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emerging infectious diseases - Top 30 Publications

A DNA vaccine for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever protects against disease and death in two lethal mouse models.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne virus capable of causing a severe hemorrhagic fever disease in humans. There are currently no licensed vaccines to prevent CCHFV-associated disease. We developed a DNA vaccine expressing the M-segment glycoprotein precursor gene of CCHFV and assessed its immunogenicity and protective efficacy in two lethal mouse models of disease: type I interferon receptor knockout (IFNAR-/-) mice; and a novel transiently immune suppressed (IS) mouse model. Vaccination of mice by muscle electroporation of the M-segment DNA vaccine elicited strong antigen-specific humoral immune responses with neutralizing titers after three vaccinations in both IFNAR-/- and IS mouse models. To compare the protective efficacy of the vaccine in the two models, groups of vaccinated mice (7-10 per group) were intraperitoneally (IP) challenged with a lethal dose of CCHFV strain IbAr 10200. Weight loss was markedly reduced in CCHFV DNA-vaccinated mice as compared to controls. Furthermore, whereas all vector-control vaccinated mice succumbed to disease by day 5, the DNA vaccine protected >60% of the animals from lethal disease. Mice from both models developed comparable levels of antibodies, but the IS mice had a more balanced Th1/Th2 response to vaccination. There were no statistical differences in the protective efficacies of the vaccine in the two models. Our results provide the first comparison of these two mouse models for assessing a vaccine against CCHFV and offer supportive data indicating that a DNA vaccine expressing the glycoprotein genes of CCHFV elicits protective immunity against CCHFV.

Genome-wide host RNA signatures of infectious diseases: discovery and clinical translation.

The use of whole blood gene expression to derive diagnostic biomarkers capable of distinguishing between phenotypically similar diseases holds great promise but remains a challenge. Differential gene expression analysis is used to identify the key genes that undergo changes in expression relative to healthy individuals, as well as to patients with other diseases. These key genes can act as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers of disease. Gene expression 'signatures' in the blood hold potential to be used for the diagnosis of infectious diseases, where current diagnostics are unreliable, ineffective or of limited potential. For diagnostic tests based on RNA signatures to be useful clinically, the first step is to identify the minimum set of gene transcripts that accurately identify the disease in question. The second requirement is rapid and cost effective detection of the gene expression levels. Whilst signatures have been described for a number of infectious diseases, 'clinic-ready' technologies for RNA detection from clinical samples are limited, though existing methods such as reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are likely to be superseded by a number of emerging technologies, which may form the basis of the translation of gene expression signatures into routine diagnostic tests for a range of disease states. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Status, quality and specific needs of Zika virus (ZIKV) diagnostic capacity and capability in National Reference Laboratories for arboviruses in 30 EU/EEA countries, May 2016.

With international travel, Zika virus (ZIKV) is introduced to Europe regularly. A country's ability to robustly detect ZIKV introduction and local transmission is important to minimise the risk for a ZIKV outbreak. Therefore, sufficient expertise and diagnostic capacity and capability are required in European laboratories. To assess the capacity, quality, operational specifics (guidelines and algorithms), technical and interpretation issues and other possible difficulties that were related to ZIKV diagnostics in European countries, a questionnaire was conducted among national reference laboratories in 30 countries in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in May 2016. While the coverage and capacity of ZIKV diagnostics in the EU/EEA national reference laboratories were found to be adequate, the assessment of the quality and needs indicated several crucial points of improvement that will need support at national and EU/EEA level to improve ZIKV preparedness, response and EU/EEA ZIKV surveillance activities.

Molecular targets and pathways for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis.

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) represents the most severe form of the tropical disease, leishmaniasis. Treatment of VL is complicated because of the few clinically approved antileishmanial drugs available; emerging resistance to first-line drugs; need for a temperature-controlled 'cold' supply chain; serious toxicity concerns over drugs such as Amphotericin B; high cost of medication; and unavailability of clinically approved antileishmanial vaccines. Attacking potential molecular targets, specific to the parasite, is a vital step in the treatment of this and other infectious diseases. As we discuss here, comprehensive investigation of these targets could provide a promising strategy for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis.

Importation of infectious diseases are increasing in South Korea: Association with international travels.

