PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News

Subscribe to PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News feed PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News
A Peer-Reviewed Open-Access Journal
Updated: 10 hours 28 min ago

Genetic characterization of Lassa virus strains isolated from 2012 to 2016 in southeastern Nigeria

30 November 2018 - 10:00pm

by Olamide K. Oloniniyi, Uche S. Unigwe, Sayaka Okada, Mayuko Kimura, Shota Koyano, Yukiko Miyazaki, Michael O. Iroezindu, Nnenna A. Ajayi, Chinedu M. Chukwubike, Nneka M. Chika-Igwenyi, Anne C. Ndu, Damian U. Nwidi, Haruka Abe, Shuzo Urata, Yohei Kurosaki, Jiro Yasuda

Lassa virus (LASV) is endemic in parts of West Africa where it causes Lassa fever (LF), a viral hemorrhagic fever with frequent fatal outcomes. The diverse LASV strains are grouped into six major lineages based on the geographical location of the isolated strains. In this study, we have focused on the lineage II strains from southern Nigeria. We determined the viral sequences from positive cases of LF reported at tertiary hospitals in Ebonyi and Enugu between 2012 and 2016. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed that 29 out of 123 suspected cases were positive for the virus among which 11 viral gene sequences were determined. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete coding sequences of the four viral proteins revealed that lineage II strains are broadly divided into two genetic clades that diverged from a common ancestor 195 years ago. One clade, consisting of strains from Ebonyi and Enugu, was more conserved than the other from Irrua, although the four viral proteins were evolving at similar rates in both clades. These results suggested that the viruses of these clades have been distinctively evolving in geographically separate parts of southern Nigeria. Furthermore, the epidemiological data of the 2014 outbreak highlighted the role of human-to-human transmission in this outbreak, which was supported by phylogenetic analysis showing that 13 of the 16 sequences clustered together. These results provide new insights into the evolution of LASV in southern Nigeria and have important implications for vaccine development, diagnostic assay design, and LF outbreak management.

Molecular genotyping, diversity studies and high-resolution molecular markers unveiled by microsatellites in <i>Giardia duodenalis</i>

30 November 2018 - 10:00pm

by Maurício Durigan, Claudio Benício Cardoso-Silva, Maísa Ciampi-Guillardi, Guilherme Toledo-Silva, Gustavo M. Mori, Regina M. B. Franco, Anete P. Souza


Giardia duodenalis (synonyms G. lamblia and G. intestinalis) is an enteric protozoan parasite of a wide range of mammalian hosts, including humans and various domestic and wild animals. There is considerable genetic variability in G. duodenalis and isolates of this parasite have been divided into eight genetic assemblages. Microsatellites markers can be used to discriminate isolates with a high level of sensitivity. This study was conducted to identify and characterize genomic microsatellites (simple sequence repeats—SSRs), sequences of one- to six-nucleotide motifs repeated in tandem, present in the available genomes of G. duodenalis and to develop new markers that can serve as a tool for detection and for characterizing the genetic diversity of this parasite.

Methodology/ Principal findings

For each genetic assemblage, polymorphism levels for the microsatellite markers were evaluated. After performing the analysis using the MISA and SciRoKo software, 1,853 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were identified. In all the genomes, trinucleotide repeats were the most common class followed by tetranucleotide. Many of the SSR loci are assemblage-specific, and 36 SSR loci shared among all the genomes were identified. Together with hypothetical proteins, variant-specific surface proteins represented nearly half of the annotated SSR loci. The results regarding the most common repeat among the SSRs led us to infer that positive selection occurred to avoid frameshift mutations. Additionally, based on inter- and intra-genetic assemblages polymorphism analyses, we unveiled previously undetected genetic variation, indicating that the microsatellite markers we developed are useful molecular tools for epidemiological inferences based on population genetics patterns and processes.


There is increasing demand for the development of new molecular markers and for the characterization of pathogens at a higher resolution level. In this study, we present 60 G. duodenalis microsatellites markers that exhibited high polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification efficiency among the different genetic assemblages. Twenty of these markers presented nucleotide sequence polymorphisms and may be used as a genotyping tool. The monomorphic markers can be used for the detection of the parasite at the species and genetic assemblage level. These polymorphic markers revealed a genetic diversity that was previously undetectable, thus they can be considered valuable molecular tools for high resolution markers in future studies investigating Giardia and may also be used for epidemiological inferences based on populations genetics patterns and processes.

Laboratory challenges of Plasmodium species identification in Aceh Province, Indonesia, a malaria elimination setting with newly discovered <i>P</i>. <i>knowlesi</i>

30 November 2018 - 10:00pm

by Farah N. Coutrier, Yusrifar K. Tirta, Chris Cotter, Iska Zarlinda, Iveth J. González, Alanna Schwartz, Cut Maneh, Jutta Marfurt, Maxwell Murphy, Herdiana Herdiana, Nicholas M. Anstey, Bryan Greenhouse, Michelle S. Hsiang, Rintis Noviyanti

