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Pathogens, Volume 12, Issue 12 (December 2023) – 89 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The ability to produce or consume molecular hydrogen (H2) confers an important advantage to bacteria by providing either route to dispose of excess reducing equivalents or protons that contribute to the proton motive force (PMF) and electrons that can enter the respiratory chain. We previously identified two [NiFe] hydrogenases as candidate conditional fitness factors in the Gram-negative pathogen Proteus mirabilis: one putative H2-producing hydrogenase and one putative H2-consuming hydrogenase that may contribute to PMF. In this manuscript, we examined interplay between these two systems as well as their contribution to P. mirabilis fitness during single-species and polymicrobial infection. View this paper
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12 pages, 2783 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Risk of African Swine Fever Virus Transmission at the Interface between Feral and Domestic Pigs in Lombardy, with a View to Establishing Preventive Measures for Domestic Pigs
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1462; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121462 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 953
Abstract
African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread worldwide, and has reached multiple countries across Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Pacific, representing a serious economic burden threatening pig health and welfare, as well as food security. The disease affects domestic pigs and wild [...] Read more.
African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread worldwide, and has reached multiple countries across Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Pacific, representing a serious economic burden threatening pig health and welfare, as well as food security. The disease affects domestic pigs and wild boar, and in several European countries the disease is endemic in wild boars. The lack of vaccines or effective treatments highlights the importance of effective control measures used to keep domestic and feral pigs separated to prevent the spread of the virus. However, the study of the livestock–wildlife interface is quite complex and has many aspects to consider, including the uncertainty of wild-boar population data. In this study, we determined the risk of spread of the ASF virus at the interface between domestic pigs and wild boars using indicators that can indirectly indicate the presence of wild boars in order to target specific control measures in the highest risk areas. The results of the study were compared with those obtained by Pittiglio, in which the population data for wild boars was estimated using a geostatistical method and similar results were obtained. However, the present study used specific information relating to the wild-boar population and this allowed us to use fewer variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue An Update on African Swine Fever)
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31 pages, 1716 KiB  
Review
Antiviral Activity of Zinc Finger Antiviral Protein (ZAP) in Different Virus Families
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1461; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121461 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1574
Abstract
The CCCH-type zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP) in humans, specifically isoforms ZAP-L and ZAP-S, is a crucial component of the cell’s intrinsic immune response. ZAP acts as a post-transcriptional RNA restriction factor, exhibiting its activity during infections caused by retroviruses and alphaviruses. Its [...] Read more.
The CCCH-type zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP) in humans, specifically isoforms ZAP-L and ZAP-S, is a crucial component of the cell’s intrinsic immune response. ZAP acts as a post-transcriptional RNA restriction factor, exhibiting its activity during infections caused by retroviruses and alphaviruses. Its function involves binding to CpG (cytosine-phosphate-guanine) dinucleotide sequences present in viral RNA, thereby directing it towards degradation. Since vertebrate cells have a suppressed frequency of CpG dinucleotides, ZAP is capable of distinguishing foreign genetic elements. The expression of ZAP leads to the reduction of viral replication and impedes the assembly of new virus particles. However, the specific mechanisms underlying these effects have yet to be fully understood. Several questions regarding ZAP’s mechanism of action remain unanswered, including the impact of CpG dinucleotide quantity on ZAP’s activity, whether this sequence is solely required for the binding between ZAP and viral RNA, and whether the recruitment of cofactors is dependent on cell type, among others. This review aims to integrate the findings from studies that elucidate ZAP’s antiviral role in various viral infections, discuss gaps that need to be filled through further studies, and shed light on new potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Immune Responses to Intracellular Pathogens)
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10 pages, 2833 KiB  
Communication
Scoring Enzootic Pneumonia-like Lesions in Slaughtered Pigs: Traditional vs. Artificial-Intelligence-Based Methods
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1460; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121460 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1054
Abstract
Artificial-intelligence-based methods are regularly used in the biomedical sciences, mainly in the field of diagnostic imaging. Recently, convolutional neural networks have been trained to score pleurisy and pneumonia in slaughtered pigs. The aim of this study is to further evaluate the performance of [...] Read more.
Artificial-intelligence-based methods are regularly used in the biomedical sciences, mainly in the field of diagnostic imaging. Recently, convolutional neural networks have been trained to score pleurisy and pneumonia in slaughtered pigs. The aim of this study is to further evaluate the performance of a convolutional neural network when compared with the gold standard (i.e., scores provided by a skilled operator along the slaughter chain through visual inspection and palpation). In total, 441 lungs (180 healthy and 261 diseased) are included in this study. Each lung was scored according to traditional methods, which represent the gold standard (Madec’s and Christensen’s grids). Moreover, the same lungs were photographed and thereafter scored by a trained convolutional neural network. Overall, the results reveal that the convolutional neural network is very specific (95.55%) and quite sensitive (85.05%), showing a rather high correlation when compared with the scores provided by a skilled veterinarian (Spearman’s coefficient = 0.831, p < 0.01). In summary, this study suggests that convolutional neural networks could be effectively used at slaughterhouses and stimulates further investigation in this field of research. Full article
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11 pages, 567 KiB  
Article
Gastrointestinal Parasite Infections and Environmental Sustainability of the Ovine Sector: Eimeria spp. Infections and Nitrogen and Phosphorus Excretions in Dairy Sheep in Italy
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1459; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121459 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 991
Abstract
In sheep farming, gastrointestinal parasites can be responsible for significant reductions in animal health and production. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fecal excretions are the main determining factors for N2O emissions from manure management and may pose other environmental problems, such [...] Read more.
