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
Assessment of the Impact of the Recombinant Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Horsens Strain on the Reproductive Performance in Pregnant Sows
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 772; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090772 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study assessed the impact of a PRRSV (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus) recombinant strain (Horsens strain) on the reproductive performance of naïve pregnant sows in the last third of gestation. Fifteen sows were included: four negative reproductive controls (NTX), five infected [...] Read more.
This study assessed the impact of a PRRSV (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus) recombinant strain (Horsens strain) on the reproductive performance of naïve pregnant sows in the last third of gestation. Fifteen sows were included: four negative reproductive controls (NTX), five infected with a PRRSV-1 field strain (Olot/91, T01), and six infected with the recombinant PRRSV-1 strain (Horsens strain, T02). Piglets were monitored until weaning. Reproductive performance was the primary variable. In sows, viremia and nasal shedding (T01 and T02 groups), and, in piglets, viral load in blood and in lungs, as well as macroscopic lung lesions (T01 and T02 groups), were the secondary variables. The reproductive performance results were numerically different between the two challenged groups. Moreover, viral loads in blood were 1.83 × 106 ± 9.05 × 106 copies/mL at farrowing, 1.05 × 107 ± 2.21 × 107 copies/mL at weaning from piglets born from T01 animals and 1.64 × 103 ± 7.62 × 103 copies/mL at farrowing, 1.95 × 103 ± 1.17 × 104 copies/mL at weaning from piglets born from T02 sows. Overall, 68.8% of T01 piglets and 38.1% of T02 piglets presented mild lung lesions. In conclusion, the results suggest that Horsens strain is less virulent than the field strain Olot/91 under these experimental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
Article
Statin Use Is Associated with Decreased Risk of Invasive Mechanical Ventilation in COVID-19 Patients: A Preliminary Study
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 759; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090759 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 27
Abstract
COVID-19 disproportionately affects patients with medical comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Patients with CVD are widely prescribed 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutayl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins), a class of lipid-lowering medications known for their pleiotropic anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. However, the relationship between statin use and [...] Read more.
COVID-19 disproportionately affects patients with medical comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease (CVD). Patients with CVD are widely prescribed 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutayl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins), a class of lipid-lowering medications known for their pleiotropic anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. However, the relationship between statin use and COVID-19 outcomes is not fully understood. In this preliminary study, we explored the association between statin use and severe COVID-19 outcomes in hospitalized patients, including intensive care unit (ICU) admission, the need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), and in-hospital death. We performed a retrospective cohort study of 249 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 from 3 March 2020 to 10 April 2020 in Rhode Island, USA. Patient demographics, past medical history, current medications, and hospital course were recorded and analyzed. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine associations. After adjusting for age, sex, race, cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, and obesity, statin use was significantly associated with decreased risk for IMV (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 0.45, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.20–0.99). Our results support the continued use of statins among COVID-19 patients and could have implications for future prospective studies on the management of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
Article
Role of TRP Channels in Shaping the Gut Microbiome
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 753; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090753 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Transient receptor potential (TRP) channel family proteins are sensors for pain, which sense a variety of thermal and noxious chemicals. Sensory neurons innervating the gut abundantly express TRPA1 and TRPV1 channels and are in close proximity of gut microbes. Emerging evidence indicates a [...] Read more.
Transient receptor potential (TRP) channel family proteins are sensors for pain, which sense a variety of thermal and noxious chemicals. Sensory neurons innervating the gut abundantly express TRPA1 and TRPV1 channels and are in close proximity of gut microbes. Emerging evidence indicates a bi-directional gut–brain cross-talk in several entero-neuronal pathologies; however, the direct evidence of TRP channels interacting with gut microbial populations is lacking. Herein, we examine whether and how the knockout (KO) of TRPA1 and TRPV1 channels individually or combined TRPA1/V1 double-knockout (dKO) impacts the gut microbiome in mice. We detect distinct microbiome clusters among the three KO mouse models versus wild-type (WT) mice. All three TRP-KO models have reduced microbial diversity, harbor higher abundance of Bacteroidetes, and a reduced proportion of Firmicutes. Specifically distinct arrays in the KO models are determined mainly by S24-7, Bacteroidaceae, Clostridiales, Prevotellaceae, Helicobacteriaceae, Rikenellaceae, and Ruminococcaceae. A1KO mice have lower Prevotella, Desulfovibrio, Bacteroides, Helicobacter and higher Rikenellaceae and Tenericutes; V1KO mice demonstrate higher Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcus, Desulfovibrio and Mucispirillum; and A1V1dKO mice exhibit higher Bacteroidetes, Bacteroides and S24-7 and lower Firmicutes, Ruminococcaceae, Oscillospira, Lactobacillus and Sutterella abundance. Furthermore, the abundance of taxa involved in biosynthesis of lipids and primary and secondary bile acids is higher while that of fatty acid biosynthesis-associated taxa is lower in all KO groups. To our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating distinct gut microbiome signatures in TRPA1, V1 and dKO models and should facilitate prospective studies exploring novel diagnostic/ therapeutic modalities regarding the pathophysiology of TRP channel proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
Elevated Baseline Salivary Protease Activity May Predict the Steadiness of Gingival Inflammation During Periodontal Healing: A 12-Week Follow-Up Study on Adults
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 751; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090751 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Aim was to profile salivary total protease, Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipain, and neutrophil elastase activities in relation to the resolution of periodontal inflammation, salivary macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α concentrations. Nonsurgical periodontal treatment was performed in 24 periodontitis patients in a prospective [...] Read more.
Aim was to profile salivary total protease, Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipain, and neutrophil elastase activities in relation to the resolution of periodontal inflammation, salivary macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α concentrations. Nonsurgical periodontal treatment was performed in 24 periodontitis patients in a prospective interventional study design. Periodontal clinical parameters were recorded, and stimulated saliva samples were collected at baseline and 2, 6, and 12 weeks after treatment. Salivary total protease and gingipain activities were determined using fluorogenic substrates, elastase activity by chromogenic substrates, and cytokine concentrations by Luminex immunoassay. For statistical analyses, generalized linear mixed models for repeated measures were used. Salivary total protease activity elevated, while gingival inflammation and plaque accumulation decreased 2 and 6 weeks after periodontal therapy. Salivary MDC concentration was elevated 12 weeks after periodontal treatment. Patients with elevated protease activities at baseline in comparison to patients with low baseline total protease activities, had higher levels of gingival inflammation before and after periodontal treatment. In conclusion, elevations in salivary total protease activity seem to be part of periodontal healing at its early phases. Higher levels of salivary total protease activities before periodontal treatment may predict the severity and steadiness of unresolved gingival inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Immunology and Periodontitis)
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Article
Comparative Analysis of Infection by Rickettsia rickettsii Sheila Smith and Taiaçu Strains in a Murine Model
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 744; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090744 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a life-threatening tick-borne disease caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, which is widely distributed throughout the Americas. Over 4000 cases of RMSF are recorded annually in the United States, while only around 100 cases are reported in Brazil. [...] Read more.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a life-threatening tick-borne disease caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, which is widely distributed throughout the Americas. Over 4000 cases of RMSF are recorded annually in the United States, while only around 100 cases are reported in Brazil. Conversely, while case fatality rates in the United States oscillate around 5%, in Brazil they can surpass 70%, suggesting that differences in tick vectoring capacity, population sensitivity, and/or variability in virulence of the rickettsial strains may exist. In this study, we compared the susceptibility of C3H/HeN mice to two highly virulent strains of R. rickettsii, one from the United States (Sheila Smith) and the other from Brazil (Taiaçu). Animals inoculated with the Taiaçu strain succumbed to infection earlier and exhibited severe histological lesions in both liver and spleen sooner than mice infected with the Sheila Smith strain. These differences in survival and signs of the disease are not related to a greater proliferation of the Taiaçu strain, as there were no significant differences in the rickettsial load in mice tissues inoculated with either strain. The present study is the first step to experimentally assess differences in fatality rates of RMSF in two different regions of the American continent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virulence Mechanisms of Rickettsiae)
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Article
Trends of the Dengue Serotype-4 Circulation with Epidemiological, Phylogenetic, and Entomological Insights in Lao PDR between 2015 and 2019
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 728; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090728 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Dengue outbreaks have regularly been recorded in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) since the first detection of the disease in 1979. In 2012, an integrated arbovirus surveillance network was set up in Lao PDR and an entomological surveillance has been implemented since 2016 [...] Read more.
Dengue outbreaks have regularly been recorded in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) since the first detection of the disease in 1979. In 2012, an integrated arbovirus surveillance network was set up in Lao PDR and an entomological surveillance has been implemented since 2016 in Vientiane Capital. Here, we report a study combining epidemiological, phylogenetic, and entomological analyzes during the largest DENV-4 epidemic ever recorded in Lao PDR (2015–2019). Strikingly, from 2015 to 2019, we reported the DENV-4 emergence and spread at the country level after two large epidemics predominated by DENV-3 and DENV-1, respectively, in 2012–2013 and 2015. Our data revealed a significant difference in the median age of the patient infected by DENV-4 compared to the other serotypes. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated the circulation of DENV-4 Genotype I at the country level since at least 2013. The entomological surveillance showed a predominance of Aedesaegypti compared to Aedesalbopictus and high abundance of these vectors in dry and rainy seasons between 2016 and 2019, in Vientiane Capital. Overall, these results emphasized the importance of an integrated approach to evaluate factors, which could impact the circulation and the epidemiological profile of dengue viruses, especially in endemic countries like Lao PDR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Untargeted Alternative Routes of Arbovirus Transmission)
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Article
Differences in the Endophytic Microbiome of Olive Cultivars Infected by Xylella fastidiosa across Seasons
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 723; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090723 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
The dynamics of Xylella fastidiosa infections in the context of the endophytic microbiome was studied in field-grown plants of the susceptible and resistant olive cultivars Kalamata and FS17. Whole metagenome shotgun sequencing (WMSS) coupled with 16S/ITS rRNA gene sequencing was carried out on [...] Read more.