International travel has an important role in transmission of emerging infectious diseases. We described the imported infectious diseases in Korea from 2003 to 2012, and to analyze association of travels with the change in the incidences.

At the advancing front of Chikungunya fever in Asia: Two imported cases in Hong Kong with novel amino acid changes.

Combining CD4 recovery and CD4: CD8 ratio restoration as an indicator for evaluating the outcome of continued antiretroviral therapy: an observational cohort study.

Immune recovery following highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is commonly assessed by the degree of CD4 reconstitution alone. In this study, we aimed to assess immune recovery by incorporating both CD4 count and CD4:CD8 ratio.

Efficacy and immunogenicity of recombinant swinepox virus expressing the truncated S protein of a novel isolate of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) causes significant loss to the swine industry. The emergence of novel PEDV strains in recent years has decreased the effectiveness of PEDV vaccines. We have developed a live recombinant vaccine, a swinepox virus vector that expresses a truncated S protein (rSPV-St) from a recent PEDV strain, SQ2014, and evaluated its immunogenicity and effectiveness in a swine model. Vaccination of swine with rSPV-St elicited a robust antibody response specific for the homologous PEDV SQ2014. Serum IgA titers in rSPV-St-vaccinated animals were significantly higher than in those immunized with inactivated vaccines. The effectiveness of antibodies induced by the rSPV-St vaccine in protection against PEDV was tested in a passive-transfer model in which piglets were challenged with the homologous virus SQ2014 and the heterologous strain CV777. When challenged with the homologous virus, sera from rSPV-St vaccination provided complete protection. However, sera from rSPV-St vaccination did not provide any protection against the heterologous virus challenge. Amino acid sequence differences in the S proteins of the two viruses were identified within neutralizing epitopes, which might have contributed to the divergent clinical results. Our data suggest that rSPV-St is potentially an effective vaccine against infection with emerging PEDV strains.

Rapid, actionable diagnosis of urban epidemic leptospirosis using a pathogenic Leptospira lipL32-based real-time PCR assay.

With a conservatively estimated 1 million cases of leptospirosis worldwide and a 5-10% fatality rate, the rapid diagnosis of leptospirosis leading to effective clinical and public health decision making is of high importance, and yet remains a challenge.

Detection of Bovine Coronavirus in Healthy and Diarrheic Dairy Calves.

BCoV is identified in both healthy and diarrheic calves, complicating its assessment as a primary pathogen.

Preliminary Characterization of MEDLE-2, a Protein Potentially Involved in the Invasion of Cryptosporidium parvum.

Cryptosporidium spp. are important causes of diarrhea in humans, ruminants, and other mammals. Comparative genomic analysis indicated that genetically related and host-adapted Cryptosporidium species have different numbers of subtelomeric genes encoding the Cryptosporidium-specific MEDLE family of secreted proteins, which could contribute to differences in host specificity. In this study, a Cryptosporidium parvum-specific member of the protein family MEDLE-2 encoded by cgd5_4590 was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. Immunofluorescent staining with antibodies generated from the recombinant protein showed the expression of the protein in sporozoites and development stages. In vitro neutralization assay with the antibodies partially blocked the invasion of sporozoites. These results support the potential involvement of MEDLE-2 in the invasion of host cells.

Living systematic review: 1. Introduction-the why, what, when, and how.

Systematic reviews are difficult to keep up to date, but failure to do so leads to a decay in review currency, accuracy, and utility. We are developing a novel approach to systematic review updating termed "Living systematic review" (LSR): systematic reviews that are continually updated, incorporating relevant new evidence as it becomes available. LSRs may be particularly important in fields where research evidence is emerging rapidly, current evidence is uncertain, and new research may change policy or practice decisions. We hypothesize that a continual approach to updating will achieve greater currency and validity, and increase the benefits to end users, with feasible resource requirements over time.

Applications of nuclear magnetic resonance in lipid analyses: An emerging powerful tool for lipidomics studies.