In sheep farming, gastrointestinal parasites can be responsible for significant reductions in animal health and production. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fecal excretions are the main determining factors for N2O emissions from manure management and may pose other environmental problems, such as the acidification and eutrophication of natural habitats. By using the Mini-FLOTAC technique on fecal samples from sheep of different ages and physiological status from 19 dairy sheep farms in Tuscany (central Italy), gastrointestinal parasite infections were evaluated. The animal N and P fecal contents were also assessed, with the aim of evaluating possible relationships between the identified parasites and the environmental sustainability of the examined farms. The obtained results showed that Eimeria spp. (86.36%) and gastrointestinal strongyle (54.55%) infections are prevalent in the examined farms. Moreover, significantly higher (p ≤ 0.05) P and Eimeria oocyst/gram-of-feces (OPG) values were found in fecal samples from animals < 1 year of age, and a significant (p ≤ 0.05) positive correlation resulted between N content and Eimeria OPG in fecal samples from animals in the first month of lactation. The findings from this study suggest for the first time that Eimeria spp. infections may have an impact on the environmental sustainability of sheep farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasitic Diseases of Domestic, Wild, and Exotic Animals (Volume II))
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26 pages, 3600 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Diversity of Plant-Associated Viruses and Related Viruses in Riverine Freshwater Samples Collected in Berlin, Germany
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1458; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121458 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Plant-infecting RNA viruses from 30 families and floating genera, as well as a great number of uncultured as yet-unclassified plant-associated viruses have been described. Even so, the plant RNA virosphere is still underexplored. RNA extracted from enriched virus particles of 50 L water [...] Read more.
Plant-infecting RNA viruses from 30 families and floating genera, as well as a great number of uncultured as yet-unclassified plant-associated viruses have been described. Even so, the plant RNA virosphere is still underexplored. RNA extracted from enriched virus particles of 50 L water samples from the Teltow Canal and the Havel River in Berlin, Germany, was sequenced using Illumina next-generation sequencing. Sequences were searched for plant viruses with BLAST and DIAMOND. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted with IQ-TREE 2. Altogether, 647 virus sequences greater than 1 kb were detected and further analyzed. These data revealed the presence of accepted and novel viruses related to Albetovirus, Alphaflexiviridae, Aspiviridae, Bromoviridae, Endornaviridae, Partitiviridae, Potyviridae, Solemoviridae, Tombusviridae and Virgaviridae. The vast majority of the sequences were novel and could not be taxonomically assigned. Several tombus- and endorna-like viruses make use of alternative translation tables that suggest unicellular green algae, ciliates, or diplomonades as their hosts. The identification of 27 albeto-like satellite viruses increases available sequence data five-fold. Sixteen new poty-like viruses align with other poty-like viruses in a link that combines the Astroviridae and Potyviridae families. Further, the identification of viruses with peptidase A6-like and peptidase A21-like capsid proteins suggests horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of these viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Viruses)
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21 pages, 2046 KiB  
Review
Ocular Manifestations of Flavivirus Infections
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1457; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121457 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1782
Abstract
Flaviviruses are a group of positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses predominantly transmitted by arthropods (mainly mosquitoes) that cause severe endemic infections and epidemics on a global scale. They represent a major cause of systemic morbidity and death and are expanding worldwide. Among this group, [...] Read more.
Flaviviruses are a group of positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses predominantly transmitted by arthropods (mainly mosquitoes) that cause severe endemic infections and epidemics on a global scale. They represent a major cause of systemic morbidity and death and are expanding worldwide. Among this group, dengue fever, the West Nile virus, yellow fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and, recently, the Zika virus have been linked to a spectrum of ocular manifestations. These manifestations encompass subconjunctival hemorrhages and conjunctivitis, anterior and posterior uveitis (inclusive of vitritis, chorioretinitis, and retinal vasculitis), maculopathy, retinal hemorrhages, and optic neuritis. Clinical diagnosis of these infectious diseases is primarily based on epidemiological data, history, systemic symptoms and signs, and the pattern of ocular involvement. Diagnosis confirmation relies on laboratory testing, including RT-PCR and serological testing. Ocular involvement typically follows a self-limited course but can result in irreversible visual impairment. Effective treatments of flavivirus infections are currently unavailable. Prevention remains the mainstay for arthropod vector and zoonotic disease control. Effective vaccines are available only for the yellow fever virus, dengue virus, and Japanese Encephalitis virus. This review comprehensively summarizes the current knowledge regarding the ophthalmic manifestations of the foremost flavivirus-associated human diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Advances in Flavivirus and Other Arboviruses)
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8 pages, 1454 KiB  
Case Report
Concomitant Polyoma BK Virus and West Nile Virus in Renal Allografts
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1456; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121456 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 846
Abstract
Surveillance of the renal allograft recipient is essential when monitoring renal function to detect the early onset of rejection and alter therapeutic treatments to treat acute rejection or other causes and improve long-term graft function. If renal function begins to deteriorate, a renal [...] Read more.
Surveillance of the renal allograft recipient is essential when monitoring renal function to detect the early onset of rejection and alter therapeutic treatments to treat acute rejection or other causes and improve long-term graft function. If renal function begins to deteriorate, a renal biopsy is often indicated to assess the Banff grade of potential rejection or other causes, especially in the setting of polyoma BK viral load elevation. Although BK infection in the allograft is asymptomatic, reactivation of the virus is known to be associated with the acceleration of pathologic change and a poor outcome in the allograft. BK reactivation in a transplant kidney is not uncommon, and determining inflammation related to the virus versus acute rejection is paramount for appropriate immunosuppressive therapy management. We identified a concomitant polyoma BK virus and West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in two renal transplant patients which, to our knowledge, has not previously been reported. However, other concomitant infections have been reported in renal allografts including BK virus and cytomegalovirus (CMV), CMV and hepatitis C (HCV), and HCV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As WNV has become endemic in many regions of the United States, and since the transmission of the virus via transplanted organs is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, it may be prudent to consider serologic screening for WNV in living donors prior to organ procurement. Regardless, the observation we made and report here should underscore the potential for concomitant viral infections that may be masked when a renal allograft has a significant inflammatory response to BK virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Pathogens)
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14 pages, 2422 KiB  
Systematic Review
Xenophagy as a Strategy for Mycobacterium leprae Elimination during Type 1 or Type 2 Leprosy Reactions: A Systematic Review
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1455; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121455 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Background: Mycobacterium leprae is an intracellular bacillus that causes leprosy, a neglected disease that affects macrophages and Schwann cells. Leprosy reactions are acute inflammatory responses to mycobacterial antigens, classified as type1 (T1R), a predominant cellular immune response, or type2 (T2R), a humoral phenomenon, [...] Read more.
