ResearchPad - nematoda https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> CUB-like-domain containing protein RBT-1 functions as a receptor for <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> Cry6Aa toxin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14753 Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystal proteins belong to pore-forming toxins (PFTs), which display virulence against target hosts by forming holes in the cell membrane. Cry6A is a nematicidal PFT, which exhibits unique protein structure and different mode of action than Cry5B, another nematicidal PFT. However, little is known about the mode of action of Cry6A. Although an intracellular nematicidal necrosis pathway of Cry6A was reported, its extracellular mode of action remains unknown. We here demonstrate that the CUB-like-domain containing protein RBT-1 acts as a functional receptor of Cry6A, which mediates the intestinal cell interaction and nematicidal activity of this toxin. RBT-1 represents a new class of crystal protein receptors. RBT-1 is dispensable for Cry5B toxicity against nematodes, consistent with that Cry6A and Cry5B have different nematicidal mechanisms. We also find that Cry6A kills nematodes by complex mechanism since rbt-1 mutation did not affect Cry6A-mediated necrosis signaling pathway. This work not only enhances the understanding of Bt crystal protein-nematode mechanism, but is also in favor for the application of Cry6A in nematode control.

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<![CDATA[Harnessing helminth-driven immunoregulation in the search for novel therapeutic modalities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14550 Parasitic helminths have coevolved with humans over millennia, intricately refining and developing an array of mechanisms to suppress or skew the host’s immune system, thereby promoting their long-term survival. Some helminths, such as hookworms, cause little to no overt pathology when present in modest numbers and may even confer benefits to their human host. To exploit this evolutionary phenomenon, clinical trials of human helminth infection have been established and assessed for safety and efficacy for a range of immune dysfunction diseases and have yielded mixed outcomes. Studies of live helminth therapy in mice and larger animals have convincingly shown that helminths and their excretory/secretory products possess anti-inflammatory drug-like properties and represent an untapped pharmacopeia. These anti-inflammatory moieties include extracellular vesicles, proteins, glycans, post-translational modifications, and various metabolites. Although the concept of helminth-inspired therapies holds promise, it also presents a challenge to the drug development community, which is generally unfamiliar with foreign biologics that do not behave like antibodies. Identification and characterization of helminth molecules and vesicles and the molecular pathways they target in the host present a unique opportunity to develop tailored drugs inspired by nature that are efficacious, safe, and have minimal immunogenicity. Even so, much work remains to mine and assess this out-of-the-box therapeutic modality. Industry-based organizations need to consider long-haul investments aimed at unraveling and exploiting unique and differentiated mechanisms of action as opposed to toe-dipping entries with an eye on rapid and profitable turnarounds.

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<![CDATA[Integrating testing for chronic strongyloidiasis within the Indigenous adult preventive health assessment system in endemic communities in the Northern Territory, Australia: An intervention study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13848 Strongyloidiasis is a neglected tropical disease that is endemic in some Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. This study asks if the number and proportion of persons tested for chronic strongyloidiasis can be increased by incorporating a Strongyloides serology test into the existing routine Indigenous adult preventive health assessment system in remote endemic communities. This study demonstrated that integrating Strongyloides serology test within the Indigenous adult preventive health assessment system does increase the number and proportion of people tested in endemic communities. This intervention means that life-threatening clinical complications of strongyloidiasis can be prevented by early detection and treatment. Primary health care services have an important role in increased testing in this high-risk population. Primary health care clinicians incorporated chronic strongyloidiasis with other preventable chronic and infectious diseases. The sustainable population health systems-based approach successfully increased coverage by integrating testing for chronic strongyloidiasis into the adult preventive health assessment in health services in remote Indigenous Australian endemic communities, utilising the electronic health record system. The Strongyloides report developed to measure the change in clinical practice would be replicable in other health services with high risk populations.