The dynamics of Xylella fastidiosa infections in the context of the endophytic microbiome was studied in field-grown plants of the susceptible and resistant olive cultivars Kalamata and FS17. Whole metagenome shotgun sequencing (WMSS) coupled with 16S/ITS rRNA gene sequencing was carried out on the same trees at two different stages of the infections: In Spring 2017 when plants were almost symptomless and in Autumn 2018 when the trees of the susceptible cultivar clearly showed desiccations. The progression of the infections detected in both cultivars clearly unraveled that Xylella tends to occupy the whole ecological niche and suppresses the diversity of the endophytic microbiome. However, this trend was mitigated in the resistant cultivar FS17, harboring lower population sizes and therefore lower Xylella average abundance ratio over total bacteria, and a higher α-diversity. Host cultivar had a negligible effect on the community composition and no clear associations of a single taxon or microbial consortia with the resistance cultivar were found with both sequencing approaches, suggesting that the mechanisms of resistance likely reside on factors that are independent of the microbiome structure. Overall, Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteriodetes dominated the bacterial microbiome while Ascomycota and Basidiomycota those of Fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endophytes in Plant Health and Disease)
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Article
In Vitro Characterization of Multidrug-Resistant Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses Carrying a Dual Neuraminidase Mutation Isolated from Immunocompromised Patients
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 725; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090725 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses carrying a dual neuraminidase (NA) substitution were isolated from immunocompromised patients after administration of one or more NA inhibitors. These mutant viruses possessed an H275Y/I223R, H275Y/I223K, or H275Y/G147R substitution in their NA and showed enhanced cross-resistance to oseltamivir and peramivir [...] Read more.
Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses carrying a dual neuraminidase (NA) substitution were isolated from immunocompromised patients after administration of one or more NA inhibitors. These mutant viruses possessed an H275Y/I223R, H275Y/I223K, or H275Y/G147R substitution in their NA and showed enhanced cross-resistance to oseltamivir and peramivir and reduced susceptibility to zanamivir compared to single H275Y mutant viruses. Baloxavir could be a treatment option against the multidrug-resistant viruses because these dual H275Y mutant viruses showed susceptibility to this drug. The G147R substitution appears to stabilize the NA structure, with the fitness of the H275Y/G147R mutant virus being similar or somewhat better than that of the wild-type virus. Since the multidrug-resistant viruses may be able to transmit between humans, surveillance of these viruses must continue to improve clinical management and to protect public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Influenza A Virus)
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Article
Comparison of Japanese Encephalitis Force of Infection in Pigs, Poultry and Dogs in Cambodian Villages
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 719; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090719 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the main cause of human viral encephalitis in Asia, with a mortality rate reaching 30%, mostly affecting children. The traditionally described cycle involving wild birds as reservoirs, pigs as amplifying hosts and Culex mosquitoes as vectors is questioned, [...] Read more.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the main cause of human viral encephalitis in Asia, with a mortality rate reaching 30%, mostly affecting children. The traditionally described cycle involving wild birds as reservoirs, pigs as amplifying hosts and Culex mosquitoes as vectors is questioned, with increasing evidence of a more complex multi-host system involved in areas where densities of pigs are low, such as in Cambodia. In 2018, we examined pigs, chickens, ducks and dogs from Kandal province, Cambodia, for antibody response against JEV by hemagglutination inhibition and virus neutralization assays. Forces of infection (FOI) for flaviviruses and JEV were estimated per species and per unit of body surface area (BSA). JEV seroprevalence reached 31% (95% CI: 23–41%) in pigs, 1% (95% CI: 0.1–3%) in chickens, 12% (95% CI: 7–19%) in ducks and 35% (95% CI: 28–42%) in dogs. Pigs were most likely to be infected (FOI: 0.09 per month), but the FOI was higher in ducks than in pigs for a given BSA (ratio of 0.13). Dogs had a lower FOI than ducks but a higher FOI than chickens (0.01 per month). For a given BSA, dogs were less likely to be infected than pigs (ratio of 1.9). In Cambodia, the virus may be circulating between multiple hosts. Dogs live in close contact with humans, and estimating their exposure to JEV infection could be a relevant indicator of the risk for humans to get infected, which is poorly known due to underdiagnosis. Understanding the JEV cycle and developing tools to quantify the exposure of humans is essential to adapt and support control measures for this vaccine-preventable disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Japanese Encephalitis and Rift Valley Fever)
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Article
Atypical Non-H2S-Producing Monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium ST3478 Strains from Chicken Meat at Processing Stage Are Adapted to Diverse Stresses
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 701; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090701 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Poultry products are still an important cause of Salmonella infections worldwide, with an increasingly reported expansion of less-frequent serotypes or atypical strains that are frequently multidrug-resistant. Nevertheless, the ability of Salmonella to survive antimicrobials promoted in the context of antibiotic reducing/replacing and farming [...] Read more.
Poultry products are still an important cause of Salmonella infections worldwide, with an increasingly reported expansion of less-frequent serotypes or atypical strains that are frequently multidrug-resistant. Nevertheless, the ability of Salmonella to survive antimicrobials promoted in the context of antibiotic reducing/replacing and farming rethinking (e.g., organic acids and copper in feed/biocides) has been scarcely explored. We investigated Salmonella occurrence (conventional and molecular assays) among chicken meat at the processing stage (n = 53 batches/29 farms) and characterized their tolerance to diverse stress factors (antibiotics, copper, acid pH, and peracetic acid). Whole-genome sequencing was used to assess adaptive features and to perform comparative analysis. We found a low Salmonella occurrence (4%) and identified S. Enteritidis/ST11 plus atypical non-H2S-producing S. 1,4,[5],12:i:-/ST3478. The ST3478 presented the ability to grow under diverse stresses (antibiotics, copper, and acid-pH). Comparative genomics among ST3478 isolates showed similar antibiotic/metal resistance gene repertoires and identical nonsense phsA thiosulfate reductase mutations (related to H2S-negative phenotype), besides their close phylogenetic relationship by cgMLST and SNPs. This study alerts for the ongoing national and international spread of an emerging monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium clonal lineage with an enlarged ability to survive to antimicrobials/biocides commonly used in poultry production, being unnoticed by conventional Salmonella detection approaches due to an atypical non-H2S-producing phenotype. Full article
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Article
Detection of Feline Coronavirus in Feline Effusions by Immunofluorescence Staining and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 698; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090698 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Feline coronavirus (FCoV), the pathogen for feline infectious peritonitis, is a lethal infectious agent that can cause effusions in the pleural and abdominal cavities in domestic cats. To study the epidemiology of FCoV in Taiwan, 81 FIP-suspected sick cats with effusive specimens were [...] Read more.
Feline coronavirus (FCoV), the pathogen for feline infectious peritonitis, is a lethal infectious agent that can cause effusions in the pleural and abdominal cavities in domestic cats. To study the epidemiology of FCoV in Taiwan, 81 FIP-suspected sick cats with effusive specimens were recruited to test for FCoV infection using immunofluorescence staining and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction as detection methods, and viral RNAs were recovered from the specimens to conduct genotyping and phylogenetic analysis based on the spike (S) protein gene. The results revealed that a total of 47 (47/81, 58%) of the sick cats were positive for FCoV in the effusion samples, of which 39 were successfully sequenced and comprised of 21 type I strains, 9 type II strains, and 9 co-infections. The signalment analysis of these sick cats revealed that only the sex of cats showed a significant association (odds ratio = 2.74, 95% confidence interval = 1.06–7.07, p = 0.03) with the infection of FCoV, while age and breed showed no association. FCoV-positive cats demonstrated a significantly lower albumin to globulin ratio than negative individuals (p = 0.0004). The partial S gene-based phylogenetic analysis revealed that the type I strains demonstrated genetic diversity forming several clades, while the type II strains were more conserved. This study demonstrates the latest epidemiological status of FCoV infection in the northern part of Taiwan among sick cats and presents comparisons of Taiwan and other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
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Article
Giardia duodenalis Induces Apoptosis in Intestinal Epithelial Cells via Reactive Oxygen Species-Mediated Mitochondrial Pathway In Vitro
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 693; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090693 - 23 Aug 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The intestinal protozoan parasite, Giardia duodenalis, infects a large number of people in the world annually. Giardia infection has been considered a negative effect on intestinal epithelial cell growth, while the underlying mechanisms remain to be explored. Here we evaluated reactive oxygen [...] Read more.
The intestinal protozoan parasite, Giardia duodenalis, infects a large number of people in the world annually. Giardia infection has been considered a negative effect on intestinal epithelial cell growth, while the underlying mechanisms remain to be explored. Here we evaluated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and apoptotic events in Giardia trophozoites-stimulated Caco-2 cells via fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, flow cytometry, western blot, and cell counting kit-8 analyses. The results showed that Giardia trophozoite treatment could induce lactate dehydrogenase release and Caco-2 cell apoptosis. The ROS levels were increased post treatment. The observed typical characteristics of mitochondria damage include significant swelling and degeneration of matrix and cristae. After trophozoite treatment, the level of Bax protein expression was increased, while Bcl-2 protein decreased. Trophozoite stimulation also led to reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential and release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm, and this process was accompanied by activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 cleavage. Pretreatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a ROS inhibitor, reversed G. duodenalis-induced Caco-2 cell apoptosis. Taken together, we indicated that G. duodenalis could induce Caco-2 cell apoptosis through a ROS- and mitochondria-mediated caspase-dependent pathway. This study furthers our understanding of the cellular mechanism of the interaction between Giardia trophozoites and host cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Highly Sensitive Virome Characterization of Aedes aegypti and Culex pipiens Complex from Central Europe and the Caribbean Reveals Potential for Interspecies Viral Transmission
Pathogens 2020, 9(9), 686; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9090686 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Mosquitoes are the most important vectors for arthropod-borne viral diseases. Mixed viral infections of mosquitoes allow genetic recombination or reassortment of diverse viruses, turning mosquitoes into potential virologic mixing bowls. In this study, we field-collected mosquitoes of different species (Aedes aegypti and [...] Read more.
