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Pathogens, Volume 12, Issue 6 (June 2023) – 107 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Neuromeningeal cryptococcosis is a life-threatening infection of the central nervous system, caused by encapsulated yeast belonging to the Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii species complexes. There is an increase in resistance to fluconazole for yeasts of the C. gattii species complex, and the virulence is variable according to the genotype. We demonstrated that fluconazole-induced resistant strains are less virulent when compared to the original susceptible strains. In contrast, the clinically resistant strain maintains its virulence compared to fluconazole-susceptible strains of the same sequence type. View this paper
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14 pages, 734 KiB  
Review
Insect Meals and Insect Antimicrobial Peptides as an Alternative for Antibiotics and Growth Promoters in Livestock Production
by Ewelina Patyra and Krzysztof Kwiatek
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060854 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1819
Abstract
The extensive use of antibiotics in animal production has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and the search for alternative antimicrobial agents in animal production. One such compound may be antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are characterized by, among others, a wide range [...] Read more.
The extensive use of antibiotics in animal production has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and the search for alternative antimicrobial agents in animal production. One such compound may be antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are characterized by, among others, a wide range of biocidal activity. According to scientific data, insects produce the largest number of antimicrobial peptides, and the changing EU legislation has allowed processed animal protein derived from insects to be used in feed for farm animals, which, in addition to a protein supplement, may prove to be an alternative to antibiotics and antibiotic growth promoters due to their documented beneficial impact on livestock health. In animals that were fed feeds with the addition of insect meals, changes in their intestinal microbiota, strengthened immunity, and increased antibacterial activity were confirmed to be positive effects obtained thanks to the insect diet. This paper reviews the literature on sources of antibacterial peptides and the mechanism of action of these compounds, with particular emphasis on insect antibacterial peptides and their potential impact on animal health, and legal regulations related to the use of insect meals in animal nutrition. Full article
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17 pages, 2003 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Effect of Plectranthus amboinicus L. Leaf Extracts on the Bacterial Antioxidant System and Cell Membrane Integrity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA01 and Staphylococcus aureus NCTC8325
by Sheeba Sawant, Timothy C. Baldwin, Oliwia Metryka and Ayesha Rahman
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 853; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060853 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1678
Abstract
Plectranthus amboinicus (Indian borage) has been extensively studied for its medicinal properties, which can be exploited to develop new antimicrobial therapeutics. The current study investigated the effect of Plectranthus amboinicus leaf extracts on the catalase activity, reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, cytoplasmic membrane [...] Read more.
Plectranthus amboinicus (Indian borage) has been extensively studied for its medicinal properties, which can be exploited to develop new antimicrobial therapeutics. The current study investigated the effect of Plectranthus amboinicus leaf extracts on the catalase activity, reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, cytoplasmic membrane permeability, and efflux pump activity in S. aureus NCTC8325 and P. aeruginosa PA01. As the enzyme catalase protects bacteria against oxidative stress, disruption of its activity creates an imbalance in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, which subsequently oxidizes lipid chains, leading to lipid peroxidation. In addition, bacterial cell membranes are a potential target for new antibacterial agents, as efflux pump systems play a crucial role in antimicrobial resistance. Upon exposure of the microorganisms to Indian borage leaf extracts, the observed catalase activity decreased by 60% and 20% in P. aeruginosa and S. aureus, respectively. The generation of ROS can cause oxidation reactions to occur within the polyunsaturated fatty acids of the lipid membranes and induce lipid peroxidation. To investigate these phenomena, the increase in ROS activity in P. aeruginosa and S. aureus was studied using H2DCFDA, which is oxidized to 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein (DCF) by ROS. Furthermore, the concentration of lipid peroxidation product (malondialdehyde) was assessed using the Thiobarbituric acid assay and was shown to increase by 42.4% and 42.5% in P. aeruginosa and S. aureus, respectively. The effect of the extracts on the cell membrane permeability was monitored using diSC3-5 dye and it was observed that the cell membrane permeability of P. aeruginosa increased by 58% and of S. aureus by 83%. The effect on efflux pump activity was investigated using Rhodamine-6-uptake assay, which displayed a decrease in efflux activity of 25.5% in P. aeruginosa and 24.2% in S. aureus after treatment with the extracts. This combination of different methods to study various bacterial virulence factors provides a more robust, mechanistic understanding of the effect of P. amboinicus extracts on P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. This study thus represents the first report of the assessment of the effect of Indian borage leaf extracts on bacterial antioxidant systems and bacterial cell membranes, and can facilitate the future development of bacterial resistance modifying agents derived from P. amboinicus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Treatment of Biofilm Infections)
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19 pages, 3109 KiB  
Article
TRIM16 Overexpression in HEK293T Cells Results in Cell Line-Specific Antiviral Activity
by Lance R. Nigos, Nichollas E. Scott, Andrew G. Brooks, Malika Ait-Goughoulte, Sarah L. Londrigan, Patrick. C. Reading and Rubaiyea Farrukee
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 852; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060852 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Host cell restriction factors are intracellular proteins that can inhibit virus replication. Characterisation of novel host cell restriction factors can provide potential targets for host-directed therapies. In this study, we aimed to assess a member of the Tripartite-motif family protein (TRIM) family, TRIM16, [...] Read more.
Host cell restriction factors are intracellular proteins that can inhibit virus replication. Characterisation of novel host cell restriction factors can provide potential targets for host-directed therapies. In this study, we aimed to assess a member of the Tripartite-motif family protein (TRIM) family, TRIM16, as a putative host cell restriction factor. To this end, we utilized constitutive or doxycycline-inducible systems to overexpress TRIM16 in HEK293T epithelial cells and then tested for its ability to inhibit growth by a range of RNA and DNA viruses. In HEK293T cells, overexpression of TRIM16 resulted in potent inhibition of multiple viruses, however, when TRIM16 was overexpressed in other epithelial cell lines (A549, Hela, or Hep2), virus inhibition was not observed. When investigating the antiviral activity of endogenous TRIM16, we report that siRNA-mediated knockdown of TRIM16 in A549 cells also modulated the mRNA expression of other TRIM proteins, complicating the interpretation of results using this method. Therefore, we used CRISPR/Cas9 editing to knockout TRIM16 in A549 cells and demonstrate that endogenous TRIM16 did not mediate antiviral activity against the viruses tested. Thus, while initial overexpression in HEK293T cells suggested that TRIM16 was a host cell restriction factor, alternative approaches did not validate these findings. These studies highlight the importance of multiple complementary experimental approaches, including overexpression analysis in multiple cell lines and investigation of the endogenous protein, when defining host cell restriction factors with novel antiviral activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Intrinsic Innate Responses to Viral Infections)
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21 pages, 1445 KiB  
Review
An Overview of Angiostrongylus cantonensis (Nematoda: Angiostrongylidae), an Emerging Cause of Human Angiostrongylosis on the Indian Subcontinent
by Divakaran Pandian, Tomáš Najer and David Modrý
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060851 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3461
Abstract
Human angiostrongylosis is an emerging zoonosis caused by the larvae of three species of metastrongyloid nematodes of the genus Angiostrongylus, with Angiostrongylus cantonensis (Chen, 1935) being dominant across the world. Its obligatory heteroxenous life cycle includes rats as definitive hosts, mollusks as intermediate [...] Read more.