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<![CDATA[Disruption of genes associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 lead to common behavioural, cellular and molecular defects in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5d50b5cf-e057-490e-9c44-60569e9f28d4

Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is an inherited peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy. The disease is divided into demyelinating (CMT1) and axonal (CMT2) neuropathies, and although we have gained molecular information into the details of CMT1 pathology, much less is known about CMT2. Due to its clinical and genetic heterogeneity, coupled with a lack of animal models, common underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In order to gain an understanding of the normal function of genes associated with CMT2, and to draw direct comparisons between them, we have studied the behavioural, cellular and molecular consequences of mutating nine different genes in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (lin-41/TRIM2, dyn-1/DNM2, unc-116/KIF5A, fzo-1/MFN2, osm-9/TRPV4, cua-1/ATP7A, hsp-25/HSPB1, hint-1/HINT1, nep-2/MME). We show that C. elegans defective for these genes display debilitated movement in crawling and swimming assays. Severe morphological defects in cholinergic motors neurons are also evident in two of the mutants (dyn-1 and unc-116). Furthermore, we establish methods for quantifying muscle morphology and use these to demonstrate that loss of muscle structure occurs in the majority of mutants studied. Finally, using electrophysiological recordings of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) activity, we uncover reductions in spontaneous postsynaptic current frequency in lin-41, dyn-1, unc-116 and fzo-1 mutants. By comparing the consequences of mutating numerous CMT2-related genes, this study reveals common deficits in muscle structure and function, as well as NMJ signalling when these genes are disrupted.

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<![CDATA[Ivermectin as an adjuvant to anti-epileptic treatment in persons with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy: A randomized proof-of-concept clinical trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2a703e18-6320-408f-bd4d-1f677396d877

Introduction

Recent findings from onchocerciasis-endemic foci uphold that increasing ivermectin coverage reduces the epilepsy incidence, and anecdotal evidence suggests seizure frequency reduction in persons with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy, when treated with ivermectin. We conducted a randomized clinical trial to assess whether ivermectin treatment decreases seizure frequency.

Methods

A proof-of-concept randomized clinical trial was conducted in the Logo health zone in the Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo, to compare seizure frequencies in onchocerciasis-infected persons with epilepsy (PWE) randomized to one of two treatment arms: the anti-epileptic drug phenobarbital supplemented with ivermectin, versus phenobarbital alone. The primary endpoint was defined as the probability of being seizure-free at month 4. A secondary endpoint was defined as >50% reduction in seizure frequency at month 4, compared to baseline. Both endpoints were analyzed using multiple logistic regression. In longitudinal analysis, the probability of seizure freedom during the follow-up period was assessed for both treatment arms by fitting a logistic regression model using generalized estimating equations (GEE).

Results

Ninety PWE enrolled between October and November 2017 were eligible for analysis. A multiple logistic regression analysis showed a borderline association between ivermectin treatment and being seizure-free at month 4 (OR: 1.652, 95% CI 0.975–2.799; p = 0.062). There was no significant difference in the probability of experiencing >50% reduction of the seizure frequency at month 4 between the two treatment arms. Also, treatment with ivermectin did not significantly increase the odds of being seizure-free during the individual follow-up visits.

Conclusion

Whether ivermectin has an added value in reducing the frequency of seizures in PWE treated with AED remains to be determined. A larger study in persons with OAE on a stable AED regimen and in persons with recent epilepsy onset should be considered to further investigate the potential beneficial effect of ivermectin treatment in persons with OAE.

Trial registration

Registration: www.clinicaltrials.gov; NCT03052998.

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<![CDATA[A DNA repair protein and histone methyltransferase interact to promote genome stability in the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79a3e8d5eed0c4841d1c27

Histone modifications regulate gene expression and chromosomal events, yet how histone-modifying enzymes are targeted is poorly understood. Here we report that a conserved DNA repair protein, SMRC-1, associates with MET-2, the C. elegans histone methyltransferase responsible for H3K9me1 and me2 deposition. We used molecular, genetic, and biochemical methods to investigate the biological role of SMRC-1 and to explore its relationship with MET-2. SMRC-1, like its mammalian ortholog SMARCAL1, provides protection from DNA replication stress. SMRC-1 limits accumulation of DNA damage and promotes germline and embryonic viability. MET-2 and SMRC-1 localize to mitotic and meiotic germline nuclei, and SMRC-1 promotes an increase in MET-2 abundance in mitotic germline nuclei upon replication stress. In the absence of SMRC-1, germline H3K9me2 generally decreases after multiple generations at high culture temperature. Genetic data are consistent with MET-2 and SMRC-1 functioning together to limit replication stress in the germ line and in parallel to promote other germline processes. We hypothesize that loss of SMRC-1 activity causes chronic replication stress, in part because of insufficient recruitment of MET-2 to nuclei.