Background: Mycobacterium leprae is an intracellular bacillus that causes leprosy, a neglected disease that affects macrophages and Schwann cells. Leprosy reactions are acute inflammatory responses to mycobacterial antigens, classified as type1 (T1R), a predominant cellular immune response, or type2 (T2R), a humoral phenomenon, leading to a high number of bacilli in infected cells and nerve structures. Xenophagy is a type of selective autophagy that targets intracellular bacteria for lysosomal degradation; however, its immune mechanisms during leprosy reactions are still unclear. This review summarizes the relationship between the autophagic process and M. leprae elimination during leprosy reactions. Methods: Three databases, PubMed/Medline (n = 91), Scopus (n = 73), and ScienceDirect (n = 124), were searched. After applying the eligibility criteria, articles were selected for independent peer reviewers in August 2023. Results: From a total of 288 studies retrieved, eight were included. In multibacillary (MB) patients who progressed to T1R, xenophagy blockade and increased inflammasome activation were observed, with IL-1β secretion before the reactional episode occurrence. On the other hand, recent data actually observed increased IL-15 levels before the reaction began, as well as IFN-γ production and xenophagy induction. Conclusion: Our search results showed a dichotomy in the T1R development and their relationship with xenophagy. No T2R studies were found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neglected Mycobacterial Diseases)
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8 pages, 568 KiB  
Article
Chlortetracycline Concentration Impact on Salmonella Typhimurium Sustainability in the Presence of Porcine Gastrointestinal Tract Bacteria Maintained in Continuous Culture
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121454 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 945
Abstract
Concern exists that the continued use of antibiotics in animal feeds may lead to an increased prevalence of resistant bacteria within the host animal’s gastrointestinal tract. To evaluate the effect of chlortetracycline on the persistence of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium within a diverse [...] Read more.
Concern exists that the continued use of antibiotics in animal feeds may lead to an increased prevalence of resistant bacteria within the host animal’s gastrointestinal tract. To evaluate the effect of chlortetracycline on the persistence of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium within a diverse population of porcine cecal bacteria, we cultured a mixed population of cecal bacteria without or with added chlortetracycline. When grown at a 24 h vessel turnover rate, chlortetracycline-susceptible S. Typhimurium exhibited more than 2.5 times faster (p < 0.05) disappearance rates than theoretically expected (0.301 log10 colony-forming unit/mL per day) but did not differ whether treated or not with 55 mg of chlortetracycline/L. Chlortetracycline-resistant S. Typhimurium was not recovered from any of these cultures. When the mixed cultures were inoculated with a chlortetracycline-resistant S. Typhimurium, rates of disappearance were nearly two times slower (p < 0.05) than those observed earlier with chlortetracycline-susceptible S. Typhimurium, and cultures persisted at >2 log10 colony-forming units/mL for up to 14 days of treatment with 110 mg of chlortetracycline/L. Under the conditions of this study, chlortetracycline-resistant S. Typhimurium was competitively enabled to persist longer within the mixed populations of porcine gut bacteria than chlortetracycline-susceptible S. Typhimurium, regardless of the presence or absence of added chlortetracycline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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14 pages, 816 KiB  
Article
Evolving Clinical Manifestations and Outcomes in COVID-19 Patients: A Comparative Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Variant Waves in a Romanian Hospital Setting
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1453; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121453 - 14 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate differences in the clinical manifestations and outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in a single Romanian center during four pandemic waves determined by different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). A retrospective study on 9049 consecutive [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate differences in the clinical manifestations and outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in a single Romanian center during four pandemic waves determined by different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). A retrospective study on 9049 consecutive hospitalized adult patients was performed between 27 February 2020 and 31 March 2023. The study interval was divided into waves based on national data on SARS-CoV-2 VOCs’ circulation. Multivariate logistic regression models were built, predicting death and complications as functions of comorbidities, therapy, wave, severity form, and vaccination status, and adjusted for ages ≥65 years. Pulmonary (pneumothorax/pneumomediastinum, pulmonary embolism) and extrapulmonary complications (liver injury, acute kidney injury, ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke, myocardial infarction, and gastrointestinal bleeding) were present, more frequently in ICU hospitalized patients and with differences between waves. The highest in-hospital mortality was found in patients presenting pneumothorax/pneumomediastinum. All of the evaluated risk factors were significantly associated with death, except for obesity and the Omicron wave. Our study highlights the changing nature of COVID-19 and acknowledges the impacts of viral mutations on disease outcomes. For all four waves, COVID-19 was a severe disease with a high risk of poor outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 Variants Research and Vaccines)
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22 pages, 3751 KiB  
Article
Immune Responses in Oral Papillomavirus Clearance in the MmuPV1 Mouse Model
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121452 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced oropharyngeal cancer now exceeds HPV-induced cervical cancer, with a noticeable sex bias. Although it is well established that women have a more proficient immune system, it remains unclear whether immune control of oral papillomavirus infections differs between sexes. In the [...] Read more.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced oropharyngeal cancer now exceeds HPV-induced cervical cancer, with a noticeable sex bias. Although it is well established that women have a more proficient immune system, it remains unclear whether immune control of oral papillomavirus infections differs between sexes. In the current study, we use genetically modified mice to target CCR2 and Stat1 pathways, with the aim of investigating the role of both innate and adaptive immune responses in clearing oral papillomavirus, using our established papillomavirus (MmuPV1) infection model. Persistent oral MmuPV1 infection was detected in Rag1ko mice with T and B cell deficiencies. Meanwhile, other tested mice were susceptible to MmuPV1 infections but were able to clear the virus. We found sex differences in key myeloid cells, including macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells in the infected tongues of wild type and Stat1ko mice but these differences were not observed in CCR2ko mice. Intriguingly, we also observed a sex difference in anti-MmuPV1 E4 antibody levels, especially for two IgG isotypes: IgG2b and IgG3. However, we found comparable numbers of interferon-gamma-producing CD8 T cells stimulated by E6 and E7 in both sexes. These findings suggest that males and females may use different components of innate and adaptive immune responses to control papillomavirus infections in the MmuPV1 mouse model. The observed sex difference in immune responses, especially in myeloid cells including dendritic cell (DC) subsets, may have potential diagnostic and prognostic values for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer. Full article
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14 pages, 702 KiB  
Article
BoLA-DRB3 Polymorphism Associated with Bovine Leukemia Virus Infection and Proviral Load in Holstein Cattle in Egypt
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1451; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121451 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1372
Abstract
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is the etiological agent of enzootic bovine leukosis, the most prevalent neoplastic disease of cattle worldwide. The immune response to BLV and disease susceptibility and resistance in cattle are strongly correlated with the bovine leukocyte antigen (BoLA)- [...] Read more.
