitalium in Chlamydia trachomatis positive and Chlamydia trachomatis Negative Urogenital Samples among Young Women in Finland