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<![CDATA[Global transcriptional regulation of innate immunity by ATF-7 in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784faad5eed0c4840072b2

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as a genetically tractable animal host in which to study evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of innate immune signaling. We previously showed that the PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway regulates innate immunity of C. elegans through phosphorylation of the CREB/ATF bZIP transcription factor, ATF-7. Here, we have undertaken a genomic analysis of the transcriptional response of C. elegans to infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, combining genome-wide expression analysis by RNA-seq with ATF-7 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq). We observe that PMK-1-ATF-7 activity regulates a majority of all genes induced by pathogen infection, and observe ATF-7 occupancy in regulatory regions of pathogen-induced genes in a PMK-1-dependent manner. Moreover, functional analysis of a subset of these ATF-7-regulated pathogen-induced target genes supports a direct role for this transcriptional response in host defense. The genome-wide regulation through PMK-1– ATF-7 signaling reveals a striking level of control over the innate immune response to infection through a single transcriptional regulator.

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<![CDATA[Comparing the performance of urine and copro-antigen detection in evaluating Opisthorchis viverrini infection in communities with different transmission levels in Northeast Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730b3d5eed0c484f37f31

To combat and eventually eliminate the transmission of the liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini, an accurate and practical diagnostic test is required. A recently established urine antigen detection test using monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (mAb-ELISA) has shown promise due to its high diagnostic accuracy and the use of urine in place of fecal samples. To further test the utility of this urine assay, we performed a cross sectional study of 1,043 people in 3 opisthorchiasis endemic communities in northeast Thailand by applying urine antigen detection together with copro-antigen detection methods. The quantitative formalin-ethyl acetate concentration technique (FECT) was concurrently performed as a reference method. The prevalence of O. viverrini determined by urine antigen detection correlated well with that by copro-antigen detection and both methods showed 10–15% higher prevalence than FECT. Within the fecal negative cases by FECT, 29% and 43% were positive by urine and copro-antigen detection, respectively. The prevalence and intensity profiles determined by antigen detection and FECT showed similar patterns of increasing trends of infection with age. The concentration of antigen measured in urine showed a positive relationship with the concentration of copro-antigen, both of which were positively correlated with fecal egg counts. The data observed in this study indicate that urine antigen detection had high diagnostic accuracy and was in concordance with copro-antigen detection. Due to the ease and noninvasiveness of sample collection, the urine assay has high potential for clinical diagnosis as well as population screening in the program for the control and elimination of opisthorchiasis.

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<![CDATA[Integrated seroprevalence-based assessment of Wuchereria bancrofti and Onchocerca volvulus in two lymphatic filariasis evaluation units of Mali with the SD Bioline Onchocerciasis/LF IgG4 Rapid Test]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52c4d5eed0c4842bcfb9

Background

Mali has become increasingly interested in the evaluation of transmission of both Wuchereria bancrofti and Onchocerca volvulus as prevalences of both infections move toward their respective elimination targets. The SD Bioline Onchocerciasis/LF IgG4 Rapid Test was used in 2 evaluation units (EU) to assess its performance as an integrated surveillance tool for elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and onchocerciasis.

Methodology/Principal findings

A cross sectional survey with SD Bioline Onchocerciasis/LF IgG4 Rapid Test was piggy-backed onto a transmission assessment survey (TAS) (using the immunochromatographic card test (ICT) Binax Filariasis Now test for filarial adult circulating antigen (CFA) detection) for LF in Mali among 6–7 year old children in 2016 as part of the TAS in two EUs namely Kadiolo-Kolondieba in the region of Sikasso and Bafoulabe -Kita-Oussoubidiagna-Yelimane in the region of Kayes.