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) is the etiological agent of enzootic bovine leukosis, the most prevalent neoplastic disease of cattle worldwide. The immune response to BLV and disease susceptibility and resistance in cattle are strongly correlated with the bovine leukocyte antigen (BoLA)-DRB3 allelic polymorphism. BLV infection continues to spread in Egypt, in part because the relationships between BLV infection, proviral load in Egypt, and BoLA-DRB3 polymorphism are unknown. Here, we identified 18 previously reported alleles in 121 Holstein cows using a polymerase chain reaction sequence-based typing method. Furthermore, BoLA-DRB3 gene polymorphisms in these animals were investigated for their influence on viral infection. BoLA-DRB3*015:01 and BoLA-DRB3*010:01 were identified as susceptible and resistant alleles, respectively, for BLV infection in the tested Holsteins. In addition, BoLA-DRB3*012:01 was associated with low PVL in previous reports but high PVL in Holstein cattle in Egypt. This study is the first to demonstrate that the BoLA-DRB3 polymorphism confers resistance and susceptibility to PVL and infections of BLV in Holstein cattle in Egypt. Our results can be useful for the disease control and eradication of BLV through genetic selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnostics of Animal Viral Infectious Diseases)
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15 pages, 1372 KiB  
Review
Immune Responses Potentially Involved in the Gestational Complications of Brucella Infection
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121450 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Infection by Brucella species in pregnant animals and humans is associated with an increased risk of abortion, preterm birth, and transmission of the infection to the offspring. The pathogen has a marked tropism for the placenta and the pregnant uterus and has the [...] Read more.
Infection by Brucella species in pregnant animals and humans is associated with an increased risk of abortion, preterm birth, and transmission of the infection to the offspring. The pathogen has a marked tropism for the placenta and the pregnant uterus and has the ability to invade and replicate within cells of the maternal–fetal unit, including trophoblasts and decidual cells. Placentitis is a common finding in infected pregnant animals. Several proinflammatory factors have been found to be increased in both the placenta of Brucella-infected animals and in trophoblasts or decidual cells infected in vitro. As normal pregnancies require an anti-inflammatory placental environment during most of the gestational period, Brucella-induced placentitis is thought to be associated with the obstetric complications of brucellosis. A few studies suggest that the blockade of proinflammatory factors may prevent abortion in these cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Immune Responses to Intracellular Pathogens)
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8 pages, 1020 KiB  
Communication
Pathogenic Biofilm Removal Potential of Wild-Type Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus Strains
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1449; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121449 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 880
Abstract
The emergence of antimicrobial resistance remains one of the greatest public health concerns. Biofilm formation has been postulated as a mechanism of microbial pathogens to resist antimicrobial agents. Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and their metabolites have been proposed to combat bacterial biofilms due [...] Read more.
The emergence of antimicrobial resistance remains one of the greatest public health concerns. Biofilm formation has been postulated as a mechanism of microbial pathogens to resist antimicrobial agents. Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and their metabolites have been proposed to combat bacterial biofilms due to their antimicrobial activity. In this vein, the aim of the present study was to investigate the biofilm removal potential of cell-free supernatants (CFSs) of five wild-type Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus strains, isolated from Greek natural products, in comparison to the commercially available L. rhamnosus GG strain, against biofilms formed by common foodborne pathogens (Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Typhimurium, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus). The biofilm removal activity of LAB was assessed on a two-day-old mature biofilm using a microtiter plate-based procedure. Both non-neutralized and neutralized CFSs removed biofilms in a concentration-dependent manner. The biofilm removal activity of the non-neutralized CFSs was significantly higher compared to the neutralized CFSs, as expected, with ranges of 60–89% and 30–80%, respectively. The biofilm removal efficiency of L. rhamnosus OLXAL-3 was significantly higher among the wild-type L. rhamnosus strains tested (20–100% v/v). In conclusion, our results suggest the great potential of the application of wild-type L. rhamnosus strain’ CFSs as effective natural agents against pathogenic bacterial biofilms. Full article
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12 pages, 4077 KiB  
Article
Quorum Quenching with a Diffusible Signal Factor Analog in Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121448 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacillus associated with nosocomial infections in intensive care units, and nowadays, its acquired resistance to trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole (SXT) by sul genes within class 1 integrons is a worldwide health problem. Biofilm and motility are two of the major [...] Read more.
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacillus associated with nosocomial infections in intensive care units, and nowadays, its acquired resistance to trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole (SXT) by sul genes within class 1 integrons is a worldwide health problem. Biofilm and motility are two of the major virulence factors in this bacterium and are auto-induced by the diffusible signal factor (DSF). In recent studies, retinoids have been used to inhibit (Quorum Quenching) these virulence factors and for their antimicrobial effect. The aim was to reduce biofilm formation and motility with retinoic acid (RA) in S. maltophilia SXT-resistant strains. Eleven SXT-resistant strains and two SXT-susceptible strains were tested for biofilm formation/reduction and planktonic/sessile cell viability with RA and SXT-MIC50/RA; motility (twitching, swimming, swarming) was measured with/without RA; and MLST typing was determined. The biofilm formation of the strains was classified as follows: 15.38% (2/13) as low, 61.54% (8/13) as moderate, and 23.08% (3/13) as high. It was significantly reduced with RA and SXT-MIC50/RA (p < 0.05); cell viability was not significantly reduced with RA (p > 0.05), but it was with SXT-MIC50/RA (p < 0.05); and swimming (p < 0.05) and swarming (p < 0.05) decreased significantly. MLST typing showed the first and novel strains of Mexican S. maltophilia registered in PubMLST (ST479-485, ST497, ST23, ST122, ST175, ST212, and ST300). In conclusion, RA reduced biofilm formation and motility without affecting cell viability; furthermore, antimicrobial synergism with SXT-MIC50/RA in different and novel STs of S. maltophilia was observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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18 pages, 2683 KiB  
Article
Antibiotic Resistance Genes, Virulence Factors, and Biofilm Formation in Coagulase-Negative Staphylococcus spp. Isolates from European Hakes (Merluccius merluccius, L.) Caught in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121447 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 998
Abstract
The indiscriminate use of antibiotics has contributed to the dissemination of multiresistant bacteria, which represents a public health concern. The aim of this work was to characterize 27 coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) isolated from eight wild Northeast Atlantic hakes (Merluccius merluccius, L.) [...] Read more.
