ResearchPad - host-pathogen-interactions https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[<i>Ehrlichia chaffeensis</i> TRP120-mediated ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of tumor suppressor FBW7 increases oncoprotein stability and promotes infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13827 E. chaffeensis is an obligately intracellular bacterium that replicates in mononuclear phagocytes by secreting effectors that manipulate host cell processes and exploit evolutionarily conserved pathways. This investigation reveals the complex and expanding role of the E. chaffeensis TRP120 moonlighting effector as a ubiquitin (Ub) ligase targeting host nuclear proteins. Herein, we demonstrate that E. chaffeensis TRP120 HECT Ub ligase targets the nuclear tumor suppressor Skp1-cullin-1-FBOX E3 ubiquitin (Ub) ligase complex substrate recognition subunit, F-BOX and WD domain repeating-containing 7 (FBW7) for degradation. FBW7 is a central regulator of broadly acting host cell oncoproteins involved in cell proliferation and survival. The reduction in FBW7 through TRP120-mediated ubiquitination increases cellular oncoprotein levels and promotes E. chaffeensis infection. This study illuminates novel bacterial effector-host interactions, the importance and interplay of both host and bacterial Ub ligases and the Ub-proteasome system for infection, and mechanisms whereby evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways are hijacked by obligately intracellular pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Interaction between host genes and <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> lineage can affect tuberculosis severity: Evidence for coevolution?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13824 Susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB) is affected by genetic variation in both the human host and the causative bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, prior studies of the genetics of each species have not explained a large part of TB risk. The possibility exists that risk can be better estimated from patterns of variation in the two species as a unit, such that some combinations provide increased risk, or in the presence of TB, increased disease severity. We hypothesized that alleles in the two species that have co-existed for long periods are more likely to reduce disease severity so as to promote prolonged co-occurrence. We tested this by studying TB severity in two patient cohorts from Uganda for which paired MTB-human DNA were available. We examined severity, as measured by the Bandim TBscore, and assessed whether there was an interaction between MTB lineage and SNPs in the host with this metric. Our results indicate that the most recent TB lineage (L4.6/Uganda) when found together with an ancestral allele in SLC11A1 resulted in more severe disease. This finding is consistent with the conclusion that MTB and human have coevolved to modulate TB severity.

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<![CDATA[Host-parasite interaction explains variation in the prevalence of avian haemosporidians at the community level]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897744d5eed0c4847d2876

Parasites are a selective force that shape host community structure and dynamics, but host communities can also influence parasitism. Understanding the dual nature from host-parasite interactions can be facilitated by quantifying the variation in parasite prevalence among host species and then comparing that variation to other ecological factors that are known to also shape host communities. Avian haemosporidian parasites (e.g. Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) are abundant and widespread representing an excellent model for the study of host-parasite interactions. Several geographic and environmental factors have been suggested to determine prevalence of avian haemosporidians in bird communities. However, it remains unknown whether host and parasite traits, represented by phylogenetic distances among species and degree of specialization in host-parasite relationships, can influence infection status. The aims of this study were to analyze factors affecting infection status in a bird community and to test whether the degree of parasite specialization on their hosts is determined by host traits. Our statistical analyses suggest that infection status is mainly determined by the interaction between host species and parasite lineages where tolerance and/or susceptibility to parasites plays an essential role. Additionally, we found that although some of the parasite lineages infected a low number of bird individuals, the species they infected were distantly related and therefore the parasites themselves should not be considered typical host specialists. Infection status was higher for generalist than for specialist parasites in some, but not all, host species. These results suggest that detected prevalence in a species mainly results from the interaction between host immune defences and parasite exploitation strategies wherein the result of an association between particular parasite lineages and particular host species is idiosyncratic.

