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Trends in Parasitology

Leah S Hohman, Nathan C Peters
The generation of an efficacious vaccine that elicits protective CD4+ T cell-mediated immunity has been elusive. The lack of a vaccine against the Leishmania parasite is particularly perplexing as infected individuals acquire life-long immunity to reinfection. Experimental observations suggest that the relationship between immunological memory and protection against Leishmania is not straightforward and that a new paradigm is required to inform vaccine design. These observations include: (i) induction of Th1 memory is a component of protective immunity, but is not sufficient; (ii) memory T cells may be protective only if they generate circulating effector cells prior to, not after, challenge; and (iii) the low-dose/high-inflammation conditions of physiological vector transmission compromises vaccine efficacy...
May 9, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Lorenz von Seidlein, Thomas J Peto, Rupam Tripura, Christopher Pell, Shunmay Yeung, Jean Marie Kindermans, Arjen Dondorp, Richard Maude
The emergence and spread of drug resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have added urgency to accelerate malaria elimination while reducing the treatment options. The remaining foci of malaria transmission are often in forests, where vectors tend to bite during daytime and outdoors, thus reducing the effectiveness of insecticide-treated bed nets. Limited periods of exposure suggest that chemoprophylaxis could be a promising strategy to protect forest workers against malaria. Here we discuss three major questions in optimizing malaria chemoprophylaxis for forest workers: which antimalarial drug regimens are most appropriate, how frequently the chemoprophylaxis should be delivered, and how to motivate forest workers to use, and adhere to, malaria prophylaxis...
May 7, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Thijs Frenken, Ramsy Agha, Dirk S Schmeller, Pieter van West, Justyna Wolinska
Aquatic zoosporic diseases are threatening global biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as economic activities. Current means of controlling zoosporic diseases are restricted primarily to chemical treatments, which are usually harmful or likely to be ineffective in the long term. Furthermore, some of these chemicals have been banned due to adverse effects. As a result, there is a need for alternative methods with minimal side-effects on the ecosystem or environment. Here, we integrate existing knowledge of three poorly interconnected areas of disease research - amphibian conservation, aquaculture, and plankton ecology - and arrange it into seven biological concepts to control zoosporic diseases...
May 7, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Wei Li, Yaoyu Feng, Monica Santin
Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common cause of human microsporidiosis and it also infects a wide range of mammals and birds worldwide. The role of animals in the transmission of this parasite to humans and its public health importance remain poorly elucidated. This review summarizes all E. bieneusi genotypes identified thus far based on sequence analysis of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) from specimens obtained from humans, domestic and wild animals, and water sources; it examines genotypes, host and geographical distribution, analyzes inter- and intragenotype group host specificity, and interprets the public health significance of genotype groups and major zoonotic genotypes, with the goal of improving our understanding of host specificity in E...
May 7, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Gabrielle A Josling, Manuel Llinás
The majority of malaria parasites during human infection are asexual and are unable to be transmitted to mosquitoes. Only sexually differentiated parasites (gametocytes) can be successfully transmitted to complete the lifecycle. In a recent study by Bancells et al. (Nat. Microbiol. 2019;4:144-154), a new route of sexual conversion is identified that does not require a prior round of replication.
April 30, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Sarah Zohdy, Tonia S Schwartz, Jamie R Oaks
Global habitat fragmentation is associated with the emergence of infectious diseases of wildlife origins in human populations. Despite this well-accepted narrative, the underlying mechanisms driving this association remain unclear. We introduce a nuanced hypothesis, the 'coevolution effect'. The central concept is that the subdivision of host populations which occurs with habitat fragmentation causes localized coevolution of hosts, obligate parasites, and pathogens which act as 'coevolutionary engines' within each fragment, accelerating pathogen diversification, and increasing pathogen diversity across the landscape...
April 30, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Konstans Wells, Nicholas J Clark
Host specificity encompasses the range and diversity of host species that a parasite is capable of infecting and is considered a crucial measure of a parasite's potential to shift hosts and trigger disease emergence. Yet empirical studies rarely consider that regional observations only reflect a parasite's 'realized' host range under particular conditions: the true 'fundamental' range of host specificity is typically not approached. We provide an overview of challenges and directions in modelling host specificity under variable environmental conditions...
April 29, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Jessica M Bryant, Sebastian Baumgarten, Lucy Glover, Sebastian Hutchinson, Najma Rachidi
CRISPR/Cas9 technology has been developing rapidly in the field of parasitology, allowing for the dissection of molecular processes with unprecedented efficiency. Optimization and implementation of a new technology like CRISPR, especially in nonmodel organisms, requires communication and collaboration throughout the field. Recently, a 'CRISPR in Parasitology' symposium was held at the Institut Pasteur Paris, bringing together scientists studying Leishmania, Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, and Anopheles. Here we share technological advances and challenges in using CRISPR/Cas9 in the parasite and vector systems that were discussed...
