This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Sickle Cell Anemia as NTD; Experimental Evolution of Pathogenesis; Mimivirus Membrane Assembly; Drug Efficacy Against Helminths; and More

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Tsai Y-H, Disson O, Bierne H, Lecuit M (2013) Murinization of Internalin Extends Its Receptor Repertoire, Altering Listeria monocytogenes Cell Tropism and Host Responses. PLoS Pathog 9(5): e1003381. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003381

Tsai Y-H, Disson O, Bierne H, Lecuit M (2013) Murinization of Internalin Extends Its Receptor Repertoire, Altering Listeria monocytogenes Cell Tropism and Host Responses. PLoS Pathog 9(5): e1003381. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003381

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS NTDs this week:

Although not an infectious disease, sickle cell anemia (SCA) has many features of an NTD, particularly in affecting poor and disadvantaged populations, substantial morbidity and mortality and as a co-morbid factor for other diseases. In this editorial, Dr. Russell Ware argues that considering SCA to be an NTD may ironically help it move from an “invisible” killer of children to a “neglected” disease status, which should spur newborn screening and treatment programs, foster additional research, facilitate innovative partnerships, and lead to improved outcomes.

In 2000, 189 Heads of State committed to improving the health of the global population and promulgated the UN Millennium Development Goals, with neglected diseases falling under the rubric of “other diseases.” However, a literature search reveals very little has been published on how combating NTD, such as Guinea Worm Disease, can result in measureable contributions towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Here Dr. Kelly Callahan and colleagues make the case that NTD eradication programs do help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Regular treatment with albendazole or mebendazole is the major means for controlling various soil-transmitted helminths (STH) infections, but repeated treatment with the same class of benzimidazole anthelmintics has caused resistance in veterinary parasites. Dr. Roger Prichard and colleagues present here their studies into drug efficacy and mutation frequencies in various STH collected in Haiti, Kenya and Panama prior to and after albendazole treatment.

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS Pathogens this week:

Due to access to affordable high-throughput sequencing, experimental evolution represents a sophisticated approach to dissecting host pathogen interactions and testing models of host range and pathogen adaptation. Dr. Alexander Ensminger discusses how experimental evolution has been used to directly test models of host-pathogen interactions and the parallels between laboratory studies and the real-world evolutionary trajectories.

The Mimivirus particle includes an internal membrane that underlies an icosahedral capsid yet the assembly mechanism of internal membrane during Mimivirus infection remains unclear, as is the case for other viruses containing internal membranes. By using diverse imaging techniques, Dr. Yael Mutsafi and colleagues show that membrane biogenesis is an elaborate process that occurs at the periphery of viral factories generated at the host cytoplasm.

Internalin(InlA)-E-cadherin(Ecad) interaction, a process necessary for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) to cross the intestinal barrier, does not occur in wild-type mice, but does in transgenic mice expressing human Ecad. Dr. Yu-Huan Tsai and colleagues found that murinization of InlA not only extends the host range of Lm, but also broadens its receptor repertoire, illustrating that caution must be exercised before using ‘‘murinized’’ pathogens to study human infectious diseases.

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