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<![CDATA[Convergent perturbation of the human domain-resolved interactome by viruses and mutations inducing similar disease phenotypes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9afd5eed0c484529ff0

An important goal of systems medicine is to study disease in the context of genetic and environmental perturbations to the human interactome network. For diseases with both genetic and infectious contributors, a key postulate is that similar perturbations of the human interactome by either disease mutations or pathogens can have similar disease consequences. This postulate has so far only been tested for a few viral species at the level of whole proteins. Here, we expand the scope of viral species examined, and test this postulate more rigorously at the higher resolution of protein domains. Focusing on diseases with both genetic and viral contributors, we found significant convergent perturbation of the human domain-resolved interactome by endogenous genetic mutations and exogenous viral proteins inducing similar disease phenotypes. Pan-cancer, pan-oncovirus analysis further revealed that domains of human oncoproteins either physically targeted or structurally mimicked by oncoviruses are enriched for cancer driver rather than passenger mutations, suggesting convergent targeting of cancer driver pathways by diverse oncoviruses. Our study provides a framework for high-resolution, network-based comparison of various disease factors, both genetic and environmental, in terms of their impacts on the human interactome.

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<![CDATA[Limited effects of the maternal rearing environment on the behaviour and fitness of an insect herbivore and its natural enemy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c424399d5eed0c4845e0779

The maternal rearing environment can affect offspring fitness or phenotype indirectly via ‘maternal effects’ and can also influence a mother’s behaviour and fecundity directly. However, it remains uncertain how the effects of the maternal rearing environment cascade through multiple trophic levels, such as in plant-insect herbivore-natural enemy interactions. Pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) show differential fitness on host legume species, while generalist aphid parasitoids can show variable fitness on different host aphid species, suggesting that maternal effects could operate in a plant-aphid-parasitoid system. We tested whether the maternal rearing environment affected the behaviour and fitness of aphids by rearing aphids on two plant hosts that were either the same as or different from those experienced by the mothers. A similar approach was used to test the behaviour and fitness of parasitoid wasps in response to maternal rearing environment. Here, the host environment was manipulated at the plant or plant and aphid trophic levels for parasitoid wasps. We also quantified the quality of host plants for aphids and host aphids for parasitoid wasps. In choice tests, aphids and parasitoid wasps had no preference for the plant nor plant and aphid host environment on which they were reared. Aphid offspring experienced 50.8% higher intrinsic rates of population growth, 43.4% heavier offspring and lived 14.9% longer when feeding on bean plants compared to aphids feeding on pea plants, with little effect of the maternal rearing environment. Plant tissue nitrogen concentration varied by 21.3% in response to aphid mothers’ rearing environment, and these differences correlated with offspring fitness. Maternal effects in parasitoid wasps were only observed when both the plant and aphid host environment was changed: wasp offspring were heaviest by 10.9–73.5% when both they and their mothers developed in bean-reared pea aphids. Also, parasitoid wasp fecundity was highest by 38.4% when offspring were oviposited in the maternal rearing environment. These findings indicate that maternal effects have a relatively small contribution towards the outcome of plant-aphid-parasitoid interactions.

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<![CDATA[Rift Valley fever: An open-source transmission dynamics simulation model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa566d5eed0c484ca3e15

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is one of the major viral zoonoses in Africa, affecting humans and several domestic animal species. The epidemics in eastern Africa occur in a 5-15 year cycle coinciding with abnormally high rainfall generally associated to the warm phase of the El Niño event. However, recently, evidence has been gathered of inter-epidemic transmission. An open-source, easily applicable, accessible and modifiable model was built to simulate the transmission dynamics of RVF. The model was calibrated using data collected in the Kilombero Valley in Tanzania with people and cattle as host species and Ædes mcintoshi, Æ. ægypti and two Culex species as vectors. Simulations were run over a period of 27 years using standard parameter values derived from two previous studies in this region. Our model predicts low-level transmission of RVF, which is in line with epidemiological studies in this area. Emphasis in our simulation was put on both the dynamics and composition of vector populations in three ecological zones, in order to elucidate the respective roles played by different vector species: the model output did indicate the necessity of Culex involvement and also indicated that vertical transmission in Ædes mcintoshi may be underestimated. This model, being built with open-source software and with an easy-to-use interface, can be adapted by researchers and control program managers to their specific needs by plugging in new parameters relevant to their situation and locality.