The indiscriminate use of antibiotics has contributed to the dissemination of multiresistant bacteria, which represents a public health concern. The aim of this work was to characterize 27 coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) isolated from eight wild Northeast Atlantic hakes (Merluccius merluccius, L.) and taxonomically identified as Staphylococcus epidermidis (n = 16), Staphylococcus saprophyticus (n = 4), Staphylococcus hominis (n = 3), Staphylococcus pasteuri (n = 2), Staphylococcus edaphicus (n = 1), and Staphylococcus capitis (n = 1). Biofilm formation was evaluated with a microtiter assay, antibiotic susceptibility testing was performed using the disk diffusion method, and antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants were detected by PCR. Our results showed that all staphylococci produced biofilms and that 92.6% of the isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic, mainly penicillin (88.8%), fusidic acid (40.7%), and erythromycin (37%). The penicillin resistance gene (blaZ) was detected in 66.6% (18) of the isolates, of which 10 also carried resistance genes to macrolides and lincosamides (mphC, msr(A/B), lnuA, or vgaA), 4 to fusidic acid (fusB), and 3 to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (dfrA). At least one virulence gene (scn, hla, SCCmecIII, and/or SCCmecV) was detected in 48% of the isolates. This study suggests that wild European hake destined for human consumption could act as a vector of CoNS carrying antibiotic resistance genes and/or virulence factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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18 pages, 2859 KiB  
Article
Differential Immune Responses and Underlying Mechanisms of Metabolic Reprogramming in Smooth and Rough Variants of Mycobacterium peregrinum Infections
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1446; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121446 - 13 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
Mycobacterium peregrinum (Mpgm) is a rapidly growing mycobacteria that is classified as a nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) and is commonly found in environmental sources such as soil, water, and animals. Mpgm is considered an opportunistic pathogen that causes infection in immunocompromised individuals [...] Read more.
Mycobacterium peregrinum (Mpgm) is a rapidly growing mycobacteria that is classified as a nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) and is commonly found in environmental sources such as soil, water, and animals. Mpgm is considered an opportunistic pathogen that causes infection in immunocompromised individuals or those with underlying medical conditions. Although there have been clinical reports on Mpgm, reports of the immune response and metabolic reprogramming have not been published. Thus, we studied standard Mpgm-ATCC and two clinical strains (Mpgm-S and Mpgm-R) using macrophages and mouse bone marrow-derived cells. Mpgm has two types of colony morphologies: smooth and rough. We grew all strains on the 7H10 agar medium to visually validate the morphology. Cytokine levels were measured via ELISA and real-time PCR. The changes in mitochondrial function and glycolysis in Mpgm-infected macrophages were measured using an extracellular flux analyzer. Mpgm-S-infected macrophages showed elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6, IL-12p40, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, compared to Mpgm-ATCC- and Mpgm-R-infected macrophages. Additionally, our findings revealed metabolic changes in Mpgm-ATCC and two clinical strains (Mpgm-S and Mpgm-R) during infection; significant changes were observed in the mitochondrial respiration, extracellular acidification, and the oxygen consumption of BMDMs upon Mpgm-S infection. In summary, within the strains examined, Mpgm-S displayed greater virulence, triggered a heightened immune response, and induced more profound shifts in bioenergetic metabolism than Mpgm-ATCC and Mpgm-R. This study is the first to document distinct immune responses and metabolic reorganization following Mpgm infection. These findings lay a crucial foundation for further investigations into the pathogenesis of Mpgm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM))
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6 pages, 829 KiB  
Editorial
Plasmodium vivax Malaria and G6PD Testing
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1445; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121445 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 844
Abstract
Early malaria investigators were certainly correct in classifying the species falciparum and the species vivax as belonging to the same genus, Plasmodium [...] Full article
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14 pages, 531 KiB  
Review
The Gordian Knot of C. auris: If You Cannot Cut It, Prevent It
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1444; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121444 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
Since its first description in 2009, Candida auris has, so far, resulted in large hospital outbreaks worldwide and is considered an emerging global public health threat. Exceptionally for yeast, it is gifted with a profoundly worrying invasive potential and high inter-patient transmissibility. At [...] Read more.
Since its first description in 2009, Candida auris has, so far, resulted in large hospital outbreaks worldwide and is considered an emerging global public health threat. Exceptionally for yeast, it is gifted with a profoundly worrying invasive potential and high inter-patient transmissibility. At the same time, it is capable of colonizing and persisting in both patients and hospital settings for prolonged periods of time, thus creating a vicious cycle of acquisition, spreading, and infection. It exhibits various virulence qualities and thermotolerance, osmotolerance, filamentation, biofilm formation and hydrolytic enzyme production, which are mainly implicated in its pathogenesis. Owing to its unfavorable profile of resistance to diverse antifungal agents and the lack of effective treatment options, the implementation of robust infection prevention and control (IPC) practices is crucial for controlling and minimizing intra-hospital transmission of C. auris. Rapid and accurate microbiological identification, adherence to hand hygiene, use of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), proper handling of catheters and implantable devices, contact isolation, periodical environmental decontamination, targeted screening, implementation of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs and communication between healthcare facilities about residents’ C. auris colonization status are recognized as coherent strategies for preventing its spread. Current knowledge on C. auris epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and its mechanisms of pathogenicity are summarized in the present review and a comprehensive overview of IPC practices ensuring yeast prevention is also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research on Hospital-Acquired Bloodstream Infections)
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13 pages, 1941 KiB  
Article
Dynamics of Cardicola spp. Infection in Ranched Southern Bluefin Tuna: First Observation of C. orientalis at Transfer
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1443; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121443 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Aporocotylid blood flukes Cardicola forsteri and C. orientalis are an ongoing health concern for the Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii, SBT) industry, where infections can lead to morbidity and mortality in ranched SBT populations. This study compared blood fluke infection in SBT [...] Read more.