Human angiostrongylosis is an emerging zoonosis caused by the larvae of three species of metastrongyloid nematodes of the genus Angiostrongylus, with Angiostrongylus cantonensis (Chen, 1935) being dominant across the world. Its obligatory heteroxenous life cycle includes rats as definitive hosts, mollusks as intermediate hosts, and amphibians and reptiles as paratenic hosts. In humans, the infection manifests as Angiostrongylus eosinophilic meningitis (AEM) or ocular form. Since there is no comprehensive study on the disease in the Indian subcontinent, our study aims at the growing incidence of angiostrongylosis in humans, alongside its clinical course and possible causes. A systematic literature search revealed 28 reports of 45 human cases from 1966 to 2022; eosinophilic meningitis accounted for 33 cases (75.5%), 12 cases were reported as ocular, 1 case was combined, and 1 case was unspecified. The presumed source of infection was reported in 5 cases only. Importantly, 22 AEM patients reported a history of eating raw monitor lizard (Varanus spp.) tissues in the past. As apex predators, monitor lizards accumulate high numbers of L3 responsible for acute illness in humans. For ocular cases, the source was not identified. Most cases were diagnosed based on nematode findings and clinical pathology (primarily eosinophilia in the cerebrospinal fluid). Only two cases were confirmed to be A. cantonensis, one by immunoblot and the other by q-PCR. Cases of angiostrongylosis have been reported in Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Telangana, and West Bengal. With a population of more than 1.4 billion, India is one of the least studied areas for A. cantonensis. It is likely that many cases remain undetected/unreported. Since most cases have been reported from the state of Kerala, further research may focus on this region. Gastropods, amphibians, and reptiles are commonly consumed in India; however, typical preparation methods involve cooking, which kills the nematode larvae. In addition to studying rodent and mollusk hosts, monitor lizards can be used as effective sentinels. Sequence data are urgently needed to answer the question of the identity of Angiostrongylus-like metastrongylid nematodes isolated from all types of hosts. DNA-based diagnostic methods such as q-PCR and LAMP should be included in clinical diagnosis of suspected cases and in studies of genetic diversity and species identity of nematodes tentatively identified as A. cantonensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rat Lungworm Disease)
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21 pages, 737 KiB  
Article
Risk Factors for Hepatitis E Virus Infection and Eating Habits in Kidney Transplant Recipients
by Eva Wu, Nadine Koch, Friederike Bachmann, Marten Schulz, Evelyn Seelow, Ulrike Weber, Johannes Waiser, Fabian Halleck, Mirko Faber, Claus-Thomas Bock, Kai-Uwe Eckardt, Klemens Budde, Jörg Hofmann, Peter Nickel and Mira Choi
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060850 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1368
Abstract
There is a significant risk for ongoing and treatment-resistant courses of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in patients after solid organ transplantation. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for the development of hepatitis E, including the dietary habits of [...] Read more.
There is a significant risk for ongoing and treatment-resistant courses of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in patients after solid organ transplantation. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for the development of hepatitis E, including the dietary habits of patients. We conducted a retrospective single-center study with 59 adult kidney and combined kidney transplant recipients who were diagnosed with HEV infection between 2013 and 2020. The outcomes of HEV infections were analyzed during a median follow-up of 4.3 years. Patients were compared with a control cohort of 251 transplant patients with elevated liver enzymes but without evidence of an HEV infection. Patients’ alimentary exposures during the time before disease onset or diagnosis were assessed. Previous intense immunosuppression, especially treatment with high-dose steroids and rituximab, was a significant risk factor to acquire hepatitis E after solid organ transplantation. Only 11 out of 59 (18.6%) patients reached remission without further ribavirin (RBV) treatment. A total of 48 patients were treated with RBV, of which 19 patients (39.6%) had either viral rebounds after the end of treatment or did not reach viral clearance at all. Higher age (>60 years) and a BMI ≤ 20 kg/m2 were risk factors for RBV treatment failure. Deterioration in kidney function with a drop in eGFR (p = 0.046) and a rise in proteinuria was more common in patients with persistent hepatitis E viremia. HEV infection was associated with the consumption of undercooked pork or pork products prior to infection. Patients also reported processing raw meat with bare hands at home more frequently than the controls. Overall, we showed that the intensity of immunosuppression, higher age, a low BMI and the consumption of undercooked pork meat correlated with the development of hepatitis E. Full article
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13 pages, 1600 KiB  
Article
Estimating the Impact of Consecutive Blood Meals on Vector Competence of Aedes albopictus for Chikungunya Virus
by Eva Veronesi, Anca Paslaru, Julia Ettlin, Damiana Ravasi, Eleonora Flacio, Matteo Tanadini and Valeria Guidi
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060849 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1015
Abstract
The continuous expansion of Aedes albopictus in Europe and the increases in autochthonous arboviruses transmissions in the region urge a better understanding of the virus transmission dynamic. Recent work described enhanced chikungunya virus (CHIKV) dissemination in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes exposed to a virus-free [...] Read more.
The continuous expansion of Aedes albopictus in Europe and the increases in autochthonous arboviruses transmissions in the region urge a better understanding of the virus transmission dynamic. Recent work described enhanced chikungunya virus (CHIKV) dissemination in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes exposed to a virus-free blood meal three days after their infection with CHIKV. Our study investigated the impact of a second blood meal on the vector competence of Ae. albopictus from southern Switzerland infected with CHIKV. Seven-day-old Ae. albopictus females were exposed to CHIKV-spiked blood and incubated at constant (27 °C) and fluctuating (14–28 °C) temperatures. Four days post-infection (dpi), some of these females were re-fed with a non-infectious blood meal. Virus infectivity, dissemination, transmission rate, and efficiency were investigated at seven and ten dpi. No enhanced dissemination rate was observed among females fed a second time; however, re-fed females have shown higher transmission efficiency than those fed only once after seven days post-infection and incubated under a fluctuating temperature regime. Vector competence for CHIKV was confirmed in Ae. albopictus from southern Switzerland. We did not observe an increase in dissemination rates among mosquitoes fed a second time (second blood meal), regardless of the temperature regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito-Borne Viruses)
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12 pages, 4173 KiB  
Article
Dose-Dependent Inhibitory Effect of Probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum on Streptococcus mutans-Candida albicans Cross-Kingdom Microorganisms
by Jianhang Bao, Xinyan Huang, Yan Zeng, Tong Tong Wu, Xingyi Lu, Gina Meng, Yanfang Ren and Jin Xiao
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060848 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1353
Abstract
Dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans are two major pathogens associated with dental caries. Several recent studies revealed that Lactobacillus plantarum inhibits S. mutans and C. albicans in biofilms and in a rodent [...] Read more.