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<![CDATA[Mycoplasmas are no exception to extracellular vesicles release: Revisiting old concepts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841ebd5eed0c484fcb27d

Release of extracellular vesicles (EV) by Gram-negative and positive bacteria is being frequently reported. EV are nano-sized, membrane-derived, non-self-replicating, spherical structures shed into the extracellular environment that could play a role in bacteria-host interactions. Evidence of EV production in bacteria belonging to the class Mollicutes, which are wall-less, is mainly restricted to the genus Acholeplasma and is scanty for the Mycoplasma genus that comprises major human and animal pathogens. Here EV release by six Mycoplasma (sub)species of clinical importance was investigated. EV were obtained under nutritional stress conditions, purified by ultracentrifugation and observed by electron microscopy. The membrane proteins of EV from three different species were further identified by mass spectrometry as a preliminary approach to determining their potential role in host-pathogen interactions. EV were shown to be released by all six (sub)species although their quantities and sizes (30–220 nm) were very variable. EV purification was complicated by the minute size of viable mycoplasmal cells. The proteins of EV-membranes from three (sub)species included major components of host-pathogen interactions, suggesting that EV could contribute to make the host-pathogen interplay more complex. The process behind EV release has yet to be deciphered, although several observations demonstrated their active release from the plasma membrane of living cells. This work shed new light on old concepts of “elementary bodies” and “not-cell bound antigens”.

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<![CDATA[DDX3 suppresses type I interferons and favors viral replication during Arenavirus infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5ff790463d7e28ade495c4

Several arenaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever (HF) diseases that are associated with high morbidity and mortality in humans. Accordingly, HF arenaviruses have been listed as top-priority emerging diseases for which countermeasures are urgently needed. Because arenavirus nucleoprotein (NP) plays critical roles in both virus multiplication and immune-evasion, we used an unbiased proteomic approach to identify NP-interacting proteins in human cells. DDX3, a DEAD-box ATP-dependent-RNA-helicase, interacted with NP in both NP-transfected and virus-infected cells. Importantly, DDX3 deficiency compromised the propagation of both Old and New World arenaviruses, including the HF arenaviruses Lassa and Junin viruses. The DDX3 role in promoting arenavirus multiplication associated with both a previously un-recognized DDX3 inhibitory role in type I interferon production in arenavirus infected cells and a positive DDX3 effect on arenavirus RNA synthesis that was dependent on its ATPase and Helicase activities. Our results uncover novel mechanisms used by arenaviruses to exploit the host machinery and subvert immunity, singling out DDX3 as a potential host target for developing new therapies against highly pathogenic arenaviruses.

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<![CDATA[Comparative transcriptome profiling of Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici during compatible and incompatible interactions with sister wheat lines carrying and lacking Pm40]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a196b463d7e428027f8b2

Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt) is an obligate biotrophic fungus that causes wheat powdery mildew, which is a devastating disease in wheat. However, little is known about the pathogenesis of this fungus, and differences in the pathogenesis of the same pathogen at various resistance levels in hosts have not been determined. In the present study, leaf tissues of both Pm40-expressing hexaploid wheat line L658 and its Pm40-deficient sister line L958 were harvested at 0 (without inoculation), 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours post-inoculation (hpi) with Bgt race 15 and then subjected to RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). In addition, we also observed changes in fungal growth morphology at the aforementioned time points. There was a high correlation between percentage of reads mapped to the Bgt reference genome and biomass of the fungus within the leaf tissue during the growth process. The percentage of mapped reads of Bgt in compatible interactions was significantly higher (at the p<0.05 level) than that of reads in incompatible interactions from 24 to 72 hpi. Further functional annotations indicated that expression levels of genes encoding H+-transporting ATPase, putative secreted effector proteins (PSEPs) and heat shock proteins (HSPs) were significantly up-regulated in compatible interactions compared with these levels in incompatible interactions, particularly at 72 hpi. Moreover, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis suggested that genes involved in the endocytosis pathway were also enriched in compatible interactions. Overall, genes encoding H+-transporting ATPase, PSEPs and HSPs possibly played crucial roles in successfully establishing the pathogenesis of compatible interactions during late stages of inoculation. The study results also indicated that endocytosis is likely to play a potential role in Bgt in establishing compatible interactions.