Aporocotylid blood flukes Cardicola forsteri and C. orientalis are an ongoing health concern for the Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii, SBT) industry, where infections can lead to morbidity and mortality in ranched SBT populations. This study compared blood fluke infection in SBT from two companies during the 2021 ranching season. Both companies administered the same dosage of praziquantel approximately 5 weeks after transfer, feeding with frozen baitfish daily; the only difference in the company’s practices was that the pontoons were located 2.5 km apart. Infection severity was measured as prevalence and intensity by quantifying adult C. forsteri in SBT heart and copy numbers of C. forsteri and C. orientalis ITS-2 DNA in SBT heart and gills. Data from the 2018 and 2019 harvests of SBT were used to make comparisons with 2021 harvest data. Cardicola orientalis was detected at transfer and no longer detected after treatment with praziquantel. Cardicola spp. were present in 83% of sampled SBT in 2021. Both companies demonstrated similar patterns of infection, and Company A had higher prevalence and intensity of Cardicola spp. infection. Based on C. forsteri ITS-2 DNA, infection intensity at harvest was significantly greater for both companies in 2021 when compared to 2018 and 2019. Continued monitoring of Cardicola spp. in SBT and improvements in diagnostics contribute to our understanding of Cardicola spp. epizootiology and the detection of changes in treatment efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitic Pathogens)
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17 pages, 3404 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Sporulation in Bacillus cereus Biovar anthracis Which Contains an Insertion in the Gene for the Sporulation Factor σK
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1442; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121442 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis (Bcbva) is an untypical pathogen causing a fatal anthrax-like disease in a variety of wildlife species in African rainforest areas. In contrast to Bacillus anthracis and most species of the B. cereus group, all strains of the [...] Read more.
Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis (Bcbva) is an untypical pathogen causing a fatal anthrax-like disease in a variety of wildlife species in African rainforest areas. In contrast to Bacillus anthracis and most species of the B. cereus group, all strains of the Bcbva cluster contain a 22 kb insertion in the sigK gene which encodes the essential late sporulation sigma factor σK. This insertion is excised during sporulation in a site-specific recombination process resulting in an intact sigK gene and a circular molecule. The sporulation kinetics of two strains each of Bcbva and B. anthracis were compared by the expression analysis of eight sporulation-associated genes, including sigK, using reverse transcriptase quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, morphological sporulation stages were analyzed and quantified by electron microscopy. Our results indicated that the necessary excision of the insertion in Bcbva neither delayed nor inhibited its sporulation. In two spontaneous mutants of Bcbva, the excision of the sigK insertion and sporulation were impeded due to mutations in the spo0A and spoVG regulator genes, respectively. The spo0A frameshift mutation was overcome by intragenic suppression in a revertant which was able to sporulate normally, despite an M171S amino acid exchange in the global regulator Spo0A. A screening of the NCBI database identified further strains of the B. cereus group which possess unrelated insertions in the sigK gene, and two strains containing almost identical insertions at the same gene position. Some of the sigK insertions encode putative prophages, whereas the Bcbva insertion encoded a type I restriction–modification system. The function of these insertions and if they are possibly essential for sporulation remains to be assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthrax—a Threat beyond Bacillus anthracis)
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15 pages, 2308 KiB  
Review
Recent Developments in Lateral Flow Assays for Salmonella Detection in Food Products: A Review
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1441; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121441 - 13 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1073
Abstract
Salmonellosis is a disease transmitted by contaminated food and is one of the leading causes of infections worldwide, making the early detection of Salmonella of crucial importance for public health. However, current detection methods are laborious and time-consuming, thus impacting the entire food [...] Read more.
Salmonellosis is a disease transmitted by contaminated food and is one of the leading causes of infections worldwide, making the early detection of Salmonella of crucial importance for public health. However, current detection methods are laborious and time-consuming, thus impacting the entire food supply chain and leading to production losses and economic sanctions. To mitigate these issues, a number of different biosensors have been developed, including lateral flow assays (LFAs), which have emerged as valuable tools in pathogen detection due to their portability, ease of use, time efficiency, and cost effectiveness. The performance of LFAs has been considerably enhanced by the development of new nanomaterials over the years. In this review, we address the principles and formats of the assay and discuss future prospects and challenges with an emphasis on LFAs developed for the detection of different Salmonella serovars in food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rapid Novel Diagnostics for Infectious Disease)
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17 pages, 1439 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection in Adult Cystic Fibrosis Patients—A Single Polish Centre Study
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1440; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121440 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Background: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is one of the most predominant pathogens of lung infections, often causing exacerbations in adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Materials and Methods: Microbiological characterization of 74 PA isolates and to evaluate the correlations between the bacterial features and [...] Read more.
Background: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is one of the most predominant pathogens of lung infections, often causing exacerbations in adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Materials and Methods: Microbiological characterization of 74 PA isolates and to evaluate the correlations between the bacterial features and 44 adult Polish CF cohort clinical parameters. Results: The most common variant in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene was F508del (76.3%), followed by 3849+10kbC>T (26.3%). A total of 39.4% of the PA isolates showed multiple resistances. In patients with parameters pointing to a decline in lung function, there was a statistically significant moderate correlation with β-lactam resistance and a weak correlation between hospital frequency and colistin resistance. The mucoidity did not correlate with the biofilm formation ability, which showed 41.9% of the isolates. Proteolytic activity, observed in 60.8% of the clinical isolates, was weakly associated with motility detected in 78.4% of the strains. The genetic profiles of the PA were highly heterogeneous, and a weak positive correlation was established between cluster group and biofilm formation. Conclusion: The findings suggest that there is a high variety in P. aeruginosa populations in adult CF patients. There is a need to monitor PA strains in groups of patients with cystic fibrosis, in particular, in terms of the occurrence of antibiotic resistance related to a decline in lung function. Full article
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19 pages, 1503 KiB  
Article
Extrapulmonary and Drug-Resistant Childhood Tuberculosis: Unveiling the Disease to Adopt the Optimal Treatment Strategy
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1439; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121439 - 12 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
Paediatric tuberculosis (TB) is a substantial threat among infectious diseases, particularly considering the high risk of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB), severe forms of the disease, and the spreading of drug-resistant strains. Describing the characteristics of children with EPTB and those with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) [...] Read more.