In the EU of Kadiolo- Kolondieba, of the 1,625 children tested, the overall prevalence of W. bancrofti CFA was 0.62% (10/1,625) [CI = 0.31–1.09]; while that of IgG4 to Wb123 was 0.19% (3/1,600) [CI = 0.04–0.50]. The number of positives tested with the two tests were statistically comparable (p = 0.09). In the EU of Bafoulabe-Kita-Oussoubidiagna-Yelimane, an overall prevalence of W. bancrofti CFA was 0% (0/1,700) and that of Wb123 IgG4 antibody was 0.06% (1/1,700), with no statistically significant difference between the two rates (p = 0.99).

In the EU of Kadiolo- Kolondieba, the prevalence of Ov16-specific IgG4 was 0.19% (3/1,600) [CI = 0.04–0.50]. All 3 positives were in the previously O. volvulus-hyperendemic district of Kolondieba. In the EU of Bafoulabe-Kita-Oussoubidiagna-Yelimane, an overall prevalence of Ov16-specific IgG4 was 0.18% (3/1,700) [CI = 0.04–0.47]. These 3 Ov16 IgG4 positives were from previously O.volvulus-mesoendemic district of Kita.

Conclusions/Significance

The SD Bioline Onchocerciasis/LF IgG4 Rapid test appears to be a good tool for integrated exposure measures of LF and onchocerciasis in co-endemic areas.

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<![CDATA[GluClR-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents reveal targets for ivermectin and potential mechanisms of ivermectin resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fee7d5eed0c484135792

Glutamate-gated chloride channel receptors (GluClRs) mediate inhibitory neurotransmission at invertebrate synapses and are primary targets of parasites that impact drastically on agriculture and human health. Ivermectin (IVM) is a broad-spectrum pesticide that binds and potentiates GluClR activity. Resistance to IVM is a major economic and health concern, but the molecular and synaptic mechanisms of resistance are ill-defined. Here we focus on GluClRs of the agricultural endoparasite, Haemonchus contortus. We demonstrate that IVM potentiates inhibitory input by inducing a tonic current that plateaus over 15 minutes and by enhancing post-synaptic current peak amplitude and decay times. We further demonstrate that IVM greatly enhances the active durations of single receptors. These effects are greatly attenuated when endogenous IVM-insensitive subunits are incorporated into GluClRs, suggesting a mechanism of IVM resistance that does not affect glutamate sensitivity. We discovered functional groups of IVM that contribute to tuning its potency at different isoforms and show that the dominant mode of access of IVM is via the cell membrane to the receptor.

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<![CDATA[Heme peroxidase HPX-2 protects Caenorhabditis elegans from pathogens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fefdd5eed0c484135895

Heme-containing peroxidases are important components of innate immunity. Many of them functionally associate with NADPH oxidase (NOX)/dual oxidase (DUOX) enzymes by using the hydrogen peroxide they generate in downstream reactions. Caenorhabditis elegans encodes for several heme peroxidases, and in a previous study we identified the ShkT-containing peroxidase, SKPO-1, as necessary for pathogen resistance. Here, we demonstrated that another peroxidase, HPX-2 (Heme-PeroXidase 2), is required for resistance against some, but not all pathogens. Tissue specific RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that HPX-2 functionally localizes to the hypodermis of the worm. In congruence with this observation, hpx-2 mutant animals possessed a weaker cuticle structure, indicated by higher permeability to a DNA dye, but exhibited no obvious morphological defects. In addition, fluorescent labeling of HPX-2 revealed its expression in the pharynx, an organ in which BLI-3 is also present. Interestingly, loss of HPX-2 increased intestinal colonization of E. faecalis, suggesting its role in the pharynx may limit intestinal colonization. Moreover, disruption of a catalytic residue in the peroxidase domain of HPX-2 resulted in decreased survival on E. faecalis, indicating its peroxidase activity is required for pathogen resistance. Finally, RNA-seq analysis of an hpx-2 mutant revealed changes in genes encoding for cuticle structural components under the non-pathogenic conditions. Under pathogenic conditions, genes involved in infection response were differentially regulated to a greater degree, likely due to increased microbial burden. In conclusion, the characterization of the heme-peroxidase, HPX-2, revealed that it contributes to C. elegans pathogen resistance through a role in generating cuticle material in the hypodermis and pharynx.