Mosquitoes are the most important vectors for arthropod-borne viral diseases. Mixed viral infections of mosquitoes allow genetic recombination or reassortment of diverse viruses, turning mosquitoes into potential virologic mixing bowls. In this study, we field-collected mosquitoes of different species (Aedes aegypti and Culex pipiens complex), from different geographic locations and environments (central Europe and the Caribbean) for highly sensitive next-generation sequencing-based virome characterization. We found a rich virus community associated with a great diversity of host species. Among those, we detected a large diversity of novel virus sequences that we could predominately assign to circular Rep-encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA viruses, including the full-length genome of a yet undescribed Gemykrogvirus species. Moreover, we report for the first time the detection of a potentially zoonotic CRESS-DNA virus (Cyclovirus VN) in mosquito vectors. This study expands the knowledge on virus diversity in medically important mosquito vectors, especially for CRESS-DNA viruses that have previously been shown to easily recombine and jump the species barrier. Full article
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Continuous Reassortment of Clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 Highly Pathogenetic Avian Influenza Viruses Demonstrating High Risk to Public Health
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 670; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080670 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Since it firstly emerged in China in 2013, clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) has rapidly replaced predominant H5N1 to become the dominant H5 subtype in China, especially in ducks. Not only endemic in China, it also crossed the geographical [...] Read more.
Since it firstly emerged in China in 2013, clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) has rapidly replaced predominant H5N1 to become the dominant H5 subtype in China, especially in ducks. Not only endemic in China, it also crossed the geographical barrier and emerged in South Korea, Japan, and Europe. Here, we analyzed the genetic properties of the clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 HPAIVs with full genome sequences available online together with our own isolates. Phylogenetic analysis showed that clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 HPAIVs continuously reassorted with local H5, H6, and H7N9/H9N2. Species analysis reveals that aquatic poultry and migratory birds became the dominant hosts of H5N6. Adaption to aquatic poultry might help clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 better adapt to migratory birds, thus enabling it to become endemic in China. Besides, migratory birds might help clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 transmit all over the world. Clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 HPAIVs also showed a preference for α2,6-SA receptors when compared to other avian origin influenza viruses. Experiments in vitro and in vivo revealed that clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 HPAIVs exhibited high replication efficiency in both avian and mammal cells, and it also showed high pathogenicity in both mice and chickens, demonstrating high risk to public health. Considering all the factors together, adaption to aquatic poultry and migratory birds helps clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 overcome the geographical isolation, and it has potential to be the next influenza pandemic in the world, making it worthy of our attention. Full article
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Article
Molecular Epidemiology Reveals Low Genetic Diversity among Cryptococcus neoformans Isolates from People Living with HIV in Lima, Peru, during the Pre-HAART Era
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 665; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080665 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Cryptococcosis, a mycosis presenting mostly as meningoencephalitis, affecting predominantly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected people, is mainly caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. The genetic variation of 48 C. neoformans isolates, recovered from 20 HIV-positive people in Lima, Peru, during the pre-highly active antiretroviral therapy [...] Read more.
Cryptococcosis, a mycosis presenting mostly as meningoencephalitis, affecting predominantly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected people, is mainly caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. The genetic variation of 48 C. neoformans isolates, recovered from 20 HIV-positive people in Lima, Peru, during the pre-highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era, was studied retrospectively. The mating type of the isolates was determined by PCR, and the serotype by agglutination and CAP59-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). Genetic diversity was assessed by URA5-RFLP, PCR-fingerprinting, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). All isolates were mating type alpha, with 39 molecular type VNI, seven VNII, corresponding to C. neoformans var. grubii serotype A, and two VNIII AD hybrids. Overall, the cryptococcal population from HIV-positive people in Lima shows a low degree of genetic diversity. In most patients with persistent cryptococcal infection, the same genotype was recovered during the follow-up. In four patients with relapse and one with therapy failure, different genotypes were found in isolates from the re-infection and from the isolate recovered at the end of the treatment. In one patient, two genotypes were found in the first cryptococcosis episode. This study contributes data from Peru to the ongoing worldwide population genetic analysis of Cryptococcus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Cystatin C and α-1-Microglobulin Predict Severe Acute Kidney Injury in Patients with Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 666; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080666 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Puumala orthohantavirus causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) characterized by acute kidney injury (AKI), an abrupt decrease in renal function. Creatinine is routinely used to detect and quantify AKI; however, early AKI may not be reflected in increased creatinine levels. Therefore, kidney [...] Read more.
Puumala orthohantavirus causes hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) characterized by acute kidney injury (AKI), an abrupt decrease in renal function. Creatinine is routinely used to detect and quantify AKI; however, early AKI may not be reflected in increased creatinine levels. Therefore, kidney injury markers that can predict AKI are needed. The potential of the kidney injury markers urea, cystatin C, α1-microglobulin (A1M) and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) to detect early AKI during HFRS was studied by quantifying the levels of these markers in consecutively obtained plasma (P) and urine samples (U) for 44 HFRS patients. P-cystatin C and U-A1M levels were significantly increased during early HFRS compared to follow-up. In a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, P-cystatin C, U-A1M and P-urea predicted severe AKI with area under the curve 0.72, 0.73 and 0.71, respectively, whereas the traditional kidney injury biomarkers creatinine and U-albumin did not predict AKI. Nearly half of the HFRS patients (41%) fulfilled the criteria for shrunken pore syndrome, which was associated with the level of inflammation as measured by P-CRP. P-cystatin C and U-A1M are more sensitive and earlier markers compared to creatinine in predicting kidney injury during HFRS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses)
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Molecular Characterisation of a Rare Reassortant Porcine-Like G5P[6] Rotavirus Strain Detected in an Unvaccinated Child in Kasama, Zambia
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 663; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080663 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
A human-porcine reassortant strain, RVA/Human-wt/ZMB/UFS-NGS-MRC-DPRU4723/2014/G5P[6], was identified in a sample collected in 2014 from an unvaccinated 12 month old male hospitalised for gastroenteritis in Zambia. We sequenced and characterised the complete genome of this strain which presented the constellation: G5-P[6]-I1-R1-C1-M1-A8-N1-T1-E1-H1. The genotype A8 [...] Read more.
A human-porcine reassortant strain, RVA/Human-wt/ZMB/UFS-NGS-MRC-DPRU4723/2014/G5P[6], was identified in a sample collected in 2014 from an unvaccinated 12 month old male hospitalised for gastroenteritis in Zambia. We sequenced and characterised the complete genome of this strain which presented the constellation: G5-P[6]-I1-R1-C1-M1-A8-N1-T1-E1-H1. The genotype A8 is often observed in porcine strains. Phylogenetic analyses showed that VP6, VP7, NSP2, NSP4, and NSP5 genes were closely related to cognate gene sequences of porcine strains (e.g., RVA/Pig-wt/CHN/DZ-2/2013/G5P[X] for VP7) from the NCBI database, while VP1, VP3, VP4, and NSP3 were closely related to porcine-like human strains (e.g., RVA/Human-wt/CHN/E931/2008/G4P[6] for VP1, and VP3). On the other hand, the origin of the VP2 was not clear from our analyses, as it was not only close to both porcine (e.g., RVA/Pig-tc/CHN/SWU-1C/2018/G9P[13]) and porcine-like human strains (e.g., RVA/Human-wt/LKA/R1207/2009/G4P[6]) but also to three human strains (e.g., RVA/Human-wt/USA/1476/1974/G1P[8]). The VP7 gene was located in lineage II that comprised only porcine strains, which suggests the occurrence of independent porcine-to-human reassortment events. The study strain may have collectively been derived through interspecies transmission, or through reassortment event(s) involving strains of porcine and porcine-like human origin. The results of this study underline the importance of whole-genome characterisation of rotavirus strains and provide insights into interspecies transmissions from porcine to humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rotaviruses and Rotavirus Vaccines)
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Article
BLIGHTSIM: A New Potato Late Blight Model Simulating the Response of Phytophthora infestans to Diurnal Temperature and Humidity Fluctuations in Relation to Climate Change
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 659; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080659 - 15 Aug 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Temperature response curves under diurnal oscillating temperatures differ from those under constant conditions for all stages of the Phytophthora infestans infection cycle on potatoes. We developed a mechanistic model (BLIGHTSIM) with an hourly time step to simulate late blight under fluctuating environmental conditions [...] Read more.
Temperature response curves under diurnal oscillating temperatures differ from those under constant conditions for all stages of the Phytophthora infestans infection cycle on potatoes. We developed a mechanistic model (BLIGHTSIM) with an hourly time step to simulate late blight under fluctuating environmental conditions and predict late blight epidemics in potato fields. BLIGHTSIM is a modified susceptible (S), latent (L), infectious (I) and removed (R) compartmental model with hourly temperature and relative humidity as driving variables. The model was calibrated with growth chamber data covering one infection cycle and validated with field data from Ecuador. The model provided a good fit to all data sets evaluated. There was a significant interaction between average temperature and amplitude in their effects on the area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) as predicted from growth chamber data on a single infection cycle. BLIGHTSIM can be incorporated in a potato growth model to study effects of diurnal temperature range on late blight impact under climate change scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Pathogens)
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Article
Analyses of the Root-Knot Nematode (Meloidogyne graminicola) Transcriptome during Host Infection Highlight Specific Gene Expression Profiling in Resistant Rice Plants
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 644; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080644 - 08 Aug 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The plant-parasitic nematode Meloidogyne graminicola causes considerable damages to rice (Oryza sativa) culture. Resistance to M. graminicola in the related species Oryza glaberrima reduces root penetration by juveniles and stops further nematode development. M. graminicola genes expressed during O. sativa infection [...] Read more.