The role of lipids in cell, tissue, and organ physiology is crucial; as many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative, and infectious diseases, are closely related to absorption and metabolism of lipids. Mass spectrometry (MS) based methods are the most developed powerful tools to study the synthetic pathways and metabolic networks of cellular lipids in biological systems; leading to the birth of an emerging subject lipidomics, which has been extensively reviewed. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), another powerful analytical tool, which allows the visualization of single atoms and molecules, is receiving increasing attention in lipidomics analyses. However, very little work focusing on lipidomic studies using NMR has been critically reviewed. This paper presents a first comprehensive summary of application of (1)H, (13)C &(31)P NMR in lipids and lipidomics analyses. The scientific basis, principles and characteristic diagnostic peaks assigned to specific atoms/molecular structures of lipids are presented. Applications of 2D NMR in mapping and monitoring of the components and their changes in complex lipids systems, as well as alteration of lipid profiling over disease development are also reviewed. The applications of NMR lipidomics in diseases diagnosis and food adulteration are exemplified.

Borrelia infection and risk of celiac disease.

Environmental factors, including infectious agents, are speculated to play a role in the rising prevalence and the geographic distribution of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. In the USA and Sweden where the regional variation in the frequency of celiac disease has been studied, a similarity with the geographic distribution of Lyme disease, an emerging multisystemic infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes, has been found, thus raising the possibility of a link. We aimed to determine if infection with Borrelia contributes to an increased risk of celiac disease.

Antifungal Resistance: An Emerging Reality and A Global Challenge.

Collaboration between Distinct Rab Small GTPase Trafficking Circuits Mediates Bacterial Clearance from the Bladder Epithelium.

Rab small GTPases control membrane trafficking through effectors that recruit downstream mediators such as motor proteins. Subcellular trafficking typically involves multiple Rabs, with each specific step mediated by a distinct Rab protein. We describe a collaboration between two distinct Rab-protein-orchestrated trafficking circuits in bladder epithelial cells (BECs) that expels intracellular uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) from their intracellular niche. RAB11a and RAB27b and their trafficking circuitry are simultaneously involved in UPEC expulsion. While RAB11a recruits its effector RAB11FIP3 and cytoskeletal motor Dynein, RAB27b mobilizes the effector MyRIP and motor Myosin VIIa to mediate bacterial expulsion. This collaboration is coordinated by deposition of the exocyst complex on bacteria-containing vesicles, an event triggered by the innate receptor Toll-like receptor 4. Both RAB11a and RAB27b are recruited and activated by the exocyst complex components SEC6/SEC15. Thus, the cell autonomous defense system can mobilize and coalesce multiple subcellular trafficking circuitries to combat infections.

Differences in staining intensities affects reported occurrences and concentrations of Giardia spp. in surface drinking water sources.

USEPA Method 1623, or its equivalent, is currently used to monitor for protozoan contamination of surface drinking water sources worldwide. At least three approved staining kits used for detecting Cryptosporidium and Giardia are commercially available. This study focuses on understanding the differences among staining kits used for Method 1623.

Identification of a mouse Lactobacillus johnsonii strain with deconjugase activity against the FXR antagonist T-β-MCA.

Bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity against the bile acid tauro-beta-muricholic acid (T-β-MCA) was recently reported to mediate host bile acid, glucose, and lipid homeostasis via the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) signaling pathway. An earlier study correlated decreased Lactobacillus abundance in the cecum with increased concentrations of intestinal T-β-MCA, an FXR antagonist. While several studies have characterized BSHs in lactobacilli, deconjugation of T-β-MCA remains poorly characterized among members of this genus, and therefore it was unclear what strain(s) were responsible for this activity. Here, a strain of L. johnsonii with robust BSH activity against T-β-MCA in vitro was isolated from the cecum of a C57BL/6J mouse. A screening assay performed on a collection of 14 Lactobacillus strains from nine different species identified BSH substrate specificity for T-β-MCA only in two of three L. johnsonii strains. Genomic analysis of the two strains with this BSH activity revealed the presence of three bsh genes that are homologous to bsh genes in the previously sequenced human-associated strain L. johnsonii NCC533. Heterologous expression of several bsh genes in E. coli followed by enzymatic assays revealed broad differences in substrate specificity even among closely related bsh homologs, and suggests that the phylogeny of these enzymes does not closely correlate with substrate specificity. Predictive modeling allowed us to propose a potential mechanism driving differences in BSH activity for T-β-MCA in these homologs. Our data suggests that L. johnsonii regulates T-β-MCA levels in the mouse intestinal environment, and that this species may play a central role in FXR signaling in the mouse.