Paediatric tuberculosis (TB) is a substantial threat among infectious diseases, particularly considering the high risk of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB), severe forms of the disease, and the spreading of drug-resistant strains. Describing the characteristics of children with EPTB and those with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and analysing the role of second-line drugs could facilitate the management of these cases. This retrospective study was conducted on 271 children diagnosed with active TB disease (44 EPTB cases, 9 DR-TB cases), originating from diverse geographic areas, who were referred to the infectious disease unit at Meyer Children’s Hospital, Florence, Italy, from 2006 to 2022. In most patients, the management of therapies was complicated by the impossibility to obtain drug susceptibility testing (DST) results, which improved over the years: 17/154 (11.04%) children had DST results between 2006 and 2013, and 50/117 (42.73%, p < 0.001) between 2014 and 2022. Second-line drugs were not exclusively administered to DR-TB cases, but also to EPTB cases (20/44, 45.45%). Drugs were generally well tolerated; adverse events occurred in 13 children (13/271, 4.80%) and were generally mild and reversable. Therapies were successful in 267 children (98.52%) considered cured, while 4 (1.48%) presented sequelae. Both univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate factors associated with EPTB, DR-TB, and second-line drugs administration. Originating from Asia emerged as a risk factor associated with both EPTB and DR-TB (p = 0.013 and p = 0.045, respectively). The introduction of GeneXpert tests has significantly improved TB diagnosis and the obtaining of DST results. The administration of second-line therapies should be limited primarily to DR-TB cases, but it is possible that these drugs may also be beneficial in selected EPTB cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neglected Mycobacterial Diseases)
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12 pages, 346 KiB  
Article
Next-Generation Sequencing-Based Monitoring of Intestinal Bacteria and Bacteriophages Following Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121438 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 882
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are associated with persistent intestinal dysfunction preceded by gut bacterial dysbiosis. There are limited data on intestinal bacteriophages in these conditions. The aim of the present work was to detect associations between dominant intestinal [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are associated with persistent intestinal dysfunction preceded by gut bacterial dysbiosis. There are limited data on intestinal bacteriophages in these conditions. The aim of the present work was to detect associations between dominant intestinal bacteria by means of 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and some clinically significant viruses detected with a customized primer panel for NGS-based study. The clinical group included patients with Crohn’s disease (IBD, n = 9), or GVHD (n = 6) subjected to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from healthy donors. The stool specimens were taken initially, and 5 times post-FMT until day 120. Using NGS approach, we have found a higher abundance of Proteobacterota phylum in GVHD, especially, at later terms post-FMT. Moreover, we found an early increase of Klebsiella and E. coli/Shigella abundance in GVHD, along with decreased relative content of Faecalibacterium. Upon evaluation of intestinal phageome, the relative amount of Caudoviricetes class was higher in GVHD. A significant correlation was found between Proteobacteria and Caudoviricetes, thus suggesting their association during the post-FMT period. Moreover, the relative amounts of five Caudoviricetes phage species showed distinct correlations with Klebsiella and Enterococcus ratios at different terms of FMT. In conclusion, parallel use of 16S rRNA gene sequencing and targeted NGS viral panel is a feasible and useful option for tracing specific viral strains in fecal microbiota. The developed array of viral primers may be extended to detect other phages infecting the clinically relevant bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease)
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23 pages, 1465 KiB  
Review
The Diverse Pathogenicity of Various Babesia Parasite Species That Infect Dogs
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1437; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121437 - 11 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
Babesia species infect a very wide range of mammal hosts across the globe, and zoonotic infections are of growing concern. Several species of the Babesia genus infect dogs, and some of these cause significant morbidity and mortality. The Apicomplexan parasite resides within the [...] Read more.
Babesia species infect a very wide range of mammal hosts across the globe, and zoonotic infections are of growing concern. Several species of the Babesia genus infect dogs, and some of these cause significant morbidity and mortality. The Apicomplexan parasite resides within the red cell and infections result in direct damage to the host through intra- and extravascular hemolysis. An exuberant inflammatory response by the host to some species of Babesia parasites also results in significant collateral damage to the host. Canine infections have been the subject of many studies as the well-being of these companion animals is increasingly threatened by the spread of tick vectors and an increasingly mobile dog population. There are currently no widely available and effective vaccines, and effective treatment can be challenging. Understanding disease pathogenesis underlies the development of new treatments. The varying pathogenicity of the various Babesia parasite species that infect dogs offers an opportunity to explore the molecular basis for the wide range of diseases caused by infection with this parasite genus. In this review, we focus on what has been reported about the clinical presentation of Babesia-infected dogs in an attempt to compare the severity of disease caused by different Babesia species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ticks & Piroplasms: Updates and Emerging Challenges)
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31 pages, 8392 KiB  
Article
First Report of Colletotrichum fructicola, C. rhizophorae sp. nov. and C. thailandica sp. nov. on Mangrove in Thailand
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1436; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121436 - 10 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 906
Abstract
Colletotrichum, a genus within the phylum Ascomycota (Fungi) and family Glomerellaceae are important plant pathogens globally. In this paper, we detail four Colletotrichum species found in mangrove ecosystems. Two new species, Colletotrichum rhizophorae and C. thailandica, and a new host record for Colletotrichum fructicola [...] Read more.
Colletotrichum, a genus within the phylum Ascomycota (Fungi) and family Glomerellaceae are important plant pathogens globally. In this paper, we detail four Colletotrichum species found in mangrove ecosystems. Two new species, Colletotrichum rhizophorae and C. thailandica, and a new host record for Colletotrichum fructicola were identified in Thailand. Colletotrichum tropicale was collected from Taiwan’s mangroves and is a new record for Rhizophora mucronata. These identifications were established through a combination of molecular analysis and morphological characteristics. This expanded dataset for Colletotrichum enhances our understanding of the genetic diversity within this genus and its associations with mangrove ecosystems. The findings outlined herein provide data on our exploration of mangrove pathogens in Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filamentous Fungal Pathogens: 2nd Edition)
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9 pages, 1389 KiB  
Communication
EBV Reactivation in Transplant Recipients following SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Retrospective Study
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121435 - 10 Dec 2023
Viewed by 932
Abstract
Reactivation and primary infection with a high Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) DNA level in kidney transplant patients could cause severe complications, including the development of Post-Transplantation Lymphoproliferative Disease (PTLD). While in the general population the reactivation of EBV after SARS-CoV-2 infection has been [...] Read more.