The plant-parasitic nematode Meloidogyne graminicola causes considerable damages to rice (Oryza sativa) culture. Resistance to M. graminicola in the related species Oryza glaberrima reduces root penetration by juveniles and stops further nematode development. M. graminicola genes expressed during O. sativa infection were previously characterized but no information is available about the molecular dialogue established with a resistant plant. We compared the M. graminicola transcriptomes of stage-two juveniles (J2s) before and during infection of susceptible or resistant rice. Among 36,121 M. graminicola genes surveyed, 367 were differentially expressed during infection of resistant or susceptible plants. Genes encoding cell wall-degrading enzymes, peptidases and neuropeptides were expressed for a longer time in resistant plants compared to susceptible plants. Conversely, genes related to nematode development were not activated in the resistant host. The majority of M. graminicola effector genes had similar expression patterns, whatever the host genotype. However, two venom allergen-like protein (VAP)-encoding genes were specifically induced in resistant plants and Mg-VAP1 silencing in J2s reduced their ability to colonize roots. This study highlighted that M. graminicola adapts its gene expression to the host susceptibility. Further investigation is required to assess the role of Mg-VAPs in the rice–nematode interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Pathogens)
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Article
Field Experience of Antibody Testing against Mycoplasma bovis in Adult Cows in Commercial Danish Dairy Cattle Herds
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 637; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080637 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Mycoplasma bovis in cattle is difficult to diagnose. Recently, the ID screen® mycoplasma bovis indirect ELISA (ID screen) was commercially released by IDVet. The objectives of this study were to: (1) gain and share experience of using the ID screen in adult [...] Read more.
Mycoplasma bovis in cattle is difficult to diagnose. Recently, the ID screen® mycoplasma bovis indirect ELISA (ID screen) was commercially released by IDVet. The objectives of this study were to: (1) gain and share experience of using the ID screen in adult dairy cows under field conditions; (2) determine the correlation between antibody levels in milk and serum and (3) compare the ID screen results with those of the Bio K 302 (BioX 302) ELISA from BioX Diagnostics. Paired serum and milk samples were collected from 270 cows from 12 Danish dairy herds with three categories of M. bovis disease history. The ID screen tested nearly all cows positive in all, but the three non-infected herds, while the BioX 302 tested very few cows positive. The ID screen is therefore a much more sensitive test than the BioX 302. However, cows in five exposed herds without signs of ongoing infection and two herds with no history of M. bovis infection also tested ID screen positive. Therefore, the performance and interpretation of the test must be investigated under field conditions in best practice test evaluation setups. A concordance correlation coefficient of 0.66 (95% CI: 0.59–0.72) between the ID screen serum and milk results indicates that milk samples can replace serum samples for the ID screen diagnosis of M. bovis in adult cows. Full article
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Article
Combining Computed Tomography and Histology Leads to an Evolutionary Concept of Hepatic Alveolar Echinococcosis
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 634; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080634 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by the intermediate stage of Echinococcus multilocularis. We aimed to correlate computed tomography (CT) data with histology to identify distinct characteristics for different lesion types. We classified 45 samples into five types with the Echinococcus multilocularis Ulm [...] Read more.
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by the intermediate stage of Echinococcus multilocularis. We aimed to correlate computed tomography (CT) data with histology to identify distinct characteristics for different lesion types. We classified 45 samples into five types with the Echinococcus multilocularis Ulm Classification for Computed Tomography (EMUC-CT). The various CT lesions exhibited significantly different histological parameters, which led us to propose a progression model. The initial lesion fit the CT type IV classification, which comprises a single necrotic area with the central located laminated layer, a larger distance between laminated layer and border zone, a small fibrotic peripheral zone, and few small particles of Echinococcus multilocularis (spems). Lesions could progress through CT types I, II, and III, characterized by shorter distances between laminated layer and border zone, more spems inside and surrounding the lesion, and a pronounced fibrotic rim (mostly in type III). Alternatively, lesions could converge to a highly calcified, regressive state (type V). Our results suggest that the CT types mark sequential stages of the infection, which progress over time. These distinct histological patterns advance the understanding of interactions between AE and human host; moreover, they might become prognostically and therapeutically relevant. Full article
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Article
The Clinical Infection with Pigeon Circovirus (PiCV) Leads to Lymphocyte B Apoptosis But Has No Effect on Lymphocyte T Subpopulation
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 632; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080632 - 03 Aug 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The pathology of pigeon circovirus (PiCV) is still unknown, but it is regarded as an immunosuppressant. This study aimed to find a correlation between PiCV natural infection and immunosuppression. The study was conducted with 56 pigeons divided into the following groups: PiCV-positive but [...] Read more.
The pathology of pigeon circovirus (PiCV) is still unknown, but it is regarded as an immunosuppressant. This study aimed to find a correlation between PiCV natural infection and immunosuppression. The study was conducted with 56 pigeons divided into the following groups: PiCV-positive but showing (group S) or not (group I) non-specific clinical symptoms and asymptomatic pigeons negative for PiCV (group H). The percentage and apoptosis of T CD3+ and B IgM+ splenocytes; the expression of CD4, CD8, and IFN-γ genes in splenic mononuclear cells; the number of PiCV viral loads in the bursa of Fabricius; and the level of anti-PiCV antibodies were analyzed. The results showed that the percentage of B IgM+ cells was almost two-fold lower in group S than in group H, and that ca. 20% of the lymphocytes were apoptotic. No increased apoptosis was detected in TCD3+ subpopulation. The PiCV viral loads were approximately one thousand and ten thousand times higher in group S than in groups I and H, respectively. Our results indicate a possible correlation between the number of PiCV viral loads and severity of PiCV infection and confirm that PiCV infection leads to the suppression of humoral immunity by inducing B lymphocyte apoptosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
A Sensitive, One-Way Sequential Sieving Method to Isolate Helminths’ Eggs and Protozoal Oocysts from Lettuce for Genetic Identification
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 624; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080624 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Different helminths and protozoa are transmitted to humans by oral uptake of environmentally resistant parasite stages after hand-to-mouth contact or by contaminated food and water. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a method for the simultaneous detection of parasite [...] Read more.
Different helminths and protozoa are transmitted to humans by oral uptake of environmentally resistant parasite stages after hand-to-mouth contact or by contaminated food and water. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a method for the simultaneous detection of parasite stages from fresh produce (lettuce) by a one-way isolation test kit followed by genetic identification (PCR, sequencing). Three sentinel zoonotic agents (eggs of Toxocara canis, Echinococcus multilocularis and oocysts of Toxoplasma gondii) were used to investigate the practicability and sensitivity of the method. The detection limits (100% positive results) in the recovery experiments were four Toxocara eggs, two E. multilocularis eggs and 18 T. gondii oocysts (in 4/5 replicates). In a field study, helminth DNA was detected in 14 of 157 lettuce samples including Hydatigera taeniaeformis (Syn. Taenia taeniaeformis) (four samples), T. polyacantha (three), T. martis (one), E. multilocularis (two) and Toxocara cati (four). Toxoplasma gondii was detected in six of 100 samples. In vivo testing in mice resulted in metacestode growth in all animals injected with 40–60 E. multilocularis eggs, while infection rates were 20–40% with 2–20 eggs. The developed diagnostic strategy is highly sensitive for the isolation and genetic characterisation of a broad range of parasite stages from lettuce, whereas the sensitivity of the viability tests needs further improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tackling Foodborne Parasitic Infections)
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Article
Dolphins Stranded along the Tuscan Coastline (Central Italy) of the “Pelagos Sanctuary”: A Parasitological Investigation
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 612; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080612 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Parasite monitoring is considered a necessary step for cetacean management and conservation. Between February 2013 and July 2015, 26 dolphins (15 Stenella coeruleoalba, 10 Tursiops truncatus, and one Grampus griseus) stranded along the Tuscan coastline of the protected marine area [...] Read more.
Parasite monitoring is considered a necessary step for cetacean management and conservation. Between February 2013 and July 2015, 26 dolphins (15 Stenella coeruleoalba, 10 Tursiops truncatus, and one Grampus griseus) stranded along the Tuscan coastline of the protected marine area “Pelagos Sanctuary”, were examined. Organs, tissues, and faecal and blood samples taken from all animals were analysed by parasitological, immunological, and molecular techniques. Twenty-one out of 26 dolphins (80.77%) tested positive for at least one parasite species, and 13/15 (86.7%) S. coeruleoalba, 7/10 (70%) T. truncatus, and the single G. griseus were found positive. Identified parasites included the nematodes Skrjabinalius guevarai (7.69%, 2/26), Halocercus lagenorhynchi (3.85%, 1/26), Halocercus delphini (7.69%, 2/26), Stenurus ovatus (7.69%, 2/26), Crassicauda spp. (7.69%, 2/26); the trematodes Pholeter gastrophilus (26.92%, 7/26), Campula palliata (3.85%, 1/26); the cestodes Phyllobothrium delphini (42.31%, 11/26), Monorygma grimaldii (23.08%, 6/26), Tetrabothrium forsteri (7.69%, 2/26), Strobilocephalus triangularis (7.69%, 2/26), and the acanthocephalan Bolbosoma vasculosum (7.69%, 2/26). Moreover, 6/26 (23%) animals scored positive to Toxoplasma gondii at serology, but PCR confirmed the infection (T. gondii Type II genotype) in a single animal. In examined dolphins, obtained results showed a high prevalence of endoparasites, which included species considered as a cause of severe debilitation or death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Parasitic Diseases)
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Article
Specific Detection of Yersinia pestis Based on Receptor Binding Proteins of Phages
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 611; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080611 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
The highly pathogenic bacterium Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of plague, a notorious infectious zoonotic disease. When transmitted from person to person as pneumonic plague via droplets, Y. pestis is highly contagious and in most cases is fatal if left untreated. Thus, [...] Read more.