The discovery of the life-threatening zoonotic infection Plasmodium knowlesi has added to the challenges of prompt and accurate malaria diagnosis and surveillance. In this study from Aceh Province, Indonesia, a malaria elimination setting where P. knowlesi endemicity was not previously known, we report the laboratory investigation and difficulties encountered when using molecular detection methods for quality assurance of microscopically identified clinical cases. From 2014 to 2015, 20 (49%) P. falciparum, 16 (39%) P. vivax, 3 (7%) P. malariae, and 2 (5%) indeterminate species were identified by microscopy from four sentinel health facilities. At a provincial-level reference laboratory, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), a field-friendly molecular method, was performed and confirmed Plasmodium in all samples though further species-identification was limited by the unavailability of non-falciparum species-specific testing with the platform used. At a national reference laboratory, several molecular methods including nested PCR (nPCR) targeting the 18 small sub-unit (18S) ribosomal RNA, nPCR targeting the cytochrome-b (cytb) gene, a P. knowlesi-specific nPCR, and finally sequencing, were necessary to ultimately classify the samples as: 19 (46%) P. knowlesi, 8 (20%) P. falciparum, 14 (34%) P. vivax. Microscopy was unable to identify or mis-classified up to 56% of confirmed cases, including all cases of P. knowlesi. With the nPCR methods targeting the four human-only species, P. knowlesi was missed (18S rRNA method) or showed cross-reactivity for P. vivax (cytb method). To facilitate diagnosis and management of potentially fatal P. knowlesi infection and surveillance for elimination of human-only malaria in Indonesia and other affected settings, new detection methods are needed for testing at the point-of-care and in local reference laboratories.

The ectodomains of the lymphocyte scavenger receptors CD5 and CD6 interact with tegumental antigens from <i>Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato</i> and protect mice against secondary cystic echinococcosis

30 November 2018 - 10:00pm

by Gustavo Mourglia-Ettlin, Sebastián Miles, María Velasco-De-Andrés, Noelia Armiger-Borràs, Marcela Cucher, Sylvia Dematteis, Francisco Lozano


Scavenger Receptors (SRs) from the host’s innate immune system are known to bind multiple ligands to promote the removal of non-self or altered-self targets. CD5 and CD6 are two highly homologous class I SRs mainly expressed on all T cells and the B1a cell subset, and involved in the fine tuning of activation and differentiation signals delivered by the antigen-specific receptors (TCR and BCR, respectively), to which they physically associate. Additionally, CD5 and CD6 have been shown to interact with and sense the presence of conserved pathogen-associated structures from bacteria, fungi and/or viruses.

Methodology/Principal findings

We report herein the interaction of CD5 and CD6 lymphocyte surface receptors with Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.). Binding studies show that both soluble and membrane-bound forms of CD5 and CD6 bind to intact viable protoscoleces from E. granulosus s.l. through recognition of metaperiodate-resistant tegumental components. Proteomic analyses allowed identification of thioredoxin peroxidase for CD5, and peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase (cyclophilin) and endophilin B1 (antigen P-29) for CD6, as their potential interactors. Further in vitro assays demonstrate that membrane-bound or soluble CD5 and CD6 forms differentially modulate the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine release induced following peritoneal cells exposure to E. granulosus s.l. tegumental components. Importantly, prophylactic infusion of soluble CD5 or CD6 significantly ameliorated the infection outcome in the mouse model of secondary cystic echinococcosis.


Taken together, the results expand the pathogen binding properties of CD5 and CD6 and provide novel evidence for their therapeutic potential in human cystic echinococcosis.

Virulotyping of <i>Salmonella enterica</i> serovar Typhi isolates from Pakistan: Absence of complete SPI-10 in Vi negative isolates

30 November 2018 - 10:00pm

by Sadia Liaquat, Yasra Sarwar, Aamir Ali, Abdul Haque, Muhammad Farooq, Ilargi Martinez-Ballesteros, Lorena Laorden, Javier Garaizar, Joseba Bikandi

The pathogenesis of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi), the cause of typhoid fever in humans, is mainly attributed to the acquisition of horizontally acquired DNA elements. Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPIs) are indubitably the most important form of horizontally acquired DNA with respect to pathogenesis of this bacterium. The insertion or deletion of any of these transferrable SPIs may have impact on the virulence potential of S. Typhi. In this study, the virulence potential and genetic relatedness of 35 S. Typhi isolates, collected from 2004 to 2013 was determined by identification of SPI and non-SPI virulence factors through a combination of techniques including virulotyping, Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), and Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR) profiling. In order to determine the virulence potential of local S. Typhi isolates, 56 virulence related genes were studied by PCR. These genes are located in the core as well as accessory genome (SPIs and plasmid). Major variations among studied virulence determinants were found in case of SPI-7 and SPI-10 associated genes. On the basis of presence of virulence related genes, the studied S. Typhi isolates from Pakistan were clustered into two virulotypes Vi-positive and Vi-negative. Interestingly, SPI-7 and SPI-10 were collectively absent or present in Vi-negative and Vi-positive strains, respectively. Two Vi-negative and 11 Vi-positive S. Typhi strains were also analyzed by whole genome sequencing (WGS) and their results supported the PCR results. Genetic diversity was tested by VNTR-based molecular typing. All 35 isolates were clustered into five groups. Overall, all Vi-negative isolates were placed in a single group (T5) whereas Vi-positive isolates were grouped into four types. Vi-negative and Vi-positive isolates were mutually exclusive. This is the first report on the comparative distribution of SPI and non-SPI related virulence genes in Vi-negative and Vi-positive S. Typhi isolates with an important finding that SPI-10 is absent in all Vi-negative isolates.