April 18, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Laura C Multini, Mauro T Marrelli, John C Beier, André B B Wilke
Extra-Amazonian malaria has been reported to be endemic in Brazil since the end of the 19th century. Currently, only a few cases are reported annually. However, recent findings of unexpected Plasmodium infections with uncertain transmission cycles in the Extra-Amazonian region could pose a threat to the malaria elimination agenda in Brazil.
April 18, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Frida Ben-Ami
In most species, variation in age among individuals is the strongest and most visible form of phenotypic variation. Individual-level age effects on disease traits, caused by differences in the age at exposure of the host or its parents, have been widely documented in invertebrates. They can influence diverse traits, such as host susceptibility, virulence, parasite reproduction and further transmission, and may cascade to the population level, influencing disease prevalence and within-host competition. Here, I summarize what is known about the relationship between individual-level age/stage effects and infectious disease in invertebrates...
April 16, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Brendan Elsworth, Caroline D Keroack, Manoj T Duraisingh
The malaria parasite must digest host cytoplasm for normal growth, and many studies have revealed the essential role of proteases in hemoglobin digestion. Here, we discuss the results of Jonscher et al. (Cell Host Microbe 2019;25:166-173) who have, for the first time, identified a molecule, VPS45, involved in the uptake and trafficking of host cytoplasm to the digestive vacuole.
April 16, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Megan A Greischar, Sarah E Reece, Nicholas J Savill, Nicole Mideo
Malaria infection is often accompanied by periodic fevers, triggered by synchronous cycles of parasite replication within the host. The degree of synchrony in parasite development influences the efficacy of drugs and immune defenses and is therefore relevant to host health and infectiousness. Synchrony is thought to vary over the course of infection and across different host-parasite genotype or species combinations, but the evolutionary significance - if any - of this diversity remains elusive. Standardized methods are lacking, but the most common metric for quantifying synchrony is the percentage of parasites in a particular developmental stage...
April 2, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Lilach Sheiner, Omar S Harb
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 1, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Vern B Carruthers
Although many cellular components of the Ca2+ signaling pathway dictating Toxoplasma gondii egress have been identified, whether the parasite secretes protein activators of this pathway remained unknown. Bisio et al. (Nat. Microbiol. 2019;4:420-428) identify a parasite-secreted diacylglycerol kinase as a key upstream activator of signaling for 'programmed' egress from host cells.
April 1, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Isabelle Coppens
Drosophila flies can be infected by an obligate fungal intracellular parasite, Tubulinosema ratisbonensis, resulting in a swollen abdomen and often death. Within the fly, the parasite multiplies in the cytoplasm of adipocytes of the fat body, feeds on host lipid droplets, and has a specific requirement for dietary phosphatidic acid.
March 28, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Sharon Hill, Rickard Ignell
Targeting the internal regulation of mosquito's human-seeking capacity provides a novel means for vector control. Mosquitoes bite us to obtain blood in order to develop their eggs. Professor Vosshall and colleagues (Cell 2019;176:687-701) have exploited the modulatory pathway to control this hunger for blood by designing drugs based on human diet-suppression pharmaceuticals.
March 22, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Francisco Aresta-Branco, Esteban Erben, F Nina Papavasiliou, C Erec Stebbins
Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African trypanosomiasis, avoids immunity by periodically switching its surface composition. The parasite is coated by 10 million identical, monoallelically expressed variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) molecules. Multiple distinct parasites (with respect to their VSG coat) coexist simultaneously during each wave of parasitemia. This substantial antigenic load is countered by B cells whose antigen receptors (antibodies or immunoglobulins) are also monoallelically expressed, and that diversify dynamically to counter each variant antigen...
February 27, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Daria Kokova, Oleg A Mayboroda
This contribution makes a critical assessment of the metabolomics application to helminthic infection research. To ensure a cross-comparison of the results published by different laboratories over a period of almost two decades, we restrict the discussion to only the publications where nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is used as the analytical platform. We review the metabolites consistently reported for the body fluids of animals infected with the parasitic helminths and the characteristic metabolic patterns, arguing that the field needs a complete integration of metabolomics into research lines that examine host-helminth interactions...
February 26, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Jenő Reiczigel, Marco Marozzi, Ibolya Fábián, Lajos Rózsa
The aggregated distributions of host-parasite systems require several different infection parameters to characterize them. We advise readers how to choose infection indices with clear and distinct biological interpretations, and recommend statistical tests to compare them across samples. A user-friendly and free software is available online to overcome technical difficulties.
April 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Mariana De Niz, Florentin Spadin, Matthias Marti, Jens V Stein, Martin Frenz, Friedrich Frischknecht
Animal models have for long been pivotal for parasitology research. Over the last few years, techniques such as intravital, optoacoustic and magnetic resonance imaging, optical projection tomography, and selective plane illumination microscopy developed promising potential for gaining insights into host-pathogen interactions by allowing different visualization forms in vivo and ex vivo. Advances including increased resolution, penetration depth, and acquisition speed, together with more complex image analysis methods, facilitate tackling biological problems previously impossible to study and/or quantify...
March 2019: Trends in Parasitology
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