The highly pathogenic bacterium Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of plague, a notorious infectious zoonotic disease. When transmitted from person to person as pneumonic plague via droplets, Y. pestis is highly contagious and in most cases is fatal if left untreated. Thus, when plague is suspected, rapid diagnosis is crucial, as a serious course of the infection is only averted by early antibiotic therapy. The bacterium is easy to cultivate, accessible and has a high potential for nefarious use such as bioterrorism. Highly specific, rapid and easy-to-use confirmatory diagnostic methods are required to reliably identify the pathogen independently from PCR-based methods or F1 antigen-based immunological detection. Yersinia pestis specific phages such as L-413C and ΦA1122 are already used for detection of Y. pestis in bacterial plaque or biosensor assays. Here, we made use of the host specificities conferred by phage receptor binding (or tail fiber/spike) proteins (RBP) for developing a specific, fast and simple fluorescence-microscopy-based detection method for Y. pestis. Genes of putative RBP of phages L-413C (gpH) and ΦA1122 (gp17) were fused with those of fluorescent proteins and recombinant receptor-reporter fusion proteins were produced heterologously in Escherichia coli. When first tested on attenuated Y. pestis strain EV76, RBP-reporters bound to the bacterial cell surface. This assay could be completed within a few minutes using live or formaldehyde-inactivated cells. Specificity tests using cultures of closely related Yersinia species and several inactivated fully virulent Y. pestis strains exhibited high specificities of the RBP-reporters against Y. pestis. The L-413C RBP proved to be especially specific, as it only detected Y. pestis at all temperatures tested, whereas the RBP of ΦA1122 also bound to Y. pseudotuberculosis strains at 37 °C (but not at 28, 20 or 6 °C). Finally, the Y. pestis-specific capsule, produced when grown at 37 °C, significantly reduced binding of phage ΦA1122 RBP, whereas the capsule only slightly diminished binding of L-413C RBP. Full article
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Article
Mycobacterium pseudoshottsii in Mediterranean Fish Farms: New Trouble for European Aquaculture?
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 610; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080610 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Mycobacterium pseudoshottsii, a slow-growing mycobacterium closely related to M. marinum, has been isolated only in wild fish in the United States and in Japanese fish farms to date. Here, we report cases of mortality in three farmed fish species (Dicentrarchus [...] Read more.
Mycobacterium pseudoshottsii, a slow-growing mycobacterium closely related to M. marinum, has been isolated only in wild fish in the United States and in Japanese fish farms to date. Here, we report cases of mortality in three farmed fish species (Dicentrarchus labrax, Sparus aurata, and Sciaenops ocellatus) caused by M. pseudoshottsii in Italy. Samples underwent necropsy, histology, and culture with pathogen identification based on PCR and sequencing of housekeeping genes (16S rRNA, hsp65, rpoB). Multifocal to coalescing granulomatous and necrotizing inflammation with acid-fast bacilli were observed in the parenchymatous organs, from which M. pseudoshottsii was isolated and identified. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed the results of gene sequencing and allowed subdivision of the isolates into three distinct groups. M. pseudoshottsii poses a potential threat for Mediterranean aquaculture. Its origin in the area under study needs to be clarified, as well as the threat to the farmed fish species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infectious Diseases in Aquaculture)
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Article
Correlation of Feline Coronavirus Shedding in Feces with Coronavirus Antibody Titer
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 598; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080598 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Background: Feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection is ubiquitous in multi-cat households. Responsible for the continuous presence are cats that are chronically shedding a high load of FCoV. The aim of the study was to determine a possible correlation between FCoV antibody titer and frequency [...] Read more.
Background: Feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection is ubiquitous in multi-cat households. Responsible for the continuous presence are cats that are chronically shedding a high load of FCoV. The aim of the study was to determine a possible correlation between FCoV antibody titer and frequency and load of fecal FCoV shedding in cats from catteries. Methods: Four fecal samples from each of 82 cats originating from 19 German catteries were examined for FCoV viral loads by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Additionally, antibody titers were determined by an immunofluorescence assay. Results: Cats with antibodies were more likely to be FCoV shedders than non-shedders, and there was a weak positive correlation between antibody titer and mean fecal virus load (Spearman r = 0.2984; p = 0.0072). Antibody titers were significantly higher if cats shed FCoV more frequently throughout the study period (p = 0.0063). When analyzing only FCoV shedders, cats that were RT-qPCR-positive in all four samples had significantly higher antibody titers (p = 0.0014) and significantly higher mean fecal virus loads (p = 0.0475) than cats that were RT-qPCR-positive in only one, two, or three samples. Conclusions: The cats’ antibody titers correlate with the likelihood and frequency of FCoV shedding and fecal virus load. Chronic shedders have higher antibody titers and shed more virus. This knowledge is important for the management of FCoV infections in multi-cat environments, but the results indicate that antibody measurement cannot replace fecal RT-qPCR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
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Article
Cyclic Hypoxia Exposure Accelerates the Progression of Amoebic Gill Disease
Pathogens 2020, 9(8), 597; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9080597 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Amoebic gill disease (AGD), caused by the amoeba Neoparamoeba perurans, has led to considerable economic losses in every major Atlantic salmon producing country, and is increasing in frequency. The most serious infections occur during summer and autumn, when temperatures are high and [...] Read more.
Amoebic gill disease (AGD), caused by the amoeba Neoparamoeba perurans, has led to considerable economic losses in every major Atlantic salmon producing country, and is increasing in frequency. The most serious infections occur during summer and autumn, when temperatures are high and poor dissolved oxygen (DO) conditions are most common. Here, we tested if exposure to cyclic hypoxia at DO saturations of 40–60% altered the course of infection with N. perurans compared to normoxic controls maintained at ≥90% DO saturation. Although hypoxia exposure did not increase initial susceptibility to N. perurans, it accelerated progression of the disease. By 7 days post-inoculation, amoeba counts estimated from qPCR analysis were 1.7 times higher in the hypoxic treatment than in normoxic controls, and cumulative mortalities were twice as high (16 ± 4% and 8 ± 2%), respectively. At 10 days post-inoculation, however, there were no differences between amoeba counts in the hypoxic and normoxic treatments, nor in the percentage of filaments with AGD lesions (control = 74 ± 2.8%, hypoxic = 69 ± 3.3%), or number of lamellae per lesion (control = 30 ± 0.9%, hypoxic = 27.9 ± 0.9%) as determined by histological examination. Cumulative mortalities at the termination of the experiment were similarly high in both treatments (hypoxic = 60 ± 2%, normoxic = 53 ± 11%). These results reveal that exposure to cyclic hypoxia in a diel pattern, equivalent to what salmon are exposed to in marine aquaculture cages, accelerated the progression of AGD in post-smolts. Full article
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Article
Monitoring Mycoplasma bovis Diversity and Antimicrobial Susceptibility in Calf Feedlots Undergoing a Respiratory Disease Outbreak
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 593; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070593 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Bovine respiratory diseases (BRD) are widespread in veal calf feedlots. Several pathogens are implicated, both viruses and bacteria, one of which, Mycoplasma bovis, is under-researched. This worldwide-distributed bacterium has been shown to be highly resistant in vitro to the main antimicrobials used [...] Read more.
Bovine respiratory diseases (BRD) are widespread in veal calf feedlots. Several pathogens are implicated, both viruses and bacteria, one of which, Mycoplasma bovis, is under-researched. This worldwide-distributed bacterium has been shown to be highly resistant in vitro to the main antimicrobials used to treat BRD. Our objective was to monitor the relative prevalence of M. bovis during BRD episodes, its diversity, and its resistance phenotype in relation to antimicrobial use. For this purpose, a two-year longitudinal follow-up of 25 feedlots was organized and 537 nasal swabs were collected on 358 veal calves at their arrival in the lot, at the BRD peak and 4 weeks after collective antimicrobial treatments. The presence of M. bovis was assessed by real-time PCR and culture. The clones isolated were then subtyped (polC subtyping and PFGE analysis), and their susceptibility to five antimicrobials was determined. The course of the disease and the antimicrobials used had no influence on the genetic diversity of the M. bovis strains: The subtype distribution was the same throughout the BRD episode and similar to that already described in France, with a major narrowly-variable subtype circulating, st2. The same conclusion holds for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) phenotypes: All the clones were already multiresistant to the main antimicrobials used (except for fluoroquinolones) prior to any treatments. By contrast, changes of AMR phenotypes could be suspected for Pasteurellaceae in two cases in relation to the treatments registered. Full article
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Article
The Epstein-Barr Virus-Encoded EBNA1 Protein Activates the Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) Signalling Pathway to Promote Carcinoma Cell Migration
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 594; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070594 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) protein is expressed in all virus-associated malignancies, where it performs an essential role in the maintenance, replication and transcription of the EBV genome. In recent years, it has become apparent that EBNA1 can also influence [...] Read more.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) protein is expressed in all virus-associated malignancies, where it performs an essential role in the maintenance, replication and transcription of the EBV genome. In recent years, it has become apparent that EBNA1 can also influence cellular gene transcription. Here, we demonstrate that EBNA1 is able to stimulate the expression of the Transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) superfamily member, bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2), with consequential activation of the BMP signalling pathway in carcinoma cell lines. We show that BMP pathway activation is associated with an increase in the migratory capacity of carcinoma cells, an effect that can be ablated by the BMP antagonist, Noggin. Gene expression profiling of authentic EBV-positive nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) tumours revealed the consistent presence of BMP ligands, established BMP pathway effectors and putative target genes, constituting a prominent BMP “signature” in this virus-associated cancer. Our findings show that EBNA1 is the major viral-encoded protein responsible for activating the BMP signalling pathway in carcinoma cells and supports a role for this pathway in promoting cell migration and possibly, metastatic spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Polymorphism and Selection Pressure of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine and Diagnostic Antigens: Implications for Immune Evasion and Serologic Diagnostic Performance
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070584 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has triggered multiple efforts for serological tests and vaccine development. Most of these tests and vaccines are based on the Spike glycoprotein (S) or the Nucleocapsid (N) viral protein. Conservation of these antigens among viral strains is critical to [...] Read more.
The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has triggered multiple efforts for serological tests and vaccine development. Most of these tests and vaccines are based on the Spike glycoprotein (S) or the Nucleocapsid (N) viral protein. Conservation of these antigens among viral strains is critical to ensure optimum diagnostic test performance and broad protective efficacy, respectively. We assessed N and S antigen diversity from 17,853 SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences and evaluated selection pressure. Up to 6–7 incipient phylogenetic clades were identified for both antigens, confirming early variants of the S antigen and identifying new ones. Significant diversifying selection was detected at multiple sites for both antigens. Some sequence variants have already spread in multiple regions, in spite of their low frequency. In conclusion, the N and S antigens of SARS-CoV-2 are well-conserved antigens, but new clades are emerging and may need to be included in future diagnostic and vaccine formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Genetic Diversity Among SARS-CoV2 Strains in South America may Impact Performance of Molecular Detection
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070580 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 16
Abstract
Since its emergence in Wuhan (China) on December 2019, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread worldwide. After its arrival in South America in February 2020, the virus has expanded throughout the region, infecting over 900,000 individuals with approximately [...] Read more.