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<![CDATA[Mycobacterium ulcerans Fails to Infect through Skin Abrasions in a Guinea Pig Infection Model: Implications for Transmission]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db01ab0ee8fa60bc6b1c

Transmission of M. ulcerans, the etiological agent of Buruli ulcer, from the environment to humans remains an enigma despite decades of research. Major transmission hypotheses propose 1) that M. ulcerans is acquired through an insect bite or 2) that bacteria enter an existing wound through exposure to a contaminated environment. In studies reported here, a guinea pig infection model was developed to determine whether Buruli ulcer could be produced through passive inoculation of M. ulcerans onto a superficial abrasion. The choice of an abrasion model was based on the fact that most bacterial pathogens infecting the skin are able to infect an open lesion, and that abrasions are extremely common in children. Our studies show that after a 90d infection period, an ulcer was present at intra-dermal injection sites of all seven animals infected, whereas topical application of M. ulcerans failed to establish an infection. Mycobacterium ulcerans was cultured from all injection sites whereas infected abrasion sites healed and were culture negative. A 14d experiment was conducted to determine how long organisms persisted after inoculation. Mycobacterium ulcerans was isolated from abrasions at one hour and 24 hours post infection, but cultures from later time points were negative. Abrasion sites were qPCR positive up to seven days post infection, but negative at later timepoints. In contrast, M. ulcerans DNA was detected at intra-dermal injection sites throughout the study. M. ulcerans was cultured from injection sites at each time point. These results suggest that injection of M. ulcerans into the skin greatly facilitates infection and lends support for the role of an invertebrate vector or other route of entry such as a puncture wound or deep laceration where bacteria would be contained within the lesion. Infection through passive inoculation into an existing abrasion appears a less likely route of entry.

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<![CDATA[Paenibacillus larvae Chitin-Degrading Protein PlCBP49 Is a Key Virulence Factor in American Foulbrood of Honey Bees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da81ab0ee8fa60b9aceb

Paenibacillus larvae, the etiological agent of the globally occurring epizootic American Foulbrood (AFB) of honey bees, causes intestinal infections in honey bee larvae which develop into systemic infections inevitably leading to larval death. Massive brood mortality might eventually lead to collapse of the entire colony. Molecular mechanisms of host-microbe interactions in this system and of differences in virulence between P. larvae genotypes are poorly understood. Recently, it was demonstrated that the degradation of the peritrophic matrix lining the midgut epithelium is a key step in pathogenesis of P. larvae infections. Here, we present the isolation and identification of PlCBP49, a modular, chitin-degrading protein of P. larvae and demonstrate that this enzyme is crucial for the degradation of the larval peritrophic matrix during infection. PlCBP49 contains a module belonging to the auxiliary activity 10 (AA10, formerly CBM33) family of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) which are able to degrade recalcitrant polysaccharides. Using chitin-affinity purified PlCBP49, we provide evidence that PlCBP49 degrades chitin via a metal ion-dependent, oxidative mechanism, as already described for members of the AA10 family. Using P. larvae mutants lacking PlCBP49 expression, we analyzed in vivo biological functions of PlCBP49. In the absence of PlCBP49 expression, peritrophic matrix degradation was markedly reduced and P. larvae virulence was nearly abolished. This indicated that PlCBP49 is a key virulence factor for the species P. larvae. The identification of the functional role of PlCBP49 in AFB pathogenesis broadens our understanding of this important family of chitin-binding and -degrading proteins, especially in those bacteria that can also act as entomopathogens.

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<![CDATA[Holobiont&#8211;Holobiont Interactions: Redefining Host&#8211;Parasite Interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf8ab0ee8fa60bc3cd6 ]]> <![CDATA[Cytolethal Distending Toxins Require Components of the ER-Associated Degradation Pathway for Host Cell Entry]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da75ab0ee8fa60b96699