Reactivation and primary infection with a high Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) DNA level in kidney transplant patients could cause severe complications, including the development of Post-Transplantation Lymphoproliferative Disease (PTLD). While in the general population the reactivation of EBV after SARS-CoV-2 infection has been reported, very few data are available in transplant recipients. Our retrospective study aimed to evaluate a possible EBV reactivation in kidney transplant patients following SARS-CoV-2 infection and a possible impairment of the immune system. In addition, the effects of changes in immunosuppressive therapy on EBV DNA reactivation and vaccination were also evaluated. A total of 166 kidney transplant patients followed at the Kidney–Pancreas Transplant Ambulatory Nephrology Unit at Padova University Hospital were retrospectively considered for an observation period of 6 months from January 2020 to April 2023. EBV DNA level was measured by Rt-PCR and evaluated 6 months before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Patients’ serological states were established via quantification of anti-VCA and anti-EBNA (chemiluminescence). Patients’ immune systems were characterized by CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte ratio (flow cytometry). EBV DNA was reactivated in 50% of the 166 patients with COVID-19 who completed the study. Older patients with more severe forms of COVID-19 had higher EBV reactivation (p < 0.05). EBV reactivation significantly increased in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring hospitalization compared to patients managed at home (p < 0.001). CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte ratio was reduced in patients with a younger age of transplant (p < 0.01) and on a higher dose of steroids (p < 0.01). The results of our study confirm the role of immunodepression, especially in recent transplant patients and those on high steroids, in EBV reactivation. These results combined with the few available in the literature might contribute to providing an optimal management of immunosuppressive treatment for these patients in order to obtain an immune state unfavorable to the activation of latent viruses, including EBV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Pathogens)
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8 pages, 278 KiB  
Brief Report
Sexually Transmitted Infections in Male Patients with Urethritis
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1434; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121434 - 10 Dec 2023
Viewed by 936
Abstract
(1) Background: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in men are a significant public health problem due to the consequences they can have, such as chronic diseases, infertility, cancer, and even death. This study aimed to determine the frequency of microorganisms associated with STIs in [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in men are a significant public health problem due to the consequences they can have, such as chronic diseases, infertility, cancer, and even death. This study aimed to determine the frequency of microorganisms associated with STIs in men with urethritis attending urology consultations, and to explore their clinical correlations. (2) Methods: A population that attended the urology consultation of the University Hospital “Dr. José E. González” was studied. Written consent was obtained, and interviews and clinical history were conducted about specific risk factors identifying signs and symptoms associated with any genitourinary condition; after that, urine samples were collected. Identification of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, U. urealyticum, and M. genitalium was based on amplifying species-specific DNA fragments. (3) Results: A total of 200 patients were included. The mean age was 55 years (20–95). According to the interviews, only 32.5% (n = 65) had received prior sex education. Additionally, 75% (n = 150) do not usually use any protection during sexual intercourse. Regarding clinical factors, 69.4% (n = 138) presented burning or pain when urinating. Molecular analysis revealed the presence of C. trachomatis to be 9.5% (n = 19), with U. urealyticum at 13% (n = 26), and M. genitalium at 2% (n = 4). (4) Conclusions: This is the most extensive molecular epidemiological study of the frequency of STIs in men in Mexico in third-level care and its association with different risk factors. As reported globally, a similar frequency of C. trachomatis, U. urealyticum, and M. genitalium was detected. Full article
28 pages, 8229 KiB  
Article
In Silico Drug Repurposing Studies for the Discovery of Novel Salicyl-AMP Ligase (MbtA)Inhibitors
Pathogens 2023, 12(12), 1433; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12121433 - 09 Dec 2023
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to pose a global health challenge, exacerbated by the rise of drug-resistant strains. The development of new TB therapies is an arduous and time-consuming process. To expedite the discovery of effective treatments, computational structure-based drug repurposing has emerged as a [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to pose a global health challenge, exacerbated by the rise of drug-resistant strains. The development of new TB therapies is an arduous and time-consuming process. To expedite the discovery of effective treatments, computational structure-based drug repurposing has emerged as a promising strategy. From this perspective, conditionally essential targets present a valuable opportunity, and the mycobactin biosynthesis pathway stands out as a prime example highlighting the intricate response of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) to changes in iron availability. This study focuses on the repurposing and revival of FDA-approved drugs (library) as potential inhibitors of MbtA, a crucial enzyme in mycobactin biosynthesis in Mtb conserved among all species of mycobacteria. The literature suggests this pathway to be associated with drug efflux pumps, which potentially contribute to drug resistance. This makes it a potential target for antitubercular drug discovery. Herein, we utilized cheminformatics and structure-based drug repurposing approaches, viz., molecular docking, dynamics, and PCA analysis, to decode the intermolecular interactions and binding affinity of the FDA-reported molecules against MbtA. Virtual screening revealed ten molecules with significant binding affinities and interactions with MbtA. These drugs, originally designed for different therapeutic indications (four antiviral, three anticancer, one CYP450 inhibitor, one ACE inhibitor, and one leukotriene antagonist), were repurposed as potential MbtA inhibitors. Furthermore, our study explores the binding modes and interactions between these drugs and MbtA, shedding light on the structural basis of their inhibitory potential. Principal component analysis highlighted significant motions in MbtA-bound ligands, emphasizing the stability of the top protein–ligand complexes (PLCs). This computational approach provides a swift and cost-effective method for identifying new MbtA inhibitors, which can subsequently undergo validation through experimental assays. This streamlined process is facilitated by the fact that these compounds are already FDA-approved and have established safety and efficacy profiles. This study has the potential to lay the groundwork for addressing the urgent global health challenge at hand, specifically in the context of combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and tuberculosis (TB). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology of Mycobacterial Pathogens)
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