Since its emergence in Wuhan (China) on December 2019, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread worldwide. After its arrival in South America in February 2020, the virus has expanded throughout the region, infecting over 900,000 individuals with approximately 41,000 reported deaths to date. In response to the rapidly growing number of cases, a number of different primer-probe sets have been developed. However, despite being highly specific, most of these primer-probe sets are known to exhibit variable sensitivity. Currently, there are more than 300 SARS-CoV2 whole genome sequences deposited in databases from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, and Argentina. To test how regional viral diversity may impact oligo binding sites and affect test performance, we reviewed all available primer-probe sets targeting the E, N, and RdRp genes against available South American SARS-CoV-2 genomes checking for nucleotide variations in annealing sites. Results from this in silico analysis showed no nucleotide variations on the E-gene target region, in contrast to the N and RdRp genes which showed massive nucleotide variations within oligo binding sites. In lines with previous data, our results suggest that the E-gene stands as the most conserved and reliable target when considering single-gene target testing for molecular diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 in South America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
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Article
Vector Competence of Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus from Brazil and New Caledonia for Three Zika Virus Lineages
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 575; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070575 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused severe epidemics in South America beginning in 2015, following its spread through the Pacific. We comparatively assessed the vector competence of ten populations of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus from Brazil and two of Ae. aegypti and one [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused severe epidemics in South America beginning in 2015, following its spread through the Pacific. We comparatively assessed the vector competence of ten populations of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus from Brazil and two of Ae. aegypti and one of Culex quinquefasciatus from New Caledonia to transmit three ZIKV isolates belonging to African, Asian and American lineages. Recently colonized mosquitoes from eight distinct sites from both countries were orally challenged with the same viral load (107 TCID50/mL) and examined after 7, 14 and 21 days. Cx. quinquefasciatus was refractory to infection with all virus strains. In contrast, although competence varied with geographical origin, Brazilian and New Caledonian Ae. aegypti could transmit the three ZIKV lineages, with a strong advantage for the African lineage (the only one reaching saliva one-week after challenge). Brazilian Ae. albopictus populations were less competent than Ae. aegypti populations. Ae. albopictus generally exhibited almost no transmission for Asian and American lineages, but was efficient in transmitting the African ZIKV. Viral surveillance and mosquito control measures must be strengthened to avoid the spread of new ZIKV lineages and minimize the transmission of viruses currently circulating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Untargeted Alternative Routes of Arbovirus Transmission)
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Article
Prevalence of Infectious Spleen and Kidney Necrosis Virus (ISKNV), Nervous Necrosis Virus (NNV) and Ectoparasites in Juvenile Epinephelus spp. Farmed in Aceh, Indonesia
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 578; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070578 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
A cross-sectional survey was used to estimate the prevalence of infections with the Infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus (ISKNV, Megalocytivirus), nervous necrosis virus (NNV, Betanodavirus), and infestations with ectoparasites during the rainy season in juvenile grouper (Epinephelus spp.) farmed [...] Read more.
A cross-sectional survey was used to estimate the prevalence of infections with the Infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus (ISKNV, Megalocytivirus), nervous necrosis virus (NNV, Betanodavirus), and infestations with ectoparasites during the rainy season in juvenile grouper (Epinephelus spp.) farmed in Aceh, Indonesia. The survey was intended to detect aquatic pathogens present at 10% prevalence with 95% confidence, assuming 100% sensitivity and specificity using a sample size of 30 for each diagnostic test. Eight populations of grouper from seven farms were sampled. Additional targeted sampling was conducted for populations experiencing high mortality. Infection with NNV was detected at all farms with seven of the eight populations being positive. The apparent prevalence for NNV ranged from 0% (95% CI: 0–12) to 73% (95% CI: 54–88). All of the fish tested from the targeted samples (Populations 9 and 10) were positive for NNV and all had vacuolation of the brain and retina consistent with viral nervous necrosis (VNN). Coinfections with ISKNV were detected in five populations, with the highest apparent prevalence being 13% (95% CI: 4–31%). Trichodina sp., Cryptocaryon irritans and Gyrodactylus sp. were detected at three farms, with 66% to 100% of fish being infested. Hybrid grouper sourced from a hatchery were 5.4 and 24.9 times more likely to have a NNV infection and a higher parasite load compared to orange-spotted grouper collected from the wild (p < 0.001). This study found that VNN remains a high-impact disease in grouper nurseries in Aceh, Indonesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infectious Diseases in Aquaculture)
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Article
Intracellular Growth and Cell Cycle Progression are Dependent on (p)ppGpp Synthetase/Hydrolase in Brucella abortus
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 571; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070571 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Brucella abortus is a pathogenic bacterium able to proliferate inside host cells. During the first steps of its trafficking, it is able to block the progression of its cell cycle, remaining at the G1 stage for several hours, before it reaches its replication [...] Read more.
Brucella abortus is a pathogenic bacterium able to proliferate inside host cells. During the first steps of its trafficking, it is able to block the progression of its cell cycle, remaining at the G1 stage for several hours, before it reaches its replication niche. We hypothesized that starvation mediated by guanosine tetra- or penta-phosphate, (p)ppGpp, could be involved in the cell cycle arrest. Rsh is the (p)ppGpp synthetase/hydrolase. A B. abortusrsh mutant is unable to grow in minimal medium, it is unable to survive in stationary phase in rich medium and it is unable to proliferate inside RAW 264.7 macrophages. A strain producing the heterologous constitutive (p)ppGpp hydrolase Mesh1b is also unable to proliferate inside these macrophages. Altogether, these data suggest that (p)ppGpp is necessary to allow B. abortus to adapt to its intracellular growth conditions. The deletion of dksA, proposed to mediate a part of the effect of (p)ppGpp on transcription, does not affect B. abortus growth in culture or inside macrophages. Expression of a gene coding for a constitutively active (p)ppGpp synthetase slows down growth in rich medium and inside macrophages. Using an mCherry–ParB fusion able to bind to the replication origin of the main chromosome of B. abortus, we observed that expression of the constitutive (p)ppGpp synthetase gene generates an accumulation of bacteria at the G1 phase. We thus propose that (p)ppGpp accumulation could be one of the factors contributing to the G1 arrest observed for B. abortus in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Immune Responses and Pathogenesis to Brucella spp. Infection)
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Article
Mutational Frequencies of SARS-CoV-2 Genome during the Beginning Months of the Outbreak in USA
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 565; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070565 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 30
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 has spread very quickly from its first reported case on 19 January 2020 in the United Stated of America, leading WHO to declare pandemic by 11 March 2020. RNA viruses accumulate mutations following replication and passage in human population, which prompted us [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 has spread very quickly from its first reported case on 19 January 2020 in the United Stated of America, leading WHO to declare pandemic by 11 March 2020. RNA viruses accumulate mutations following replication and passage in human population, which prompted us to determine the rate and the regions (hotspots) of the viral genome with high rates of mutation. We analyzed the rate of mutation accumulation over a period of 11 weeks (submitted between 19th January to 15 April 2020) in USA SARS-CoV-2 genome. Our analysis identified that majority of the viral genes accumulated mutations, although with varying rates and these included NSP2, NSP3, RdRp, helicase, Spike, ORF3a, ORF8, and Nucleocapsid protein. Sixteen mutations accumulated in Spike protein in which four mutations are located in the receptor binding domain. Intriguingly, we identified a fair number of viral proteins (NSP7, NSP9, NSP10, NSP11, Envelop, ORF6, and ORF7b proteins), which did not accumulate any mutation. Limited changes in these proteins may suggest that they have conserved functions, which are essential for virus propagation. This provides a basis for a better understanding of the genetic variation in SARS-CoV-2 circulating in the US, which could help in identifying potential therapeutic targets for controlling COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
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Article
Biotic Factors Influence Microbiota of Nymph Ticks from Vegetation in Sydney, Australia
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 566; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070566 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Ticks are haematophagous ectoparasites of medical and veterinary significance due to their excellent vector capacity. Modern sequencing techniques enabled the rapid sequencing of bacterial pathogens and symbionts. This study’s aims were two-fold; to determine the nymph diversity in Sydney, and to determine whether [...] Read more.
Ticks are haematophagous ectoparasites of medical and veterinary significance due to their excellent vector capacity. Modern sequencing techniques enabled the rapid sequencing of bacterial pathogens and symbionts. This study’s aims were two-fold; to determine the nymph diversity in Sydney, and to determine whether external biotic factors affect the microbiota. Tick DNA was isolated, and the molecular identity was determined for nymphs at the cox1 level. The tick DNA was subjected to high throughput DNA sequencing to determine the bacterial profile and the impact of biotic factors on the microbiota. Four nymph tick species were recovered from Sydney, NSW: Haemaphysalis bancrofti, Ixodes holocyclus, Ixodes trichosuri and Ixodes tasmani. Biotic factors, notably tick species and geography, were found to have a significance influence on the microbiota. The microbial analyses revealed that Sydney ticks display a core microbiota. The dominating endosymbionts among all tick species were Candidatus Midichloria sp. Ixholo1 and Candidatus Midichloria sp. Ixholo2. A novel Candidatus Midichloria sp. OTU_2090 was only found in I. holocyclus ticks (nymph: 96.3%, adult: 75.6%). Candidatus Neoehrlichia australis and Candidatus Neoehrlichia arcana was recovered from I. holocyclus and one I. trichosuri nymph ticks. Borrelia spp. was absent from all ticks. This study has shown that nymph and adult ticks carry different bacteria, and a tick bite in Sydney, Australia will result in different bacterial transfer depending on tick life stage, tick species and geography. Full article
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Article
Legionella Diversity and Spatiotemporal Variation in the Occurrence of Opportunistic Pathogens within a Large Building Water System
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070567 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Understanding Legionella survival mechanisms within building water systems (BWSs) is challenging due to varying engineering, operational, and water quality characteristics unique to each system. This study aimed to evaluate Legionella, mycobacteria, and free-living amoebae occurrence within a BWS over 18–28 months at [...] Read more.