Intracellular acting protein exotoxins produced by bacteria and plants are important molecular determinants that drive numerous human diseases. A subset of these toxins, the cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs), are encoded by several Gram-negative pathogens and have been proposed to enhance virulence by allowing evasion of the immune system. CDTs are trafficked in a retrograde manner from the cell surface through the Golgi apparatus and into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) before ultimately reaching the host cell nucleus. However, the mechanism by which CDTs exit the ER is not known. Here we show that three central components of the host ER associated degradation (ERAD) machinery, Derlin-2 (Derl2), the E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase Hrd1, and the AAA ATPase p97, are required for intoxication by some CDTs. Complementation of Derl2-deficient cells with Derl2:Derl1 chimeras identified two previously uncharacterized functional domains in Derl2, the N-terminal 88 amino acids and the second ER-luminal loop, as required for intoxication by the CDT encoded by Haemophilus ducreyi (Hd-CDT). In contrast, two motifs required for Derlin-dependent retrotranslocation of ERAD substrates, a conserved WR motif and an SHP box that mediates interaction with the AAA ATPase p97, were found to be dispensable for Hd-CDT intoxication. Interestingly, this previously undescribed mechanism is shared with the plant toxin ricin. These data reveal a requirement for multiple components of the ERAD pathway for CDT intoxication and provide insight into a Derl2-dependent pathway exploited by retrograde trafficking toxins.

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<![CDATA[Vertical Transmission Selects for Reduced Virulence in a Plant Virus and for Increased Resistance in the Host]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da31ab0ee8fa60b849fc

For the last three decades, evolutionary biologists have sought to understand which factors modulate the evolution of parasite virulence. Although theory has identified several of these modulators, their effect has seldom been analysed experimentally. We investigated the role of two such major factors—the mode of transmission, and host adaptation in response to parasite evolution—in the evolution of virulence of the plant virus Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in its natural host Arabidopsis thaliana. To do so, we serially passaged three CMV strains under strict vertical and strict horizontal transmission, alternating both modes of transmission. We quantified seed (vertical) transmission rate, virus accumulation, effect on plant growth and virulence of evolved and non-evolved viruses in the original plants and in plants derived after five passages of vertical transmission. Our results indicated that vertical passaging led to adaptation of the virus to greater vertical transmission, which was associated with reductions of virus accumulation and virulence. On the other hand, horizontal serial passages did not significantly modify virus accumulation and virulence. The observed increases in CMV seed transmission, and reductions in virus accumulation and virulence in vertically passaged viruses were due also to reciprocal host adaptation during vertical passages, which additionally reduced virulence and multiplication of vertically passaged viruses. This result is consistent with plant-virus co-evolution. Host adaptation to vertically passaged viruses was traded-off against reduced resistance to the non-evolved viruses. Thus, we provide evidence of the key role that the interplay between mode of transmission and host-parasite co-evolution has in determining the evolution of virulence.

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<![CDATA[An Immunity-Triggering Effector from the Barley Smut Fungus Ustilago hordei Resides in an Ustilaginaceae-Specific Cluster Bearing Signs of Transposable Element-Assisted Evolution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa7ab0ee8fa60ba8115

The basidiomycete smut fungus Ustilago hordei was previously shown to comprise isolates that are avirulent on various barley host cultivars. Through genetic crosses we had revealed that a dominant avirulence locus UhAvr1 which triggers immunity in barley cultivar Hannchen harboring resistance gene Ruh1, resided within an 80-kb region. DNA sequence analysis of this genetically delimited region uncovered the presence of 7 candidate secreted effector proteins. Sequence comparison of their coding sequences among virulent and avirulent parental and field isolates could not distinguish UhAvr1 candidates. Systematic deletion and complementation analyses revealed that UhAvr1 is UHOR_10022 which codes for a small effector protein of 171 amino acids with a predicted 19 amino acid signal peptide. Virulence in the parental isolate is caused by the insertion of a fragment of 5.5 kb with similarity to a common U. hordei transposable element (TE), interrupting the promoter of UhAvr1 and thereby changing expression and hence recognition of UhAVR1p. This rearrangement is likely caused by activities of TEs and variation is seen among isolates. Using GFP-chimeric constructs we show that UhAvr1 is induced only in mated dikaryotic hyphae upon sensing and infecting barley coleoptile cells. When infecting Hannchen, UhAVR1p causes local callose deposition and the production of reactive oxygen species and necrosis indicative of the immune response. UhAvr1 does not contribute significantly to overall virulence. UhAvr1 is located in a cluster of ten effectors with several paralogs and over 50% of TEs. This cluster is syntenous with clusters in closely-related U. maydis and Sporisorium reilianum. In these corn-infecting species, these clusters harbor however more and further diversified homologous effector families but very few TEs. This increased variability may have resulted from past selection pressure by resistance genes since U. maydis is not known to trigger immunity in its corn host.