Dental caries is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans are two major pathogens associated with dental caries. Several recent studies revealed that Lactobacillus plantarum inhibits S. mutans and C. albicans in biofilms and in a rodent model of dental caries. The aim of this study was to investigate the dose-dependent effect of L. plantarum against S. mutans and C. albicans in a planktonic model that simulated a high-caries-risk clinical condition. Mono-, dual-, and multi-species models were utilized, with five doses of L. plantarum (ranging from 1.0 × 104 to 1.0 × 108 CFU/mL). Real-time PCR was used to assess the expression of the virulence genes of C. albicans and S. mutans and the genes of L. plantarum. Student’s t-tests and one-way ANOVA, followed by post hoc tests, were employed to compare the cell viability and gene expression among groups. A dose-dependent inhibition on C. albicans and S. mutans was observed with increased dosages of L. plantarum. L. plantarum at 108 CFU/mL demonstrated the highest antibacterial and antifungal inhibitory effect in the dual- and multi-species models. Specifically, at 20 h, the growth of C. albicans and S. mutans was suppressed by 1.5 and 5 logs, respectively (p < 0.05). The antifungal and antibacterial effects were attenuated in lower doses of L. plantarum (104–107 CFU/mL). The expression of C. albicans HWP1 and ECE 1 genes and S. mutans lacC and lacG genes were significantly downregulated with an added 108 CFU/mL of L. plantarum (p < 0.05). The addition of 108 CFU/mL L. plantarum further inhibited the hyphae or pseudohyphae formation of C. albicans. In summary, L. plantarum demonstrated dose-dependent antifungal and antibacterial effects against C. albicans and S. mutans. L. plantarum emerged as a promising candidate for the creation of novel antimicrobial probiotic products targeting dental caries prevention. Further research is warranted to identify the functional metabolites produced by L. plantarum at different dosages when interacting with C. albicans and S. mutans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research on the Streptococcus mutans)
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16 pages, 1282 KiB  
Article
Barriers with Valve Mechanisms Are Predicted to Protect Crops from Slug Carriers of Rat Lungworm Disease
by Genevieve C. Pang, Amy T. Hou, Ryan Tamashiro, Kristin M. Mills and Lorrin W. Pang
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060847 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 801
Abstract
Angiostrongyliasis (Rat Lungworm disease) is an emerging parasitic disease caused by the ingestion of gastropods infected with the neurotropic nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The reduction of crop infestation with infected slug carriers may vary widely by protection method. We explored the application of [...] Read more.
Angiostrongyliasis (Rat Lungworm disease) is an emerging parasitic disease caused by the ingestion of gastropods infected with the neurotropic nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The reduction of crop infestation with infected slug carriers may vary widely by protection method. We explored the application of barriers with valve mechanisms, whereby selective directional forces caused a greater number of slugs to exit than enter the protected plot, leading to decreased slug population densities at a steady state. Using field data, we constructed predictive models to estimate slug population densities at a steady state in protected plots with (1) no valve effect, (2) a valve effect, (3) no valve effect with a single breach of the barrier, (4) a valve effect with a single breach of the barrier, (5) a valve effect with a constant breach of the barrier, and (6) a repelling effect. For all scenarios, plots protected using a barrier with a valve effect had consistently lower slug densities at a steady state. Our findings support the use of barriers with valve mechanisms under different conditions, and potentially in combination with other interventions to reduce the contamination of crops by slug carriers of A. cantonensis. Improving barriers extends beyond disease mitigation to economic and cultural impacts on the local farmer and consumer communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rat Lungworm Disease)
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25 pages, 3789 KiB  
Article
The Immune Response in the Uteri and Placentae of Chlamydia abortus-Infected Ewes and Its Association with Pregnancy Outcomes
by Sergio Gaston Caspe, David Andrew Ewing, Morag Livingstone, Clare Underwood, Elspeth Milne, Neil Donald Sargison, Sean Ranjan Wattegedera and David Longbottom
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060846 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1192
Abstract
The enzootic abortion of ewes, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia abortus (C. abortus), is one of the main causes of abortion in sheep. There are multiple contributory factors, including chlamydial growth, host immune response, and hormonal balance, that result in different [...] Read more.
The enzootic abortion of ewes, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia abortus (C. abortus), is one of the main causes of abortion in sheep. There are multiple contributory factors, including chlamydial growth, host immune response, and hormonal balance, that result in different pregnancy outcomes, such as abortion, the birth of weak lambs that may die, or healthy lambs. This study aimed to determine the relationship between phenotypical patterns of immune cell infiltration and different pregnancy outcomes in twin-bearing sheep (both lambs born dead; one alive and one dead; both alive) when experimentally infected with C. abortus. Both the sheep uteri and placentae were collected after parturition. All samples were analysed for specific immune cell features, including cell surface antigens and the T-regulatory (Treg) cell-associated transcription factor and cytokines, by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation. Some of these immunological antigens were evaluated in ovine reproductive tissues for the first time. Differential patterns of T helper/Treg cells revealed significant group effects in the placentae. It suggests the potential role that the balance of lymphocyte subsets may play in affecting different pregnancy outcomes in C. abortus-infected sheep. The present study provides novel detailed information about the immune responses observed at the maternofoetal interface in sheep at the time of pre-term abortion or lambing. Full article
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15 pages, 4753 KiB  
Article
Bis-Benzylisoquinoline Alkaloids Inhibit Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus by Disrupting Virus Entry
by Caisheng Zhang, Huan Chen, Liumei Sun, Pu Zhao, Chuanxiang Qi, Ying Yang, Anqi Si, Yingjuan Qian and Yong-Sam Jung
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060845 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1304
Abstract
The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), belonging to the α-coronavirus, is the causative agent of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED). Presently, protection from the existing PEDV vaccine is not effective. Therefore, anti-PEDV compounds should be studied. Berbamine (BBM), Fangchinoline (FAN), and (+)-Fangchinoline (+FAN), are [...] Read more.
The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), belonging to the α-coronavirus, is the causative agent of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED). Presently, protection from the existing PEDV vaccine is not effective. Therefore, anti-PEDV compounds should be studied. Berbamine (BBM), Fangchinoline (FAN), and (+)-Fangchinoline (+FAN), are types of bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloids that are extracted from natural medicinal plants. These bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloids have various biological activities, including antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, we found that BBM, FAN, and +FAN suppressed PEDV activity with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 9.00 µM, 3.54 µM, and 4.68 µM, respectively. Furthermore, these alkaloids can decrease the PEDV-N protein levels and virus titers in vitro. The time-of-addition assay results showed that these alkaloids mainly inhibit PEDV entry. We also found that the inhibitory effects of BBM, FAN, and +FAN on PEDV rely on decreasing the activity of Cathepsin L (CTSL) and Cathepsin B (CTSB) by suppressing lysosome acidification. Taken together, these results indicated that BBM, FAN, and +FAN were effective anti-PEDV natural products that prevented PEDV entry and may be considered novel antiviral drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Swine Viral Diseases)
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20 pages, 2305 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of Intermittent Preventive Treatment with Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine in Pregnancy: Low Coverage and High Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum dhfr-dhps Quintuple Mutants as Major Challenges in Douala, an Urban Setting in Cameroon
by Carole Else Eboumbou Moukoko, Loick Pradel Kojom Foko, Angèle Ayina, Bernard Tornyigah, Annie Rachel Epote, Ida Calixte Penda, Patricia Epee Eboumbou, Serge Bruno Ebong, Gaetan Texier, Sandrine Eveline Nsango, Lawrence Ayong, Nicaise Tuikue Ndam and Albert Same Ekobo
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060844 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1429
Abstract
Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) is a key component in the malaria control strategy implemented in Africa. The aim of this study was to determine IPTp-SP adherence and coverage, and the impact on maternal infection and birth outcomes [...] Read more.
Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) is a key component in the malaria control strategy implemented in Africa. The aim of this study was to determine IPTp-SP adherence and coverage, and the impact on maternal infection and birth outcomes in the context of widespread SP resistance in the city of Douala, Cameroon. Clinical and demographic information were documented among 888 pregnant women attending 3 health facilities, from the antenatal care visit to delivery. Positive samples were genotyped for P. falciparum gene (dhfr, dhps, and k13) mutations. The overall IPTp-SP coverage (≥three doses) was 17.5%, and 5.1% received no dose. P. falciparum prevalence was 16%, with a predominance of submicroscopic infections (89.3%). Malaria infection was significantly associated with locality and history of malaria, and it was reduced among women using indoor residual spraying. Optimal doses of IPTp-SP were significantly associated with reduced infection among newborns and women (secundiparous and multiparous), but there was no impact of IPTp-SP on the newborn bodyweight. Pfdhfr-Pfdhps quintuple mutants were over-represented (IRNI-FGKAA, IRNI-AGKAA), and sextuple mutants (IRNI-AGKAS, IRNI-FGEAA, IRNI-AGKGS) were also reported. The Pfk13 gene mutations associated with artemisinin resistance were not detected. This study highlights the role of ANC in achieving optimal SP coverage in pregnant women, the mitigated impact of IPTp-SP on malaria outcomes, and the high prevalence of multiple SP-resistant P. falciparum parasites in the city of Douala that could compromise the efficacy of IPTp-SP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitic Pathogens)
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13 pages, 2573 KiB  
Brief Report
Oral Epithelial Cells Expressing Low or Undetectable Levels of Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Are Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 Virus Infection In Vitro
by Laith Ebraham, Chuan Xu, Annie Wang, Cyril Hernandez, Nicholas Siclari, Divino Rajah, Lewins Walter, Salvatore A. E. Marras, Sanjay Tyagi, Daniel H. Fine, Carlo Amorin Daep and Theresa L. Chang
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060843 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
The oral cavity is thought to be one of the portals for SARS-CoV-2 entry, although there is limited evidence of active oral infection by SARS-CoV-2 viruses. We assessed the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to infect and replicate in oral epithelial cells. Oral gingival epithelial [...] Read more.
The oral cavity is thought to be one of the portals for SARS-CoV-2 entry, although there is limited evidence of active oral infection by SARS-CoV-2 viruses. We assessed the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to infect and replicate in oral epithelial cells. Oral gingival epithelial cells (hTERT TIGKs), salivary gland epithelial cells (A-253), and oral buccal epithelial cells (TR146), which occupy different regions of the oral cavity, were challenged with replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 viruses and with pseudo-typed viruses expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. All oral epithelial cells expressing undetectable or low levels of human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) but high levels of the alternative receptor CD147 were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Distinct viral dynamics were seen in hTERT TIGKs compared to A-253 and TR146 cells. For example, levels of viral transcripts were sustained in hTERT TIGKs but were significantly decreased in A-253 and TR146 cells on day 3 after infection. Analysis of oral epithelial cells infected by replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 viruses expressing GFP showed that the GFP signal and SARS-CoV-2 mRNAs were not evenly distributed. Furthermore, we found cumulative SARS-CoV-2 RNAs from released viruses in the media from oral epithelial cells on day 1 and day 2 after infection, indicating productive viral infection. Taken together, our results demonstrated that oral epithelial cells were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 viruses despite low or undetectable levels of hACE2, suggesting that alternative receptors contribute to SARS-CoV-2 infection and may be considered for the development of future vaccines and therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
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12 pages, 2805 KiB  
Article
Discovery of Terpenes as Novel HCV NS5B Polymerase Inhibitors via Molecular Docking
by Tomasz M. Karpiński, Marcin Ożarowski, Pedro J. Silva, Mark Stasiewicz, Rahat Alam and Abdus Samad
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060842 - 18 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1269
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a dangerous virus that is responsible for a large number of infections and deaths worldwide. In the treatment of HCV, it is important that the drugs are effective and do not have additional hepatotoxic effects. The aim of [...] Read more.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a dangerous virus that is responsible for a large number of infections and deaths worldwide. In the treatment of HCV, it is important that the drugs are effective and do not have additional hepatotoxic effects. The aim of this study was to test the in silico activity of 1893 terpenes against the HCV NS5B polymerase (PDB-ID: 3FQK). Two drugs, sofosbuvir and dasabuvir, were used as controls. The GOLD software (CCDC) and InstaDock were used for docking. By using the results obtained from PLP.Fitness (GOLD), pKi, and binding free energy (InstaDock), nine terpenes were finally selected based on their scores. The drug-likeness properties were calculated using Lipinski’s rule of five. The ADMET values were studied using SwissADME and pkCSM servers. Ultimately, it was shown that nine terpenes have better docking results than sofosbuvir and dasabuvir. These were gniditrin, mulberrofuran G, cochlearine A, ingenol dibenzoate, mulberrofuran G, isogemichalcone C, pawhuskin B, 3-cinnamyl-4-oxoretinoic acid, DTXSID501019279, and mezerein. Each docked complex was submitted to 150 ns-long molecular dynamics simulations to ascertain the binding stability. The results show that mulberrofuran G, cochlearine A, and both stereoisomers of pawhuskin B form very stable interactions with the active site region where the reaction product should form and are, therefore, good candidates for use as effective competitive inhibitors. The other compounds identified in the docking screen either afford extremely weak (or even hardly any) binding (such as ingenol dibenzoate, gniditrin, and mezerein) or must first undergo preliminary movements in the active site before attaining their stable binding conformations, in a process which may take from 60 to 80 ns (for DTXSID501019279, 3-cinnamyl-4-oxoretinoic acid or isogemichalcone C). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in HCV Research)
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11 pages, 559 KiB  
Article
Clinical Use of Intravenous Fosfomycin in Critical Care Patients in Taiwan
by Tzu-Ting Chen, Yun-Fu Chang and Yea-Chwen Wu
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060841 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1821
Abstract
This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the clinical use and side effects of fosfomycin in critically ill patients in Taiwan. Forty-two patients (mean age, 69.9 years; female, 69%) who received fosfomycin were included from a teaching hospital in Taiwan from January 2021 to [...] Read more.
This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the clinical use and side effects of fosfomycin in critically ill patients in Taiwan. Forty-two patients (mean age, 69.9 years; female, 69%) who received fosfomycin were included from a teaching hospital in Taiwan from January 2021 to December 2021. We analyzed the prescription pattern of intravenous fosfomycin and evaluated patient safety profiles, clinical successes, and microbiological cure rates. The main indication was urinary tract infections (35.6%), and the most frequently identified pathogen was Escherichia coli (18.2%). The overall clinical success was 83.4%, with one multidrug-resistant pathogen isolated from eight patients (19.0%). The average dose of fosfomycin given was 11.1 ± 5.2 g/day. The average duration of therapy was 8.7 ± 5.9 days, with a median duration of 8 days, where fosfomycin was mostly (83.3%) given in combination. Fosfomycin was given 12 hourly to a maximum number (47.6%) of cases. The incidence rates of adverse drug reactions (hypernatremia and hypokalemia) were 33.33% (14/42) and 28.57% (12/42), respectively. The overall survival rate was 73.8%. Intravenous fosfomycin may be an effective and safe antibiotic to use in combination with other drugs for empirical broad-spectrum or highly suspected multidrug-resistant infections in critically ill patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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19 pages, 1627 KiB  
Review
What about the Cytoskeletal and Related Proteins of Tapeworms in the Host’s Immune Response? An Integrative Overview
by Diana G. Ríos-Valencia, Javier Ambrosio, Rocío Tirado-Mendoza, Julio César Carrero and Juan Pedro Laclette
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060840 - 18 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1594
Abstract
Recent advances have increased our understanding of the molecular machinery in the cytoskeleton of mammalian cells, in contrast to the case of tapeworm parasites, where cytoskeleton remains poorly characterized. The pertinence of a better knowledge of the tapeworm cytoskeleton is linked to the [...] Read more.