Understanding Legionella survival mechanisms within building water systems (BWSs) is challenging due to varying engineering, operational, and water quality characteristics unique to each system. This study aimed to evaluate Legionella, mycobacteria, and free-living amoebae occurrence within a BWS over 18–28 months at six locations differing in plumbing material and potable water age, quality, and usage. A total of 114 bulk water and 57 biofilm samples were analyzed. Legionella culturability fluctuated seasonally with most culture-positive samples being collected during the winter compared to the spring, summer, and fall months. Positive and negative correlations between Legionella and L. pneumophila occurrence and other physiochemical and microbial water quality parameters varied between location and sample types. Whole genome sequencing of 19 presumptive Legionella isolates, from four locations across three time points, identified nine isolates as L. pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 sequence-type (ST) 1; three as L. pneumophila sg5 ST1950 and ST2037; six as L. feeleii; and one as Ochrobactrum. Results showed the presence of a diverse Legionella population with consistent and sporadic occurrence at four and two locations, respectively. Viewed collectively with similar studies, this information will enable a better understanding of the engineering, operational, and water quality parameters supporting Legionella growth within BWSs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legionella Contamination in Water Environment)
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Article
Spatial and Temporal Evolutionary Patterns in Puumala Orthohantavirus (PUUV) S Segment
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 548; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070548 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The S segment of bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)-associated Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) contains two overlapping open reading frames coding for the nucleocapsid (N) and a non-structural (NSs) protein. To identify the influence of bank vole population dynamics on PUUV S segment sequence [...] Read more.
The S segment of bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)-associated Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) contains two overlapping open reading frames coding for the nucleocapsid (N) and a non-structural (NSs) protein. To identify the influence of bank vole population dynamics on PUUV S segment sequence evolution and test for spillover infections in sympatric rodent species, during 2010–2014, 883 bank voles, 357 yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis), 62 wood mice (A. sylvaticus), 149 common voles (Microtus arvalis) and 8 field voles (M. agrestis) were collected in Baden-Wuerttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. In total, 27.9% and 22.3% of bank voles were positive for PUUV-reactive antibodies and PUUV-specific RNA, respectively. One of eight field voles was PUUV RNA-positive, indicating a spillover infection, but none of the other species showed evidence of PUUV infection. Phylogenetic and isolation-by-distance analyses demonstrated a spatial clustering of PUUV S segment sequences. In the hantavirus outbreak years 2010 and 2012, PUUV RNA prevalence was higher in our study regions compared to non-outbreak years 2011, 2013 and 2014. NSs amino acid and nucleotide sequence types showed temporal and/or local variation, whereas the N protein was highly conserved in the NSs overlapping region and, to a lower rate, in the N alone coding part. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hantavirus Infections)
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Article
Mycoplasma bovis in Spanish Cattle Herds: Two Groups of Multiresistant Isolates Predominate, with One Remaining Susceptible to Fluoroquinolones
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 545; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070545 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Mycoplasma bovis is an important bovine pathogen causing pneumonia, mastitis, and arthritis and is responsible for major economic losses worldwide. In the absence of an efficient vaccine, control of M. bovis infections mainly relies on antimicrobial treatments, but resistance is reported in an [...] Read more.
Mycoplasma bovis is an important bovine pathogen causing pneumonia, mastitis, and arthritis and is responsible for major economic losses worldwide. In the absence of an efficient vaccine, control of M. bovis infections mainly relies on antimicrobial treatments, but resistance is reported in an increasing number of countries. To address the situation in Spain, M. bovis was searched in 436 samples collected from beef and dairy cattle (2016–2019) and 28% were positive. Single-locus typing using polC sequences further revealed that two subtypes ST2 and ST3, circulate in Spain both in beef and dairy cattle, regardless of the regions or the clinical signs. Monitoring of ST2 and ST3 isolates minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) to a panel of antimicrobials revealed one major difference when using fluoroquinolones (FQL): ST2 is more susceptible than ST3. Accordingly, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) further identified mutations in the gyrA and parC regions, encoding quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDR) only in ST3 isolates. This situation shows the capacity of ST3 to accumulate mutations in QRDR and might reflect the selective pressure imposed by the extensive use of these antimicrobials. MIC values and detection of mutations by WGS also showed that most Spanish isolates are resistant to macrolides, lincosamides, and tetracyclines. Valnemulin was the only one effective, at least in vitro, against both STs. Full article
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Article
Prevalence of the Puumala orthohantavirus Strains in the Pre-Kama Area of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 540; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070540 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) causes nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) commonly diagnosed in Europe. The majority of HFRS cases in the European part of Russia are diagnosed in the Volga Federal District, which includes the Republic [...] Read more.
Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) causes nephropathia epidemica (NE), a mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) commonly diagnosed in Europe. The majority of HFRS cases in the European part of Russia are diagnosed in the Volga Federal District, which includes the Republic of Tatarstan (RT). The current study aims to analyze the genetic variability of PUUV in Pre-Kama region of the RT bounded by the Volga, Kama, and Vyatka rivers. In 2017, bank voles were caught in seven isolated forest traps in the Pre-Kama region and for the 26 PUUV-positive samples, the partial small (S), medium (M), and large (L) genome segment sequences were obtained and analyzed. It was determined that all identified PUUV strains belong to the Russian (RUS) genetic lineage; however, the genetic distance between strains is not directly correlated with the geographical distance between bank vole populations. One of the identified strains has S and L segments produced from one parental strain, while the M segment was supplied by another, suggesting that this strain could be the reassortant. We suggest that the revealed pattern of the PUUV strains distribution could be the result of a series of successive multidirectional migratory flows of the bank voles to the Pre-Kama region in the postglacial period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hantavirus Infections)
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Article
Naturally Acquired Humoral Immunity against Malaria Parasites in Non-Human Primates from the Brazilian Amazon, Cerrado and Atlantic Forest
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 525; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070525 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Non-human primates (NHPs) have been shown to be infected by parasites of the genus Plasmodium, the etiological agent of malaria in humans, creating potential risks of zoonotic transmission. Plasmodium brasilianum, a parasite species similar to P. malariae of humans, have been [...] Read more.
Non-human primates (NHPs) have been shown to be infected by parasites of the genus Plasmodium, the etiological agent of malaria in humans, creating potential risks of zoonotic transmission. Plasmodium brasilianum, a parasite species similar to P. malariae of humans, have been described in NHPs from Central and South America, including Brazil. The merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1), besides being a malaria vaccine candidate, is highly immunogenic. Due to such properties, we tested this protein for the diagnosis of parasite infection. We used recombinant proteins of P. malariae MSP1, as well as of P. falciparum and P. vivax, for the detection of antibodies anti-MSP1 of these parasite species, in the sera of NHPs collected in different regions of Brazil. About 40% of the NHP sera were confirmed as reactive to the proteins of one or more parasite species. A relatively higher number of reactive sera was found in animals from the Atlantic Forest than those from the Amazon region, possibly reflecting the former more intense parasite circulation among NHPs due to their proximity to humans at a higher populational density. The presence of Plasmodium positive NHPs in the surveyed areas, being therefore potential parasite reservoirs, needs to be considered in any malaria surveillance program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Parasitic Diseases)
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Article
Variation Profile of the Orthotospovirus Genome
Pathogens 2020, 9(7), 521; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9070521 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Orthotospoviruses are plant-infecting members of the family Tospoviridae (order Bunyavirales), have a broad host range and are vectored by polyphagous thrips in a circulative-propagative manner. Because diverse hosts and vectors impose heterogeneous selection constraints on viral genomes, the evolutionary arms races between [...] Read more.
Orthotospoviruses are plant-infecting members of the family Tospoviridae (order Bunyavirales), have a broad host range and are vectored by polyphagous thrips in a circulative-propagative manner. Because diverse hosts and vectors impose heterogeneous selection constraints on viral genomes, the evolutionary arms races between hosts and their pathogens might be manifested as selection for rapid changes in key genes. These observations suggest that orthotospoviruses contain key genetic components that rapidly mutate to mediate host adaptation and vector transmission. Using complete genome sequences, we profiled genomic variation in orthotospoviruses. Results show that the three genomic segments contain hypervariable areas at homologous locations across species. Remarkably, the highest nucleotide variation mapped to the intergenic region of RNA segments S and M, which fold into a hairpin. Secondary structure analyses showed that the hairpin is a dynamic structure with multiple functional shapes formed by stems and loops, contains sites under positive selection and covariable sites. Accumulation and tolerance of mutations in the intergenic region is a general feature of orthotospoviruses and might mediate adaptation to host plants and insect vectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bunyavirus)
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Article
Comparison of Diagnostic Tools for the Detection of Dirofilaria immitis Infection in Dogs
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 499; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060499 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
In the last two decades, reports of canine heartworm (HW) infection have increased even in non-endemic areas, with a large variability in prevalence data due to the diagnostic strategy employed. This study evaluated the relative performance of two microtiter plate ELISA methods for [...] Read more.
In the last two decades, reports of canine heartworm (HW) infection have increased even in non-endemic areas, with a large variability in prevalence data due to the diagnostic strategy employed. This study evaluated the relative performance of two microtiter plate ELISA methods for the detection of HW antigen in determining the occurrence of Dirofilaria immitis in a dog population previously tested by the modified Knott’s test and SNAP 4Dx Plus test. The prevalence of this infection in the sheltered dog population (n = 363) from a high-risk area for HW infection was 44.4% according to the modified Knott’s test and 58.1% according to a point-of-care antigen ELISA. All serum samples were then evaluated by a microtiter plate ELISA test performed with and without immune complex dissociation (ICD). The prevalence increased from 56.5% to 79.6% following ICD, indicating a high proportion of samples with immune complexing. Comparing these results to that of the modified Knott’s test, the samples negative for microfilariae (mfs) and those positive only for D. repens mfs demonstrated the greatest increase in the proportion of positive results for D. immitis by ELISA following ICD. While the ICD method is not recommended for routine screening, it may be a valuable secondary strategy for identifying HW infections in dogs. Full article
Article
MLVA-16 Genotyping of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis Isolates from Different Animal Species in Egypt: Geographical Relatedness and the Mediterranean Lineage
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 498; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060498 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Brucellosis is a common zoonotic disease in Egypt. However, there are limited data available on the genetic diversity of brucellae circulating in Egypt and other Mediterranean areas. One hundred and nine Brucella (B.) strains were isolated from different animal species in [...] Read more.