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<![CDATA[Development of a preliminary in vitro drug screening assay based on a newly established culturing system for pre-adult fifth-stage Onchocerca volvulus worms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c4a305ed5eed0c4844bfe74

Background

The human filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus is the causative agent of onchocerciasis (river blindness). It causes blindness in 270,000 individuals with an additional 6.5 million suffering from severe skin pathologies. Current international control programs focus on the reduction of microfilaridermia by annually administering ivermectin for more than 20 years with the ultimate goal of blocking of transmission. The adult worms of O. volvulus can live within nodules for over 15 years and actively release microfilariae for the majority of their lifespan. Therefore, protracted treatment courses of ivermectin are required to block transmission and eventually eliminate the disease. To shorten the time to elimination of this disease, drugs that successfully target macrofilariae (adult parasites) are needed. Unfortunately, there is no small animal model for the infection that could be used for discovery and screening of drugs against adult O. volvulus parasites. Here, we present an in vitro culturing system that supports the growth and development of O. volvulus young adult worms from the third-stage (L3) infective stage.

Methodology/Principal findings

In this study we optimized the culturing system by testing several monolayer cell lines to support worm growth and development. We have shown that the optimized culturing system allows for the growth of the L3 worms to L5 and that the L5 mature into young adult worms. Moreover, these young O. volvulus worms were used in preliminary assays to test putative macrofilaricidal drugs and FDA-approved repurposed drugs.

Conclusion

The culture system we have established for O. volvulus young adult worms offers a promising new platform to advance drug discovery against the human filarial parasite, O. volvulus and thus supports the continuous pursuit for effective macrofilaricidal drugs. However, this in vitro culturing system will have to be further validated for reproducibility before it can be rolled out as a drug screen for decision making in macrofilaricide drug development programs.

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<![CDATA[Serotonin and neuropeptides are both released by the HSN command neuron to initiate Caenorhabditis elegans egg laying]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536ad5d5eed0c484a479f2

Neurons typically release both a small-molecule neurotransmitter and one or more neuropeptides, but how these two types of signal from the same neuron might act together remains largely obscure. For example, serotonergic neurons in mammalian brain express the neuropeptide Substance P, but it is unclear how this co-released neuropeptide might modulate serotonin signaling. We studied this issue in C. elegans, in which all serotonergic neurons express the neuropeptide NLP-3. The serotonergic Hermaphrodite Specific Neurons (HSNs) are command motor neurons within the egg-laying circuit which have been shown to release serotonin to initiate egg-laying behavior. We found that egg-laying defects in animals lacking serotonin were far milder than in animals lacking HSNs, suggesting that HSNs must release other signal(s) in addition to serotonin to stimulate egg laying. While null mutants for nlp-3 had only mild egg-laying defects, animals lacking both serotonin and NLP-3 had severe defects, similar to those of animals lacking HSNs. Optogenetic activation of HSNs induced egg laying in wild-type animals, and in mutant animals lacking either serotonin or NLP-3, but failed to induce egg laying in animals lacking both. We recorded calcium activity in the egg-laying muscles of animals lacking either serotonin, NLP-3, or both. The single mutants, and to a greater extent the double mutant, showed muscle activity that was uncoordinated and unable to expel eggs. Specifically, the vm2 muscles cells, which are direct postsynaptic targets of the HSN, failed to contract simultaneously with other egg-laying muscle cells. Our results show that the HSN neurons use serotonin and the neuropeptide NLP-3 as partially redundant co-transmitters that together stimulate and coordinate activity of the target cells onto which they are released.

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<![CDATA[Redescription of Corydoras undulatus Regan, 1912 (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae), with comments on the identity of Corydoras latus Pearson, 1924]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d620d5eed0c4840316aa