Recent advances have increased our understanding of the molecular machinery in the cytoskeleton of mammalian cells, in contrast to the case of tapeworm parasites, where cytoskeleton remains poorly characterized. The pertinence of a better knowledge of the tapeworm cytoskeleton is linked to the medical importance of these parasitic diseases in humans and animal stock. Moreover, its study could offer new possibilities for the development of more effective anti-parasitic drugs, as well as better strategies for their surveillance, prevention, and control. In the present review, we compile the results of recent experiments on the cytoskeleton of these parasites and analyze how these novel findings might trigger the development of new drugs or the redesign of those currently used in addition to supporting their use as biomarkers in cutting-edge diagnostic tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Immunobiology of Parasitic Diseases Volume II)
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23 pages, 2419 KiB  
Review
Virulence Factors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as Modulators of Cell Death Mechanisms
by Lucero A. Ramon-Luing, Yadira Palacios, Andy Ruiz, Norma A. Téllez-Navarrete and Leslie Chavez-Galan
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060839 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6573
Abstract
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) modulates diverse cell death pathways to escape the host immune responses and favor its dissemination, a complex process of interest in pathogenesis-related studies. The main virulence factors of Mtb that alter cell death pathways are classified according to their origin [...] Read more.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) modulates diverse cell death pathways to escape the host immune responses and favor its dissemination, a complex process of interest in pathogenesis-related studies. The main virulence factors of Mtb that alter cell death pathways are classified according to their origin as either non-protein (for instance, lipomannan) or protein (such as the PE family and ESX secretion system). The 38 kDa lipoprotein, ESAT-6 (early antigen-secreted protein 6 kDa), and another secreted protein, tuberculosis necrotizing toxin (TNT), induces necroptosis, thereby allowing mycobacteria to survive inside the cell. The inhibition of pyroptosis by blocking inflammasome activation by Zmp1 and PknF is another pathway that aids the intracellular replication of Mtb. Autophagy inhibition is another mechanism that allows Mtb to escape the immune response. The enhanced intracellular survival (Eis) protein, other proteins, such as ESX-1, SecA2, SapM, PE6, and certain microRNAs, also facilitate Mtb host immune escape process. In summary, Mtb affects the microenvironment of cell death to avoid an effective immune response and facilitate its spread. A thorough study of these pathways would help identify therapeutic targets to prevent the survival of mycobacteria in the host. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunological Responses and Immune Defense Mechanisms)
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23 pages, 1287 KiB  
Review
Metallic Nanoparticles and Core-Shell Nanosystems in the Treatment, Diagnosis, and Prevention of Parasitic Diseases
by Grzegorz Król, Kamila Fortunka, Michał Majchrzak, Ewelina Piktel, Paulina Paprocka, Angelika Mańkowska, Agata Lesiak, Maciej Karasiński, Agnieszka Strzelecka, Bonita Durnaś and Robert Bucki
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 838; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060838 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1837
Abstract
The usage of nanotechnology in the fight against parasitic diseases is in the early stages of development, but it brings hopes that this new field will provide a solution to target the early stages of parasitosis, compensate for the lack of vaccines for [...] Read more.
The usage of nanotechnology in the fight against parasitic diseases is in the early stages of development, but it brings hopes that this new field will provide a solution to target the early stages of parasitosis, compensate for the lack of vaccines for most parasitic diseases, and also provide new treatment options for diseases in which parasites show increased resistance to current drugs. The huge physicochemical diversity of nanomaterials developed so far, mainly for antibacterial and anti-cancer therapies, requires additional studies to determine their antiparasitic potential. When designing metallic nanoparticles (MeNPs) and specific nanosystems, such as complexes of MeNPs, with the shell of attached drugs, several physicochemical properties need to be considered. The most important are: size, shape, surface charge, type of surfactants that control their dispersion, and shell molecules that should assure specific molecular interaction with targeted molecules of parasites’ cells. Therefore, it can be expected that the development of antiparasitic drugs using strategies provided by nanotechnology and the use of nanomaterials for diagnostic purposes will soon provide new and effective methods of antiparasitic therapy and effective diagnostic tools that will improve the prevention and reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by these diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitic Pathogens)
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11 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
Prevalence, Serotypes, Antimicrobial Resistance and Biofilm-Forming Ability of Listeria monocytogenes Isolated from Bulk-Tank Bovine Milk in Northern Greece
by Apostolos S. Angelidis, Afroditi S. Grammenou, Charalampos Kotzamanidis, Nektarios D. Giadinis, Antonios G. Zdragas and Daniel Sergelidis
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 837; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060837 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1097
Abstract
The prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in bovine bulk-tank milk (BTM) in Greece has not been previously investigated. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in bovine BTM in Greece and to characterize the isolates in terms of [...] Read more.
The prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in bovine bulk-tank milk (BTM) in Greece has not been previously investigated. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in bovine BTM in Greece and to characterize the isolates in terms of carriage of genes encoding for pathogenic determinants, assess the isolates’ biofilm-forming ability and determine their susceptibility against 12 antimicrobials. Samples (n = 138) of bovine BTM were obtained from farms located throughout Northern Greece and were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively for L. monocytogenes. Five samples (3.6%) tested positive for L. monocytogenes. The pathogen’s populations in these positive samples were below 5 CFU/mL. Most isolates belonged to the molecular serogroup “1/2a, 3a”. All isolates carried the virulence genes inlA, inlC, inlJ, iap, plcA and hlyA, but actA was detected in only three isolates. The isolates displayed weak to moderate biofilm-forming ability and distinct antimicrobial resistance profiles. All isolates were characterized as multidrug resistant, with resistance to penicillin and clindamycin being a common feature. Considering that L. monocytogenes constitutes a serious public health threat, the key findings of the study, related to the carriage of virulence genes and multidrug resistance, highlight the importance of continued monitoring of the pathogen in farm animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
15 pages, 3251 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Enterococcus spp. and the Whole-Genome Characteristics of Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis Strains Isolated from Free-Living Birds in Poland
by Renata Kwit, Magdalena Zając, Aleksandra Śmiałowska-Węglińska, Magdalena Skarżyńska, Arkadiusz Bomba, Anna Lalak, Ewelina Skrzypiec, Dominika Wojdat, Weronika Koza, Emilia Mikos-Wojewoda, Paulina Pasim, Milena Skóra, Marcin Polak, Jarosław Wiącek and Dariusz Wasyl
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060836 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1527
Abstract
Enterococci as opportunistic bacteria are important for human health. Due to the prevalence and ease of acquisition and transfer of their genes, they are an excellent indicator of environmental contamination and the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The aim of the study was to [...] Read more.