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<![CDATA[Leishmania amazonensis Amastigotes Highly Express a Tryparedoxin Peroxidase Isoform That Increases Parasite Resistance to Macrophage Antimicrobial Defenses and Fosters Parasite Virulence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9dab0ee8fa60ba44ca

Professional phagocytes generate a myriad of antimicrobial molecules to kill invading microorganisms, of which nitrogen oxides are integral in controlling the obligate intracellular pathogen Leishmania. Although reactive nitrogen species produced by the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) can promote the clearance of intracellular parasites, some Leishmania species/stages are relatively resistant to iNOS-mediated antimicrobial activity. The underlying mechanism for this resistance remains largely uncharacterized. Here, we show that the amastigote form of L. amazonensis is hyper-resistant to the antimicrobial actions of cytokine-activated murine and human macrophages as compared to its promastigote counterpart. Amastigotes exhibit a marked ability to directly counter the cytotoxicity of peroxynitrite (ONOO), a leishmanicidal oxidant that is generated during infection through the combined enzymatic activities of NADPH oxidase and iNOS. The enhanced antinitrosative defense of amastigotes correlates with the increased expression of a tryparedoxin peroxidase (TXNPx) isoform that is also upregulated in response to iNOS enzymatic activity within infected macrophages. Accordingly, ectopic over-expression of the TXNPx isoform by L. amazonensis promastigotes significantly enhances parasite resistance against ONOO cytotoxicity. Moreover, TXNPx-overexpressing parasites exhibit greater intra-macrophage survival, and increased parasite growth and lesion development in a murine model of leishmaniasis. Our investigations indicate that TXNPx isoforms contribute to Leishmania's ability to adapt to and antagonize the hostile microenvironment of cytokine-activated macrophages, and provide a mechanistic explanation for persistent infection in experimental and human leishmaniasis.

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<![CDATA[A Repetitive DNA Element Regulates Expression of the Helicobacter pylori Sialic Acid Binding Adhesin by a Rheostat-like Mechanism]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadeab0ee8fa60bbb100

During persistent infection, optimal expression of bacterial factors is required to match the ever-changing host environment. The gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori has a large set of simple sequence repeats (SSR), which constitute contingency loci. Through a slipped strand mispairing mechanism, the SSRs generate heterogeneous populations that facilitate adaptation. Here, we present a model that explains, in molecular terms, how an intergenically located T-tract, via slipped strand mispairing, operates with a rheostat-like function, to fine-tune activity of the promoter that drives expression of the sialic acid binding adhesin, SabA. Using T-tract variants, in an isogenic strain background, we show that the length of the T-tract generates multiphasic output from the sabA promoter. Consequently, this alters the H. pylori binding to sialyl-Lewis x receptors on gastric mucosa. Fragment length analysis of post-infection isolated clones shows that the T-tract length is a highly variable feature in H. pylori. This mirrors the host-pathogen interplay, where the bacterium generates a set of clones from which the best-fit phenotypes are selected in the host. In silico and functional in vitro analyzes revealed that the length of the T-tract affects the local DNA structure and thereby binding of the RNA polymerase, through shifting of the axial alignment between the core promoter and UP-like elements. We identified additional genes in H. pylori, with T- or A-tracts positioned similar to that of sabA, and show that variations in the tract length likewise acted as rheostats to modulate cognate promoter output. Thus, we propose that this generally applicable mechanism, mediated by promoter-proximal SSRs, provides an alternative mechanism for transcriptional regulation in bacteria, such as H. pylori, which possesses a limited repertoire of classical trans-acting regulatory factors.