Identification of a Novel Inhibitor against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first isolated in 2012, and circulated worldwide with high mortality. The continual outbreaks of MERS-CoV highlight the importance of developing antiviral therapeutics. Here, we rationally designed a novel fusion inhibitor named MERS-five-helix bundle (MERS-5HB) derived from the six-helix bundle (MERS-6HB) which was formed by the process of membrane fusion. MERS-5HB consists of three copies of heptad repeat 1 (HR1) and two copies of heptad repeat 2 (HR2) while MERS-6HB includes three copies each of HR1 and HR2. As it lacks one HR2, MERS-5HB was expected to interact with viral HR2 to interrupt the fusion step. What we found was that MERS-5HB could bind to HR2P, a peptide derived from HR2, with a strong affinity value (KD) of up to 0.24 nM. Subsequent assays indicated that MERS-5HB could inhibit pseudotyped MERS-CoV entry effectively with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of about 1 μM. In addition, MERS-5HB significantly inhibited spike (S) glycoprotein-mediated syncytial formation in a dose-dependent manner. Further biophysical characterization showed that MERS-5HB was a thermo-stable α-helical secondary structure. The inhibitory potency of MERS-5HB may provide an attractive basis for identification of a novel inhibitor against MERS-CoV, as a potential antiviral agent.

Social-demographic shift in drug users at the first-ever- methadone maintenance treatment in Wuhan, China.

The methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been initiated in Wuhan, China since early 2006. To understand the social-demographic, behavioral, and infectious diseases characteristics of drug users enrolled in their first-ever-MMT between 2006 and 2015, a retrospective observational study was implemented to also provide evidence for health policy-decisions to reduce harm and control disease. Pearson chi-square tests and t-tests were used to assess significant differences between two 5-year periods, 2006-2010 and 2011-2015. We observed increases in the mean age (38.65 vs. 42.43 years, P < 0.001), mean age of initial opioid drug use (28.18 vs. 31.07 years, P < 0.001), employment (11.9% vs. 30.7%, P < 0.001), married/co-habiting (42.4% vs. 47.8%, P < 0.001), and declines in higher education level (93.6% vs. 84.8%, P < 0.001), injection (82.3% vs. 75.1%, P < 0.001), syringe sharing (27.7% vs. 9.9%, P < 0.001), HCV infection rates (72.9% vs. 70.5%, P = 0.017). The number of drug users enrolling each year reduced following a continuous rapid growth in the first 3 years. The findings imply for adjusting in treatment services and allocation of resources to respond to emerging trends. In addition, the data will also be helpful for identifying needs and getting a baseline insight of the social-demographic and behavioral characteristics of the opioid abusers in the area.

Polyphenols journey through blood-brain barrier towards neuronal protection.

Age-related complications such as neurodegenerative disorders are increasing and remain cureless. The possibility of altering the progression or the development of these multifactorial diseases through diet is an emerging and attractive approach with increasing experimental support. We examined the potential of known bioavailable phenolic sulfates, arising from colonic metabolism of berries, to influence hallmarks of neurodegenerative processes. In silico predictions and in vitro transport studies across blood-brain barrier (BBB) endothelial cells, at circulating concentrations, provided evidence for differential transport, likely related to chemical structure. Moreover, endothelial metabolism of these phenolic sulfates produced a plethora of novel chemical entities with further potential bioactivies. Pre-conditioning with phenolic sulfates improved cellular responses to oxidative, excitotoxicity and inflammatory injuries and this attenuation of neuroinflammation was achieved via modulation of NF-κB pathway. Our results support the hypothesis that these small molecules, derived from dietary (poly)phenols may cross the BBB, reach brain cells, modulate microglia-mediated inflammation and exert neuroprotective effects, with potential for alleviation of neurodegenerative diseases.

Thermal Inactivation of avian influenza virus in poultry litter as a method to decontaminate poultry houses.