Enterococci as opportunistic bacteria are important for human health. Due to the prevalence and ease of acquisition and transfer of their genes, they are an excellent indicator of environmental contamination and the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of Enterococcus spp. in wild birds in Poland, determination of antimicrobial susceptibility and WGS analysis of Enterococcus (E.) faecium and E. faecalis. For this purpose, 138 samples from various species of free-living birds were tested, with 66.7% positive results. Fourteen species were detected, with E. faecalis being the most common, followed by E. casseliflavus and E. hirae. In antimicrobial susceptibility testing, 10.0% of E. faecalis and 50.0% of E. faecium showed resistance to one antimicrobial agent, in addition the MDR phenotype which was found in one E. faecium. The most common resistance phenotype included tetracycline and quinupristin/dalfopristin. The WGS analysis confirmed the significant advantage of the virulence gene diversity of E. faecalis strains over E. faecium. In addition, plasmid replicons were found in 42.0% of E. faecalis and 80.0% of E. faecium. The obtained results confirm free-living birds can be a reservoir of Enterococcus spp. with a considerable zoonotic potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surveillance of Zoonotic Pathogens Carried by Wildlife)
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11 pages, 1176 KiB  
Article
Neutralizing Antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 Ancestral Strain and Omicron BA.1 Subvariant in Dogs and Cats in Mexico
by Freddy Dehesa-Canseco, Roxana Pastrana-Unzueta, Nadia Carrillo-Guzmán, Francisco Liljehult-Fuentes, Juan Diego Pérez-De la Rosa, Humberto Ramírez-Mendoza, Jose Guillermo Estrada-Franco, Roberto Navarro-López, Jesús Hernández and Mario Solís-Hernández
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060835 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 mainly affects humans; however, it is important to monitor the infection of companion and wild animals as possible reservoirs of this virus. In this sense, seroprevalence studies in companion animals, such as dogs and cats, provide important information about the epidemiology of [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 mainly affects humans; however, it is important to monitor the infection of companion and wild animals as possible reservoirs of this virus. In this sense, seroprevalence studies in companion animals, such as dogs and cats, provide important information about the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2. This study aimed to evaluate the seroprevalence of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) against the ancestral strain and the Omicron BA.1 subvariant in dogs and cats in Mexico. Six hundred and two samples were obtained from dogs (n = 574) and cats (n = 28). These samples were collected from the end of 2020 to December 2021 from different regions of Mexico. The presence of nAbs was evaluated using a plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) and microneutralization (MN) assays. The results showed that 14.2% of cats and 1.5% of dogs presented nAbs against the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2. The analysis of nAbs against Omicron BA.1 in cats showed the same percentage of positive animals but a reduced titer. In dogs, 1.2% showed nAbs against Omicron BA.1. These results indicate that nAbs were more frequent in cats than in dogs and that these nAbs have a lower capacity to neutralize the subvariant Omicron BA.1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Immune Response to Zoonotic Pathogens)
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12 pages, 1185 KiB  
Article
Growth of V. parahaemolyticus in Tropical Blacklip Rock Oysters
by Anna C. Padovan, Alison R. Turnbull, Samantha J. Nowland, Matthew W. J. Osborne, Mirjam Kaestli, Justin R. Seymour and Karen S. Gibb
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060834 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
The opportunistic pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus poses a significant food safety risk worldwide, and understanding its growth in commercially cultivated oysters, especially at temperatures likely to be encountered post-harvest, provides essential information to provide the safe supply of oysters. The Blacklip Rock Oyster (BRO) [...] Read more.
The opportunistic pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus poses a significant food safety risk worldwide, and understanding its growth in commercially cultivated oysters, especially at temperatures likely to be encountered post-harvest, provides essential information to provide the safe supply of oysters. The Blacklip Rock Oyster (BRO) is an emerging commercial species in tropical northern Australia and as a warm water species, it is potentially exposed to Vibrio spp. In order to determine the growth characteristics of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in BRO post-harvest, four V. parahaemolyticus strains isolated from oysters were injected into BROs and the level of V. parahaemolyticus was measured at different time points in oysters stored at four temperatures. Estimated growth rates were −0.001, 0.003, 0.032, and 0.047 log10 CFU/h at 4 °C, 13 °C, 18 °C, and 25 °C, respectively. The highest maximum population density of 5.31 log10 CFU/g was achieved at 18 °C after 116 h. There was no growth of V. parahaemolyticus at 4 °C, slow growth at 13 °C, but notably, growth occurred at 18 °C and 25 °C. Vibrio parahaemolyticus growth at 18 °C and 25 °C was not significantly different from each other but were significantly higher than at 13 °C (polynomial GLM model, interaction terms between time and temperature groups p < 0.05). Results support the safe storage of BROs at both 4 °C and 13 °C. This V. parahaemolyticus growth data will inform regulators and assist the Australian oyster industry to develop guidelines for BRO storage and transport to maximise product quality and safety. Full article
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9 pages, 1172 KiB  
Communication
Canine Distemper Virus Infection in the Free-Living Wild Canines, the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Jackal (Canis aureus moreoticus), in Croatia
by Jelena Prpić, Ivana Lojkić, Tomislav Keros, Nina Krešić and Lorena Jemeršić
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060833 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1167
Abstract
The canine distemper virus (CDV), a paramyxovirus that is closely related to the human measles virus and rinderpest virus of cattle, is a highly contagious viral disease in dogs and wild carnivores worldwide. CDV represents a serious threat to domestic and wild animals, [...] Read more.
The canine distemper virus (CDV), a paramyxovirus that is closely related to the human measles virus and rinderpest virus of cattle, is a highly contagious viral disease in dogs and wild carnivores worldwide. CDV represents a serious threat to domestic and wild animals, especially to the conservation of endangered wild carnivores. Our study aims to investigate the occurrence of CDV in free-living wild canines in Croatia. For this purpose, 176 red foxes and 24 jackal brain samples collected in the frame of the active surveillance of rabies during winter 2021/2022 were tested. This study provided the first comprehensive overview of the prevalence and spatial distribution of CDV in the wildlife of Croatia, including the molecular phylogenetic analysis of the H gene sequence of field CDV strains circulating in red fox and jackal populations of Croatia. The molecular characterization of hemagglutinin gene genomic regions confirmed the phylogenetic clustering of obtained sequences into the Europa 1 genotype. The obtained CDV red fox sequences were mutually very similar (97.60%). This study indicates the high genetic similarity of Croatian CDV red fox sequences and CDV red fox sequences from Italy and Germany, badger sequences from Germany, polecat sequences from Hungary, and dog sequences from Hungary and Germany. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Viral Pathogens)
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17 pages, 2814 KiB  
Article
The Eradication of Helicobacter pylori Was Significantly Associated with Compositional Patterns of Orointestinal Axis Microbiota
by Sally Ali Tawfik, Marwa Azab, Mohammed Ramadan, Sarah Shabayek, Ali Abdellah, Sultan S. Al Thagfan and Mohammed Salah
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060832 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1465
Abstract
Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is significantly linked to various diseases that seriously impact human health, such as gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis and gastric adenocarcinoma. Methods: The compositional shifts in bacterial communities of the orointestinal axis were surveyed pre/post-eradication of H. [...] Read more.