A redescription of Corydoras undulatus Regan, 1912 is presented. The original description of C. undulatus is very succinct, as is its diagnosis, which is based only on external morphology. Additional information in the scientific literature on this species is scarce. Specimens from the distribution area of this species were analyzed; Paraná and Paraguay river basins in Argentina, Uruguay river basin in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and the Laguna dos Patos system in Brazil. Morphological analysis, principal component analysis (PCA), meristic comparison and osteological description were performed. Corydoras undulatus can be distinguished from its congeners mainly by having the following combination of characters: mesethmoid short, with anterior tip short, smaller than 50% of the entire bone length; posterior margin of the pectoral-fin spine with nearly all serrations directed towards origin of spine; pectoral-fin spine with conical serrations; and its peculiar color pattern. The analysis of the material from the different basins did not indicate relevant morphological differences, suggesting that the species presents a wide distribution in La Plata and Laguna dos Patos drainages. The shared geographic distribution between these two systems is also present in other fish species. The current work presents data about the type locality, taxonomy, osteology, distribution and ontogenetic variation of color pattern in C. undulatus. Comments on the identity of a very similar congener, Corydoras latus, will also be provided.

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<![CDATA[Epidemiology of Strongyloides stercoralis infection in Bolivian patients at high risk of complications]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c4a305ad5eed0c4844bfdec

Background

Strongyloidiasis can be fatal in immunocompromised patients, but few epidemiological studies investigated the burden of this neglected tropical disease among these populations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries such as Bolivia. This study aimed to fill in this gap by estimating prevalence rate and risk factors associated with strongyloidiasis among patients at high risk of complications

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out in Santa Cruz (elevation 400 meters, tropical climate) and Cochabamba (elevation 2,500 meters, temperate climate), among patients with cancer, HIV infection and rheumatic or hematologic disease, using four coproparasitological techniques and one serological (ELISA) test.

Results

In total, 1,151 patients participated in this study, including individuals who were HIV-positive (30%) or with rheumatic (29%), oncologic (32%) or hematologic (9%) diseases. The serological and coproparasitological prevalence was 23.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20.7–25.5; n = 265/1151) and 7.6% (95% CI, 6.2–9.3; n = 88/1151), respectively, with an estimated actual prevalence of 20.2% (95% CI, 17.9–22.5). Positive serology and positive coproparasitology were associated with younger age and lower education levels. There was no significant difference in prevalence between Cochabamba and Santa Cruz as defined by coproparasitology (6.4% vs. 8.9%; p = 0.11) or serology (24.0% vs. 22.0%; p = 0.4). Among 64 patients in Cochabamba who had never travelled to the tropical lowlands, 5 (7.8%) had a positive coproparasitology.

Conclusions

Strongyloidiasis is widely prevalent in Bolivia among vulnerable patients at increased risk of life-threatening complications. Transmission of the parasite occurs both in tropical lowlands and temperate elevation (≥ 2,500 m). Control strategies to prevent transmission and complications of this serious parasitic disease should be urgently reinforced.

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<![CDATA[The nuclear hormone receptor NHR-86 controls anti-pathogen responses in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c466d5eed0c4845e86e5

Nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) are ligand-gated transcription factors that control adaptive host responses following recognition of specific endogenous or exogenous ligands. Although NHRs have expanded dramatically in C. elegans compared to other metazoans, the biological function of only a few of these genes has been characterized in detail. Here, we demonstrate that an NHR can activate an anti-pathogen transcriptional program. Using genetic epistasis experiments, transcriptome profiling analyses and chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing, we show that, in the presence of an immunostimulatory small molecule, NHR-86 binds to the promoters of immune effectors to activate their transcription. NHR-86 is not required for resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa at baseline, but activation of NHR-86 by this compound drives a transcriptional program that provides protection against this pathogen. Interestingly, NHR-86 targets immune effectors whose basal regulation requires the canonical p38 MAPK PMK-1 immune pathway. However, NHR-86 functions independently of PMK-1 and modulates the transcription of these infection response genes directly. These findings characterize a new transcriptional regulator in C. elegans that can induce a protective host response towards a bacterial pathogen.