Removal of contaminated material from a poultry house during recovery from an avian influenza virus (AIV) outbreak is costly and labor intensive. Because AIV is not environmentally stable, heating poultry houses may provide an alternative disinfection method. The objective was to determine the time necessary to inactivate AIV in poultry litter at temperatures achievable in a poultry house. Low pathogenic (LP) AIV inactivation was evaluated between 10.0°-48.9°C, at ∼5.5°C intervals and highly pathogenic (HP) AIV inactivation was evaluated between 10.0°-43.3°C, at ∼11°C intervals. Samples were collected at numerous time points for each temperature. Virus isolation in embryonating chicken eggs was conducted to determine if viable virus was present. Each sample was also tested by real-time RT-PCR. Low pathogenicity AIV was inactivated at 1day at 26.7°C or above. At 10.0, 15.6 and 21.1°C, inactivation times increased to 2-5days. Highly pathogenic AIV followed a similar trend; the virus was inactivated after 1day at 43.3°C and 32.2°C, and required 2 and 5days for inactivation at 21.1°C and 10.0°C respectively. While low pathogenicity AIV appeared to be inactivated at a lower temperature than high pathogenicity AIV, this was not due to any difference in the strains, but due to fewer temperature points being evaluated for high pathogenicity. Endpoints for detection by real-time RT-PCR were not found even weeks after the virus was inactivated. This provides a guideline for the time required, at specific temperatures to inactivate AIV in poultry litter and likely on surfaces within the house. Heat treatment will provide an added level of safety to personnel and against further spread by eliminating infectious virus prior to cleaning a house.

The role of nuclear NS1 protein in highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses.

The non-structural protein (NS1) of influenza A viruses (IAV) performs multiple functions during viral infection. NS1 contains two nuclear localization signals (NLS): NLS1 and NLS2. The NS1 protein is located predominantly in the nucleus during the early stages of infection and subsequently exported to the cytoplasm. A nonsense mutation that results in a large deletion in the carboxy-terminal region of the NS1 protein that contains the NLS2 domain was found in some IAV subtypes, including highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H7N9 and H5N1 viruses. We introduced different mutations into the NLS domains of NS1 proteins in various strains of IAV, and demonstrated that mutation of the NLS2 region in the NS1 protein of HPAI H5N1 viruses severely affects its nuclear localization pattern. H5N1 viruses expressing NS1 protein that is unable to localize to the nucleus are less potent in antagonizing cellular antiviral responses than viruses expressing wild-type NS1. However, no significant difference was observed with respect to viral replication and pathogenesis. In contrast, the replication and antiviral defenses of H1N1 viruses are greatly attenuated when nuclear localization of the NS1 protein is blocked. Our data reveals a novel functional plasticity for NS1 proteins among different IAV subtypes.

Evaluation of a Rapid Molecular Drug-Susceptibility Test for Tuberculosis.

Background Fluoroquinolones and second-line injectable drugs are the backbone of treatment regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and resistance to these drugs defines extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. We assessed the accuracy of an automated, cartridge-based molecular assay for the detection, directly from sputum specimens, of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with resistance to fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, and isoniazid. Methods We conducted a prospective diagnostic accuracy study to compare the investigational assay against phenotypic drug-susceptibility testing and DNA sequencing among adults in China and South Korea who had symptoms of tuberculosis. The Xpert MTB/RIF assay and sputum culture were performed. M. tuberculosis isolates underwent phenotypic drug-susceptibility testing and DNA sequencing of the genes katG, gyrA, gyrB, and rrs and of the eis and inhA promoter regions. Results Among the 308 participants who were culture-positive for M. tuberculosis, when phenotypic drug-susceptibility testing was used as the reference standard, the sensitivities of the investigational assay for detecting resistance were 83.3% for isoniazid (95% confidence interval [CI], 77.1 to 88.5), 88.4% for ofloxacin (95% CI, 80.2 to 94.1), 87.6% for moxifloxacin at a critical concentration of 0.5 μg per milliliter (95% CI, 79.0 to 93.7), 96.2% for moxifloxacin at a critical concentration of 2.0 μg per milliliter (95% CI, 87.0 to 99.5), 71.4% for kanamycin (95% CI, 56.7 to 83.4), and 70.7% for amikacin (95% CI, 54.5 to 83.9). The specificity of the assay for the detection of phenotypic resistance was 94.3% or greater for all drugs except moxifloxacin at a critical concentration of 2.0 μg per milliliter (specificity, 84.0% [95% CI, 78.9 to 88.3]). When DNA sequencing was used as the reference standard, the sensitivities of the investigational assay for detecting mutations associated with resistance were 98.1% for isoniazid (95% CI, 94.4 to 99.6), 95.8% for fluoroquinolones (95% CI, 89.6 to 98.8), 92.7% for kanamycin (95% CI, 80.1 to 98.5), and 96.8% for amikacin (95% CI, 83.3 to 99.9), and the specificity for all drugs was 99.6% (95% CI, 97.9 to 100) or greater. Conclusions This investigational assay accurately detected M. tuberculosis mutations associated with resistance to isoniazid, fluoroquinolones, and aminoglycosides and holds promise as a rapid point-of-care test to guide therapeutic decisions for patients with tuberculosis. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02251327 .).