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<![CDATA[Innate Immune Responses and Rapid Control of Inflammation in African Green Monkeys Treated or Not with Interferon-Alpha during Primary SIVagm Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9faab0ee8fa60b71b23

Chronic immune activation (IA) is considered as the driving force of CD4+ T cell depletion and AIDS. Fundamental clues in the mechanisms that regulate IA could lie in natural hosts of SIV, such as African green monkeys (AGMs). Here we investigated the role of innate immune cells and IFN-α in the control of IA in AGMs. AGMs displayed significant NK cell activation upon SIVagm infection, which was correlated with the levels of IFN-α. Moreover, we detected cytotoxic NK cells in lymph nodes during the early acute phase of SIVagm infection. Both plasmacytoid and myeloid dendritic cell (pDC and mDC) homing receptors were increased, but the maturation of mDCs, in particular of CD16+ mDCs, was more important than that of pDCs. Monitoring of 15 cytokines showed that those, which are known to be increased early in HIV-1/SIVmac pathogenic infections, such as IL-15, IFN-α, MCP-1 and CXCL10/IP-10, were significantly increased in AGMs as well. In contrast, cytokines generally induced in the later stage of acute pathogenic infection, such as IL-6, IL-18 and TNF-α, were less or not increased, suggesting an early control of IA. We then treated AGMs daily with high doses of IFN-α from day 9 to 24 post-infection. No impact was observed on the activation or maturation profiles of mDCs, pDCs and NK cells. There was also no major difference in T cell activation or interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression profiles and no sign of disease progression. Thus, even after administration of high levels of IFN-α during acute infection, AGMs were still able to control IA, showing that IA control is independent of IFN-α levels. This suggests that the sustained ISG expression and IA in HIV/SIVmac infections involves non-IFN-α products.

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<![CDATA[Independent Bottlenecks Characterize Colonization of Systemic Compartments and Gut Lymphoid Tissue by Salmonella]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3cab0ee8fa60bd52b9

Vaccination represents an important instrument to control typhoid fever in humans and protects mice from lethal infection with mouse pathogenic serovars of Salmonella species. Mixed infections with tagged Salmonella can be used in combination with probabilistic models to describe the dynamics of the infection process. Here we used mixed oral infections with tagged Salmonella strains to identify bottlenecks in the infection process in naïve and vaccinated mice. We established a next generation sequencing based method to characterize the composition of tagged Salmonella strains which offers a fast and reliable method to characterise the composition of genome-tagged Salmonella strains. We show that initial colonization of Salmonella was distinguished by a non-Darwinian selection of few bacteria setting up the infection independently in gut associated lymphoid tissue and systemic compartments. Colonization of Peyer's patches fuels the sustained spread of bacteria into mesenteric lymph nodes via dendritic cells. In contrast, infection of liver and spleen originated from an independent pool of bacteria. Vaccination only moderately reduced invasion of Peyer's patches but potently uncoupled bacterial populations present in different systemic compartments. Our data indicate that vaccination differentially skews the capacity of Salmonella to colonize systemic and gut immune compartments and provide a framework for the further dissection of infection dynamics.

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<![CDATA[Identifying Selection in the Within-Host Evolution of Influenza Using Viral Sequence Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da28ab0ee8fa60b8195c

The within-host evolution of influenza is a vital component of its epidemiology. A question of particular interest is the role that selection plays in shaping the viral population over the course of a single infection. We here describe a method to measure selection acting upon the influenza virus within an individual host, based upon time-resolved genome sequence data from an infection. Analysing sequence data from a transmission study conducted in pigs, describing part of the haemagglutinin gene (HA1) of an influenza virus, we find signatures of non-neutrality in six of a total of sixteen infections. We find evidence for both positive and negative selection acting upon specific alleles, while in three cases, the data suggest the presence of time-dependent selection. In one infection we observe what is potentially a specific immune response against the virus; a non-synonymous mutation in an epitope region of the virus is found to be under initially positive, then strongly negative selection. Crucially, given the lack of homologous recombination in influenza, our method accounts for linkage disequilibrium between nucleotides at different positions in the haemagglutinin gene, allowing for the analysis of populations in which multiple mutations are present at any given time. Our approach offers a new insight into the dynamics of influenza infection, providing a detailed characterisation of the forces that underlie viral evolution.

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