Background: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is significantly linked to various diseases that seriously impact human health, such as gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis and gastric adenocarcinoma. Methods: The compositional shifts in bacterial communities of the orointestinal axis were surveyed pre/post-eradication of H. pylori. In total, 60 samples, including stool and salivary specimens, were collected from 15 H. pylori-positive individuals (HPP) before beginning and 2 months after receiving the eradication therapy. The V3-V4 regions of the 16S rRNA gene were sequenced using MiSeq. Results: Overall, oral microbiomes were collectively more diverse than the gut microbiomes (Kruskal–Wallis; p = 3.69 × 10−5). Notably, the eradication of H. pylori was associated with a significant reduction in the bacterial diversity along the orointestinal axis (Wilcoxon rank sum test; p = 6.38 × 10−3). Interestingly, the oral microbiome of HPP showed a positive correlation between Proteobacteria and Fusobacteria, in addition to a significant predominance of Streptococcus, in addition to Eubacterium_eligens, Haemophilus, Ruminococcaceae, Actinomyces and Staphylococcus. On the other hand, Fusobacterium, Veillonella, Catenibacterium, Neisseria and Prevotella were significantly enriched upon eradication of H. pylori. Generally, Bacteroidetes and Fusobacteria positively coexisted during H. pylori infection along the orointestinal axis (r = 0.67; p = 0.0006). The eradication of H. pylori was positively linked to two distinctive orotypes (O3 and O4). Orotype O4 was characterized by a robust abundance of Veillonella and Fusobacteria. The gut microbiomes during H. pylori infection showed a remarkable predominance of Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1 and Escherichia_Shigella. Likewise, Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium were significantly enriched upon eradication of H. pylori. Conclusions: Finally, the impact of eradication therapy clearly existed on the representation of certain genera, especially in the oral microbiome, which requires particular concern in order to counteract and limit their subsequent threats. Full article
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21 pages, 2459 KiB  
Article
Upregulation of Neuropilin-1 Inhibits HTLV-1 Infection
by Wesley Kendle, Kimson Hoang, Erica Korleski, Amanda R. Panfil, Nicholas Polakowski and Isabelle Lemasson
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060831 - 15 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1304
Abstract
Infection with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) can produce a spectrum of pathological effects ranging from inflammatory disorders to leukemia. In vivo, HTLV-1 predominantly infects CD4+ T-cells. Infectious spread within this population involves the transfer of HTLV-1 virus particles from [...] Read more.
Infection with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) can produce a spectrum of pathological effects ranging from inflammatory disorders to leukemia. In vivo, HTLV-1 predominantly infects CD4+ T-cells. Infectious spread within this population involves the transfer of HTLV-1 virus particles from infected cells to target cells only upon cell-to-cell contact. The viral protein, HBZ, was found to enhance HTLV-1 infection through transcriptional activation of ICAM1 and MYOF, two genes that facilitate viral infection. In this study, we found that HBZ upregulates the transcription of COL4A1, GEM, and NRP1. COL4A1 and GEM are genes involved in viral infection, while NRP1, which encodes neuropilin 1 (Nrp1), serves as an HTLV-1 receptor on target cells but has no reported function on HTLV-1-infected cells. With a focus on Nrp1, cumulative results from chromatin immunoprecipitation assays and analyses of HBZ mutants support a model in which HBZ upregulates NRP1 transcription by augmenting recruitment of Jun proteins to an enhancer downstream of the gene. Results from in vitro infection assays demonstrate that Nrp1 expressed on HTLV-1-infected cells inhibits viral infection. Nrp1 was found to be incorporated into HTLV-1 virions, and deletion of its ectodomain removed the inhibitory effect. These results suggest that inhibition of HTLV-1 infection by Nrp1 is caused by the ectodomain of Nrp1 extended from virus particles, which may inhibit the binding of virus particles to target cells. While HBZ has been found to enhance HTLV-1 infection using cell-based models, there may be certain circumstances in which activation of Nrp1 expression negatively impacts viral infection, which is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in HTLV-1 Research)
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11 pages, 2684 KiB  
Article
The Sarcoptic Mange in Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus): Mapping an Emerging Disease in the Largest South American Canid
by Flávia Fiori, Rogério Cunha de Paula, Pedro Enrique Navas-Suárez, Ricardo Luiz Pires Boulhosa and Ricardo Augusto Dias
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060830 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2249
Abstract
The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest South American canid. In Brazil, as in other countries, it is considered an endangered species. Habitat loss, landscape changes, hunting, and roadkill are the main threats to this species. In addition, invasive diseases [...] Read more.
The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest South American canid. In Brazil, as in other countries, it is considered an endangered species. Habitat loss, landscape changes, hunting, and roadkill are the main threats to this species. In addition, invasive diseases of domestic animals are considered to be an emerging threat to the maned wolf, where parasitic diseases are relevant. Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. This disease is currently almost globally distributed, with a remarkable host diversity. In Brazil, reports of sarcoptic mange in wildlife include several species, both wild and captive. However, the impact of this disease on wildlife is unknown. At the time of writing, there is only one published report of sarcoptic mange in maned wolves. This study sheds light on the occurrence of sarcoptic mange in free-ranging maned wolves in their natural range. A total of 52 cases (suspected and confirmed) of sarcoptic mange were identified through social media review, camera trapping, chemical immobilization and sample collection. These cases were distributed in southeastern Brazil, in the states of São Paulo (n = 34), Minas Gerais (n = 17), and Rio de Janeiro (n = 1), demonstrating a rapid and widespread spread of this disease, although it still only occurs in part of the species’ range. We expect that these results will help to subsidize future actions relevant to the control of this emerging disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infections in Domestic Animals)
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11 pages, 330 KiB  
Article
Small Ruminant Lentivirus Infection in Sheep and Goats in North Portugal: Seroprevalence and Risk Factors
by João Jacob-Ferreira, Ana Cláudia Coelho, Ana Grau Vila, Delia Lacasta and Hélder Quintas
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060829 - 14 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1594
Abstract
Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLVs) are transmitted among ovine and caprine species. This disease is a severe problem for small ruminant production, not only for animals’ well-being but also for flocks’ efficiency. The main aim of this research was to quantify the seroprevalence and [...] Read more.
Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLVs) are transmitted among ovine and caprine species. This disease is a severe problem for small ruminant production, not only for animals’ well-being but also for flocks’ efficiency. The main aim of this research was to quantify the seroprevalence and associated risk factors for SRLV infection in the northern region of Portugal. Samples were collected from a total of 150 flocks, of which 129 (86.0%; 95% CI: 80.67%–91.33%) had at least one seropositive animal. Out of 2607 individual blood samples, 1074 (41.2%) were positive for SRLVs. Risk factors associated with SRLV infection were species (caprine), age (>2 years old), flock size (>100 animals), production system (intensive), food production system (milk), type of activity (professional), participation in livestock competitions (yes), replacement young ewe bought (yes), and natural feeding management (yes). This knowledge empowers the implementation of effective preventive measures. Overall, biosecurity measures should be promoted and implemented with the main aim of reducing viral transmission and reducing the prevalence of this disease. We recognise that government authorities should promote and audit voluntary control and eradication programs in small ruminant flocks in the region studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women’s Special Issue Series: Pathogens)
12 pages, 842 KiB  
Article
Topical Bacteriophage Therapy for Staphylococcal Superficial Pyoderma in Horses: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
by Kalie Marshall and Rosanna Marsella
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060828 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Increased antimicrobial resistance highlights the need for alternatives to antibiotics. Bacteriophages, which are benign viruses that kill bacteria, are promising. We studied the efficacy of topical bacteriophages for treating equine staphylococcal superficial pyodermas. Eight Staphylococcus aureus isolates were tested against a bacteriophage bank, [...] Read more.