Brucellosis is a common zoonotic disease in Egypt. However, there are limited data available on the genetic diversity of brucellae circulating in Egypt and other Mediterranean areas. One hundred and nine Brucella (B.) strains were isolated from different animal species in thirteen Egyptian governorates. Multi-locus variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) analysis (MLVA-16) was employed to determine the geographical relatedness and the genetic diversity of a panel of selected Egyptian strains (n = 69), with strains originating from Italy (n = 49), Portugal (n = 52), Greece (n = 63), and Tunisia (n = 4). Egyptian B. melitensis strains clustered into two main clusters containing 21 genotypes. Egyptian B. abortus strains clustered into three main clusters containing nine genotypes. The genotypes were irregularly distributed over time and space in the study area. Egyptian strains of B. melitensis showed MLVA-16 patterns closer to that of Italian strains. Egyptian B. abortus strains isolated from cattle share the same genotype with strains from Portugal and similar to strains from Italy with low genetic diversity. Strains with similar MLVA patterns isolated from different governorates highlight the movement of the pathogen among governorates. Hence, it may also reflect the long endemicity of brucellosis in Egypt with earlier dispersal of types and great local genetic diversity. Open markets may contribute to cross-species transmission and dissemination of the new types nationwide. The presence of West Mediterranean lineages of B. melitensis and relatedness of B. abortus strains from the studied countries is a result of the socio-historical connections among the Mediterranean countries. Transnational eradication of brucellosis in the Mediterranean basin is highly demanded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
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Article
In Silico Design and Validation of OvMANE1, a Chimeric Antigen for Human Onchocerciasis Diagnosis
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 495; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060495 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
The public health goal of onchocerciasis in Africa has advanced from control to elimination. In this light, accurate diagnosis is necessary to determine treatment endpoints and confirm elimination, as well as to conduct surveillance for the identification of any possible recrudescence of the [...] Read more.
The public health goal of onchocerciasis in Africa has advanced from control to elimination. In this light, accurate diagnosis is necessary to determine treatment endpoints and confirm elimination, as well as to conduct surveillance for the identification of any possible recrudescence of the disease. Currently, the monitoring of onchocerciasis elimination relies on the Ov-16 test. However, this test is unable to discriminate between past and active infections. Furthermore, about 15–25% of infected persons are reported to be negative for the Ov-16 test, giving a misleading sense of security to false-negative individuals who might continue to serve as reservoirs for infections. Therefore, we opted to design and validate a more sensitive and specific chimeric antigen (OvMANE1) for onchocerciasis diagnosis, using previously reported immunodominant peptides of O. volvulus, the parasite responsible for the disease. In silico analysis of OvMANE1 predicted it to be more antigenic than its individual peptides. We observed that OvMANE1 reacts specifically and differentially with sera from O. volvulus infected and non-infected individuals, as well as with sera from communities of different levels of endemicity. Moreover, we found that total IgG, unlike IgG4 subclass, positively responded to OvMANE1, strongly suggesting its complementarity to the Ov-16 diagnostic tool, which detects Ov-16 IgG4 antibodies. Overall, OvMANE1 exhibited the potential to be utilized in the development of specific diagnostic tools—based on both antibody capture and antigen capture reactions—which are indispensable to monitor the progress of onchocerciasis elimination programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Onchocerciasis and River Epilepsy)
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Article
In Vitro Incorporation of Helicobacter pylori into Candida albicans Caused by Acidic pH Stress
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060489 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Yeasts can adapt to a wide range of pH fluctuations (2 to 10), while Helicobacter pylori, a facultative intracellular bacterium, can adapt to a range from pH 6 to 8. This work analyzed if H. pylori J99 can protect itself from acidic [...] Read more.
Yeasts can adapt to a wide range of pH fluctuations (2 to 10), while Helicobacter pylori, a facultative intracellular bacterium, can adapt to a range from pH 6 to 8. This work analyzed if H. pylori J99 can protect itself from acidic pH by entering into Candida albicans ATCC 90028. Growth curves were determined for H. pylori and C. albicans at pH 3, 4, and 7. Both microorganisms were co-incubated at the same pH values, and the presence of intra-yeast bacteria was evaluated. Intra-yeast bacteria-like bodies were detected using wet mounting, and intra-yeast binding of anti-H. pylori antibodies was detected using immunofluorescence. The presence of the H. pylori rDNA 16S gene in total DNA from yeasts was demonstrated after PCR amplification. H. pylori showed larger death percentages at pH 3 and 4 than at pH 7. On the contrary, the viability of the yeast was not affected by any of the pHs evaluated. H. pylori entered into C. albicans at all the pH values assayed but to a greater extent at unfavorable pH values (pH 3 or 4, p = 0.014 and p = 0.001, respectively). In conclusion, it is possible to suggest that H. pylori can shelter itself within C. albicans under unfavorable pH conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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Article
Pathogenic Prion Protein Isoforms Are Not Present in Cerebral Organoids Generated from Asymptomatic Donors Carrying the E200K Mutation Associated with Familial Prion Disease
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 482; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060482 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Cerebral organoids (COs) are a self-organizing three-dimensional brain tissue mimicking the human cerebral cortex. COs are a promising new system for modelling pathological features of neurological disorders, including prion diseases. COs expressing normal prion protein (PrPC) are susceptible to prion infection when exposed [...] Read more.
Cerebral organoids (COs) are a self-organizing three-dimensional brain tissue mimicking the human cerebral cortex. COs are a promising new system for modelling pathological features of neurological disorders, including prion diseases. COs expressing normal prion protein (PrPC) are susceptible to prion infection when exposed to the disease isoforms of PrP (PrPD). This causes the COs to develop aspects of prion disease pathology considered hallmarks of disease, including the production of detergent-insoluble, protease-resistant misfolded PrPD species capable of seeding the production of more misfolded species. To determine whether COs can model aspects of familial prion diseases, we produced COs from donor fibroblasts carrying the E200K mutation, the most common cause of human familial prion disease. The mature E200K COs were assessed for the hallmarks of prion disease. We found that up to 12 months post-differentiation, E200K COs harbored no PrPD as confirmed by the absence of detergent-insoluble, protease-resistant, and seeding-active PrP species. Our results suggest that the presence of the E200K mutation within the prion gene is insufficient to cause disease in neuronal tissue. Therefore, other factors, such as further genetic modifiers or aging processes, may influence the onset of misfolding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prions and Prion-Like Transmissible Protein Pathogens)
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Article
Detection of New Leptospira Genotypes Infecting Symptomatic Dogs: Is a New Vaccine Formulation Needed?
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 484; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060484 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Leptospirosis in dogs has been largely described worldwide, and epidemiological studies have been mainly based on serological data. This study aims to detect and genotype leptospires affecting symptomatic dogs in Northeast Italy between 2013 and 2019. Overall, 1631 dogs were tested using real-time [...] Read more.
Leptospirosis in dogs has been largely described worldwide, and epidemiological studies have been mainly based on serological data. This study aims to detect and genotype leptospires affecting symptomatic dogs in Northeast Italy between 2013 and 2019. Overall, 1631 dogs were tested using real-time PCR, and leptospires from 193 dogs were subjected to Multilocus Sequence Typing and a Multiple Loci Variable-number Tandem Repeat Analysis. Leptospires were successfully isolated from 15 symptomatic dogs. Six distinct Sequence Types (STs) were found for 135 leptospires, with 3 STs characterizing Leptospira interrogans (ST17, ST198 and ST24), 2 STs characterizing Leptospira kirschneri (ST117 and ST289) and 1 ST characterizing Leptospira borgpetersenii (ST155), revealing the circulation of the serogroups Icterohaemorrhagiae, Australis, Sejroe and Pomona. The Multiple Loci Variable-number Tandem Repeat Analysis of 17 samples did not result in any additional discrimination. Genotypes were compared with those of strains present in the historical internal database, and possible transmission chains were identified from rat, mouse, hedgehog and pig. This work highlights the importance of molecular methods in revealing and identifying circulating Leptospira strains, and it also encourages the evaluation of the ability of commercially available vaccines to reduce the disease burden among dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leptospira infections in Domestic and Wild Animal)
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Article
Droplet Digital PCR for the Detection of Plasmodium falciparum DNA in Whole Blood and Serum: A Comparative Analysis with Other Molecular Methods
Pathogens 2020, 9(6), 478; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/pathogens9060478 - 17 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: The estimation of Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia can vary according to the method used. Recently, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) has been proposed as a promising approach in the molecular quantitation of Plasmodium, but its ability to predict the actual parasitaemia on clinical [...] Read more.
Background: The estimation of Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia can vary according to the method used. Recently, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) has been proposed as a promising approach in the molecular quantitation of Plasmodium, but its ability to predict the actual parasitaemia on clinical samples has not been largely investigated. Moreover, the possibility of applying the ddPCR-sensitive method to serum samples has never been explored. Methods: We used, for the first time, ddPCR on both blood and serum to detect the DNA of P. falciparum in 52 paired samples from 26 patients. ddPCR was compared with loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and rtPCR. The correlation between the ddPCR results, microscopy, and clinical parameters was examined. Results: ddPCR and microscopy were found to be strongly correlated (ρ(26) = 0.83111, p < 0.0001) in blood. Samples deviating from the correlation were partially explained by clinical parameters. In serum samples, ddPCR revealed the best performance in detecting P. falciparum DNA, with 77% positive samples among malaria subjects. Conclusion: Absolute quantitation by ddPCR can be a flexible technique for Plasmodium detection, with potential application in the diagnosis of malaria. In particular, ddPCR is a powerful approach for Plasmodium DNA analysis on serum when blood samples are unavailable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Pathogens)
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