Investing in health: the economic case. Report of the WISH Investing in Health Forum 2016.

Developing country governments and aid agencies face difficult decisions on how best to allocate their finite resources. Investments in many different sectors -including education, water and sanitation, transportation, and health- can all reap social and economic benefits. This report focuses specifically on the health sector. It presents compelling evidence of the value of scaling-up health investments. The economic case for increasing these investments in health has never been stronger. Having made progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, and deaths from infectious diseases, it is essential that policymakers do not become complacent. These gains will be quickly reversed without sustained health investments. Scaled-up investments will be needed to tackle the emerging non-communicable disease (NCD) burden and to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). The value of investment in health far beyond its performance is reflected in economic prosperity through gross domestic product (GDP). People put a high monetary value on the additional years of life that health investments can bring -an inherent value to being alive for longer, unrelated to productivity. Policymakers need to do more to ensure that spending on health reflects people's priorities. To make sure services are accessible to all, governments have a clear role to play in financing health. Without public financing, there will be some who cannot afford the care they need, and they will be forced to choose sickness -perhaps even death- and financial ruin; a devastating choice that already pushes 150 million people into poverty every year. In low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs), public financing should be used to achieve universal coverage with a package of highly cost-effective interventions ('best buys'). Governments failing to protect the health and wealth of their people in this way will be unable to reap the benefits of long-term economic prosperity and growth. Public financing has the benefit of being more efficient and better at controlling costs than private financing and is the only sustainable way to reach UHC. In addition, people put a high economic value on the protection against financial risk that public financing provides. This report addresses three key questions: 1) What is the economic rationale for investing in health?; 2) what is the best way to finance health?, and 3) which interventions should be prioritized?

Evaluation of three commercially-available chikungunya virus immunoglobulin G immunoassays.

The emergence of chikungunya virus in the Americas means the affected population is at risk of developing severe, chronic, rheumatologic disease, even months after acute infection. Accurate diagnostic methods for past infections are essential for differential diagnosis and consequence management. This study evaluated three commercially-available chikungunya Immunoglobulin G immunoassays by comparing them to an in-house Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Georgia, United States). Results showed sensitivity and specificity values ranging from 92.8% - 100% and 81.8% - 90.9%, respectively, with a significant number of false-positives ranging from 12.5% - 22%. These findings demonstrate the importance of evaluating commercial kits, especially regarding emerging infectious diseases whose medium and long-term impact on the population is unclear.

Cell cycle and pluripotency: Convergence on octamer‑binding transcription factor 4 (Review).

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have unlimited expansion potential and the ability to differentiate into all somatic cell types for regenerative medicine and disease model studies. Octamer‑binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4), encoded by the POU domain, class 5, transcription factor 1 gene, is a transcription factor vital for maintaining ESC pluripotency and somatic reprogramming. Many studies have established that the cell cycle of ESCs is featured with an abbreviated G1 phase and a prolonged S phase. Changes in cell cycle dynamics are intimately associated with the state of ESC pluripotency, and manipulating cell‑cycle regulators could enable a controlled differentiation of ESCs. The present review focused primarily on the emerging roles of OCT4 in coordinating the cell cycle progression, the maintenance of pluripotency and the glycolytic metabolism in ESCs.

Genes Contributing to Porphyromonas gingivalis Fitness in Abscess and Epithelial Cell Colonization Environments.