Increased antimicrobial resistance highlights the need for alternatives to antibiotics. Bacteriophages, which are benign viruses that kill bacteria, are promising. We studied the efficacy of topical bacteriophages for treating equine staphylococcal superficial pyodermas. Eight Staphylococcus aureus isolates were tested against a bacteriophage bank, and a cocktail consisting of two bacteriophages was prepared. Twenty horses with clinical and cytological evidence of superficial pyoderma and confirmed S. aureus infection based on swabbed culture were enrolled in the study. Each horse received both the bacteriophage cocktail and the placebo at two different infection sites, once daily for four weeks. Clinical lesions and cytology were evaluated weekly by an investigator who was unaware of the treatment sites. All infection sites were swabbed and cultured at the end of the study. A linear mixed model showed no significant differences between the placebo and treatment sites in terms of clinical signs, cytological scores of inflammation, and bacterial counts at the end of the study. It is possible that the bacteriophage cocktail killed S. aureus, but cytology scores did not change as new populations of cocci took over. The study limitations included a small sample size and inconsistent control of the underlying causes of pyodermas. Full article
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11 pages, 2080 KiB  
Article
Low Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in Sheep and Isolation of a Viable Strain from Edible Mutton from Central China
by Yibao Jiang, Shilin Xin, Yiheng Ma, Heng Zhang, Xu Yang and Yurong Yang
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060827 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
Sheep are highly susceptible to Toxoplasma gondii, and miscarriage is the main clinical feature. This study investigated 227 sheep samples (210 myocardial tissues from slaughterhouses, 6 ewe serum samples, 3 aborted fetuses, and 8 dead lambs from veterinary clinics) from central China [...] Read more.
Sheep are highly susceptible to Toxoplasma gondii, and miscarriage is the main clinical feature. This study investigated 227 sheep samples (210 myocardial tissues from slaughterhouses, 6 ewe serum samples, 3 aborted fetuses, and 8 dead lambs from veterinary clinics) from central China for T. gondii infection. Antibodies against T. gondii were detected using the modified agglutination test (MAT). PCR was performed to detect T. gondii DNA in the tissue samples. The results showed that four samples were seropositive (MAT titer ≥ 1:100), with a seroprevalence of 1.8% (4/227). The seropositive samples included two myocardial samples from a slaughterhouse, one ewe and its aborted fetus from a veterinary clinic. The results revealed that 7 out of 207 (3.4%) sheep tissue samples were PCR-positive, including two myocardial tissue samples from slaughterhouses, three aborted fetuses, and two lambs from veterinary clinics. Toxoplasma gondii vertical transmission had occurred in two of three pairs of ewes and her pups. One viable T. gondii strain (TgSheepCHn14) was isolated from the myocardial tissues of sheep from a slaughterhouse. Tachyzoites were obtained from cell cultures at 70 days following seeding in the brains and lungs of mice. This strain was non-lethal to Swiss mice. The number of parasite brain cysts in mice decreased with time post-infection (p < 0.05). Overall, the prevalence of T. gondii in the sheep samples was low. Although the samples were scattered, and not from planned collections, the current study detected T. gondii antibodies and DNA in aborted fetuses, indicating that vertical transmission could occur and maintain the parasites in sheep herds without exogenous infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxoplasma Infection: Current Problems, Progress and New Challenges)
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10 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
Rodents as Sentinels for Toxoplasma gondii in Rural Ecosystems in Slovakia—Seroprevalence Study
by Daniela Antolová, Michal Stanko, Júlia Jarošová and Dana Miklisová
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060826 - 12 Jun 2023
Viewed by 902
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous intracellular parasite with felids as definitive hosts and a broad range of intermediate hosts. Rodents are considered suitable sentinels for prevalence studies of many infections, including toxoplasmosis. This study aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of T. gondii in [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous intracellular parasite with felids as definitive hosts and a broad range of intermediate hosts. Rodents are considered suitable sentinels for prevalence studies of many infections, including toxoplasmosis. This study aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of T. gondii in rodents from different localities of Slovakia and investigate the correlation between the seropositivity and the species, age, sex, and sexual activity of animals. Altogether, 1009 wild rodents belonging to 9 species were trapped in 2015 and 2019, and antibodies to T. gondii were detected in 6.7% of the animals. Seropositivity was detected in seven species, ranging from 0.0% in Micromys minutus and Apodemus sylvaticus to 7.7% in A. flavicollis. The females reached significantly higher seropositivity (9.7%) than the males (3.8%), and the adults were positive significantly more often (9.2%) than the subadults (4.9%). The seropositivity differed also among localities, with significantly higher positivity detected in suburban and touristic areas (12.2%) than in localities with a lower level of human activities (5.5%). This study showed that the occurrence of T. gondii varies significantly in rodent species and habitats with various environmental conditions and different levels of anthropic use. Several biological and ecological factors, e.g., soil contamination, soil conditions, the susceptibility of rodent species etc., may influence this variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxoplasma gondii in Animals)
19 pages, 1722 KiB  
Review
Xylem Embolism and Pathogens: Can the Vessel Anatomy of Woody Plants Contribute to X. fastidiosa Resistance?
by Giambattista Carluccio, Davide Greco, Erika Sabella, Marzia Vergine, Luigi De Bellis and Andrea Luvisi
Pathogens 2023, 12(6), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12060825 - 12 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2071
Abstract
The maintenance of an intact water column in the xylem lumen several meters above the ground is essential for woody plant viability. In fact, abiotic and biotic factors can lead to the formation of emboli in the xylem, interrupting sap flow and causing [...] Read more.
The maintenance of an intact water column in the xylem lumen several meters above the ground is essential for woody plant viability. In fact, abiotic and biotic factors can lead to the formation of emboli in the xylem, interrupting sap flow and causing consequences on the health status of the plant. Anyway, the tendency of plants to develop emboli depends on the intrinsic features of the xylem, while the cyto-histological structure of the xylem plays a role in resistance to vascular pathogens, as in the case of the pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. Analysis of the scientific literature suggests that on grapevine and olive, some xylem features can determine plant tolerance to vascular pathogens. However, the same trend was not reported in citrus, indicating that X. fastidiosa interactions with host plants differ by species. Unfortunately, studies in this area are still limited, with few explaining inter-cultivar insights. Thus, in a global context seriously threatened by X. fastidiosa, a deeper understanding of the relationship between the physical and mechanical characteristics of the xylem and resistance to stresses can be useful for selecting cultivars that may be more resistant to environmental changes, such as drought and vascular pathogens, as a way to preserve agricultural productions and ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens in 2023)
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