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<![CDATA[Epicatechin modulates stress-resistance in C. elegans via insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d64cd5eed0c484031b1e

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been used to examine the influence of epicatechin (EC), an abundant flavonoid in the human diet, in some stress biomarkers (ROS production, lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation). Furthermore, the ability of EC to modulate the expression of some key genes in the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway (IIS), involved in longevity and oxidative or heat shock stress response, has also been explored. The final aim was to contribute to the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in the biological effects of flavonoids. The results showed that EC-treated wild-type C. elegans exhibited increased survival and reduced oxidative damage of biomolecules when submitted to thermal stress. EC treatment led to a moderate elevation in ROS levels, which might activate endogenous mechanisms of defense protecting against oxidative insult. The enhanced stress resistance induced by EC was found to be mediated through the IIS pathway, since assays in daf-2, age-1, akt-1, akt-2, sgk-1, daf-16, skn-1 and hsf-1 loss of function mutant strains failed to show any heat-resistant phenotype against thermal stress when treated with EC. Consistently, EC treatment upregulated the expression of some stress resistance associated genes, such as gst-4, hsp-16.2 and hsp-70, which are downstream regulated by the IIS pathway.

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<![CDATA[An analog of glibenclamide selectively enhances autophagic degradation of misfolded α1-antitrypsin Z]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521814d5eed0c48479726d

The classical form of α1-antitrypsin deficiency (ATD) is characterized by intracellular accumulation of the misfolded variant α1-antitrypsin Z (ATZ) and severe liver disease in some of the affected individuals. In this study, we investigated the possibility of discovering novel therapeutic agents that would reduce ATZ accumulation by interrogating a C. elegans model of ATD with high-content genome-wide RNAi screening and computational systems pharmacology strategies. The RNAi screening was utilized to identify genes that modify the intracellular accumulation of ATZ and a novel computational pipeline was developed to make high confidence predictions on repurposable drugs. This approach identified glibenclamide (GLB), a sulfonylurea drug that has been used broadly in clinical medicine as an oral hypoglycemic agent. Here we show that GLB promotes autophagic degradation of misfolded ATZ in mammalian cell line models of ATD. Furthermore, an analog of GLB reduces hepatic ATZ accumulation and hepatic fibrosis in a mouse model in vivo without affecting blood glucose or insulin levels. These results provide support for a drug discovery strategy using simple organisms as human disease models combined with genetic and computational screening methods. They also show that GLB and/or at least one of its analogs can be immediately tested to arrest the progression of human ATD liver disease.

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<![CDATA[Diapause induces functional axonal regeneration after necrotic insult in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46652ed5eed0c484517d84

Many neurons are unable to regenerate after damage. The ability to regenerate after an insult depends on life stage, neuronal subtype, intrinsic and extrinsic factors. C. elegans is a powerful model to test the genetic and environmental factors that affect axonal regeneration after damage, since its axons can regenerate after neuronal insult. Here we demonstrate that diapause promotes the complete morphological regeneration of truncated touch receptor neuron (TRN) axons expressing a neurotoxic MEC-4(d) DEG/ENaC channel. Truncated axons of different lengths were repaired during diapause and we observed potent axonal regrowth from somas alone. Complete morphological regeneration depends on DLK-1 but neuronal sprouting and outgrowth is DLK-1 independent. We show that TRN regeneration is fully functional since animals regain their ability to respond to mechanical stimulation. Thus, diapause induced regeneration provides a simple model of complete axonal regeneration which will greatly facilitate the study of environmental and genetic factors affecting the rate at which neurons die.

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<![CDATA[Using the drug-protein interactome to identify anti-ageing compounds for humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5f7d5eed0c484caa9c2

Advancing age is the dominant risk factor for most of the major killer diseases in developed countries. Hence, ameliorating the effects of ageing may prevent multiple diseases simultaneously. Drugs licensed for human use against specific diseases have proved to be effective in extending lifespan and healthspan in animal models, suggesting that there is scope for drug repurposing in humans. New bioinformatic methods to identify and prioritise potential anti-ageing compounds for humans are therefore of interest. In this study, we first used drug-protein interaction information, to rank 1,147 drugs by their likelihood of targeting ageing-related gene products in humans. Among 19 statistically significant drugs, 6 have already been shown to have pro-longevity properties in animal models (p < 0.001). Using the targets of each drug, we established their association with ageing at multiple levels of biological action including pathways, functions and protein interactions. Finally, combining all the data, we calculated a ranked list of drugs that identified tanespimycin, an inhibitor of HSP-90, as the top-ranked novel anti-ageing candidate. We experimentally validated the pro-longevity effect of tanespimycin through its HSP-90 target in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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