Porphyromonas gingivalis is an important cause of serious periodontal diseases, and is emerging as a pathogen in several systemic conditions including some forms of cancer. Initial colonization by P. gingivalis involves interaction with gingival epithelial cells, and the organism can also access host tissues and spread haematogenously. To better understand the mechanisms underlying these properties, we utilized a highly saturated transposon insertion library of P. gingivalis, and assessed the fitness of mutants during epithelial cell colonization and survival in a murine abscess model by high-throughput sequencing (Tn-Seq). Transposon insertions in many genes previously suspected as contributing to virulence showed significant fitness defects in both screening assays. In addition, a number of genes not previously associated with P. gingivalis virulence were identified as important for fitness. We further examined fitness defects of four such genes by generating defined mutations. Genes encoding a carbamoyl phosphate synthetase, a replication-associated recombination protein, a nitrosative stress responsive HcpR transcription regulator, and RNase Z, a zinc phosphodiesterase, showed a fitness phenotype in epithelial cell colonization and in a competitive abscess infection. This study verifies the importance of several well-characterized putative virulence factors of P. gingivalis and identifies novel fitness determinants of the organism.

Rab3a-Bound CD63 Is Degraded and Rab3a-Free CD63 Is Incorporated into HIV-1 Particles.

CD63, a member of the tetraspanin family, is involved in virion production by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), but its mechanism is unknown. In this study, we showed that a small GTP-binding protein, Rab3a, interacts with CD63. When Rab3a was exogenously expressed, the amounts of CD63 decreased in cells. The Rab3a-mediated reduction of CD63 was suppressed by lysosomal and proteasomal inhibitors. The amount of CD63 was increased by reducing the endogenous Rab3a level using a specific shRNA. These results indicate that Rab3a binds to CD63 to induce the degradation of CD63. Rab3a is thought to be involved in exocytosis, but we found that another function of Rab3a affects the fate of CD63 in lysosomes. CD63 interacted with Rab3a and was incorporated into HIV-1 particles. However, Rab3a was not detected in HIV-1 virions, thereby indicating that Rab3a-free CD63, but not Rab3a-bound CD63, is incorporated into HIV-1 particles. Overexpression or silencing of Rab3a moderately reduced HIV-1 virion formation. Overexpression of Rab3a decreased CD63 levels, but did not affect the incorporation of CD63 into HIV-1 particles. This study showed that Rab3a binds to CD63 to induce the degradation of CD63, and only Rab3a-free CD63 is incorporated into HIV-1 particles.

LMOf2365_0442 Encoding for a Fructose Specific PTS Permease IIA May Be Required for Virulence in L. monocytogenes Strain F2365.

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that causes listeriosis, which is a major public health concern due to the high fatality rate. LMOf2365_0442, 0443, and 0444 encode for fructose-specific EIIABC components of phosphotransferase transport system (PTS) permease that is responsible for sugar transport. In previous studies, in-frame deletion mutants of a putative fructose-specific PTS permease (LMOf2365_0442, 0443, and 0444) were constructed and analyzed. However, the virulence potential of these deletion mutants has not been studied. In this study, two in vitro methods were used to analyze the virulence potential of these L. monocytogenes deletion mutants. First, invasion assays were used to measure the invasion efficiencies to host cells using the human HT-29 cell line. Second, plaque forming assays were used to measure cell-to-cell spread in host cells. Our results showed that the deletion mutant ΔLMOf2365_0442 had reduced invasion and cell-to-cell spread efficiencies in human cell line compared to the parental strain LMOf2365, indicating that LMOf2365_0442 encoding for a fructose specific PTS permease IIA may be required for virulence in L. monocytogenes strain F2365. In addition, the gene expression levels of 15 virulence and stress-related genes were analyzed in the stationary phase cells of the deletion mutants using RT-PCR assays. Virulence-related gene expression levels were elevated in the deletion mutants ΔLMOf2365_0442-0444 compared to the wild type parental strain LMOf2365, indicating the down-regulation of virulence genes by this PTS permease in L. monocytogenes. Finally, stress-related gene clpC expression levels were also increased in all of the deletion mutants, suggesting the involvement of this PTS permease in stress response. Furthermore, these deletion mutants displayed the same pressure tolerance and the same capacity for biofilm formation compared to the wild-type parental strain LMOf2365. In summary, our findings suggest that the LMOf2365_0442 gene can be used as a potential target to develop inhibitors for new therapeutic and pathogen control strategies for public health.