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Host-Pathogen Interactions - Top 30 Publications

Innate immune response to lipooligosaccharide: pivotal regulator of the pathobiology of invasive Neisseria meningitidis infections.

Infections due to Neisseria meningitidis afflict more than one million people worldwide annually and cause death or disability in many survivors. The clinical course of invasive infections has been well studied, but our understanding of the cause of differences in patient outcomes has been limited because these are dependent on multiple factors including the response of the host, characteristics of the bacteria and interactions between the host and the bacteria. The meningococcus is a highly inflammatory organism, and the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) on the outer membrane is the most potent inflammatory molecule it expresses due to the interactions of the lipid A moiety of LOS with receptors of the innate immune system. We previously reported that increased phosphorylation of hexaacylated neisserial lipid A is correlated with greater inflammatory potential. Here we postulate that variability in lipid A phosphorylation can tip the balance of innate immune responses towards homeostatic tolerance or proinflammatory signaling that affects adaptive immune responses, causing disease with meningitis only, or septicemia with or without meningitis, respectively. Furthermore, we propose that studies of the relationship between bacterial virulence and gene expression should consider whether genetic variation could affect properties of biosynthetic enzymes resulting in LOS structural differences that alter disease pathobiology.

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Infection Induces Stress Granule Formation Depending on Protein Kinase R-like Endoplasmic Reticulum Kinase (PERK) in MARC-145 Cells.

Stress granules (SGs) are sites of mRNA storage that are formed in response to various conditions of stress, including viral infections. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an Arterivirus that has been devastating the swine industry worldwide since the late 1980s. In this study, we found that infection of PRRSV strain WUH3 (genotype 2 PRRSV) induced stable formation of robust SGs in MARC-145 cells, as demonstrated by the recruitment of marker proteins of SGs, including TIA1, G3BP1, and eIF3η. Treatment with specific inhibitors or siRNAs against the stress kinases that are involved in SG formation revealed that PRRSV induced SG formation through a PERK (protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase)-dependent mechanism. Impairment of SG assembly by concomitant knockdown of the SG marker proteins (TIA1, G3BP1, and TIAR) did not affect PRRSV growth, while significantly enhanced PRRSV-induced NF-κB subunit p65 phosphorylation and inflammatory cytokine production. Taken together, our results demonstrate that PRRSV induces SG formation via a PERK-dependent pathway and that SGs are involved in the signaling pathway of the PRRSV-induced inflammatory response in MARC-145 cells.

Contribution of the A. baumannii A1S_0114 Gene to the Interaction with Eukaryotic Cells and Virulence.

Genetic and functional studies showed that some components of the Acinetobacter baumannii ATCC 17978 A1S_0112-A1S_0119 gene cluster are critical for biofilm biogenesis and surface motility. Recently, our group has shown that the A1S_0114 gene was involved in biofilm formation, a process related with pathogenesis. Confirming our previous results, microscopy images revealed that the ATCC 17978 Δ0114 derivative lacking this gene was unable to form a mature biofilm structure. Therefore, other bacterial phenotypes were analyzed to determine the role of this gene in the pathogenicity of A. baumannii ATCC 17978. The interaction of the ATCC 17978 parental strain and the Δ0114 mutant with A549 human alveolar epithelial cells was quantified revealing that the A1S_0114 gene was necessary for proper attachment to A549 cells. This dependency correlates with the negative effect of the A1S_0114 deletion on the expression of genes coding for surface proteins and pili-assembly systems, which are known to play a role in adhesion. Three different experimental animal models, including vertebrate and invertebrate hosts, confirmed the role of the A1S_0114 gene in virulence. All of the experimental infection assays indicated that the virulence of the ATCC 17978 was significantly reduced when this gene was inactivated. Finally, we discovered that the A1S_0114 gene was involved in the production of a small lipopeptide-like compound herein referred to as acinetin 505 (Ac-505). Ac-505 was isolated from ATCC 17978 spent media and its chemical structure was interpreted by mass spectrometry. Overall, our observations provide novel information on the role of the A1S_0114 gene in A. baumannii's pathobiology and lay the foundation for future work to determine the mechanisms by which Ac-505, or possibly an Ac-505 precursor, could execute critical functions as a secondary metabolite.

The Diverse Cellular and Animal Models to Decipher the Physiopathological Traits of Mycobacterium abscessus Infection.

Mycobacterium abscessus represents an important respiratory pathogen among the rapidly-growing non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Infections caused by M. abscessus are increasingly found in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and are often refractory to antibiotic therapy. The underlying immunopathological mechanisms of pathogenesis remain largely unknown. A major reason for the poor advances in M. abscessus research has been a lack of adequate models to study the acute and chronic stages of the disease leading to delayed progress of evaluation of therapeutic efficacy of potentially active antibiotics. However, the recent development of cellular models led to new insights in the interplay between M. abscessus with host macrophages as well as with amoebae, proposed to represent the environmental host and reservoir for non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The zebrafish embryo has also appeared as a useful alternative to more traditional models as it recapitulates the vertebrate immune system and, due to its optical transparency, allows a spatio-temporal visualization of the infection process in a living animal. More sophisticated immunocompromised mice have also been exploited recently to dissect the immune and inflammatory responses to M. abscessus. Herein, we will discuss the limitations, advantages and potential offered by these various models to study the pathophysiology of M. abscessus infection and to assess the preclinical efficacy of compounds active against this emerging human pathogen.

Examining the role of macrolides and host immunity in combatting filarial parasites.

Macrocyclic lactones (MLs), specifically the avermectins and milbemycins, are known for their effectiveness against a broad spectrum of disease-causing nematodes and arthropods in humans and animals. In most nematodes, drugs in this class induce paralysis, resulting in starvation, impaired ability to remain associated with their anatomical environment, and death of all life stages. Initially, this was also thought to be the ML mode of action against filarial nematodes, but researchers have not been able to validate these characteristic effects of immobilization/starvation of MLs in vitro, even at higher doses than are possible in vivo. Relatively recently, ML receptor sites exclusively located proximate to the excretory-secretory (ES) apparatus were identified in Brugia malayi microfilaria and an ML-induced suppression of secretory protein release by B. malayi microfilariae was demonstrated in vitro. It is hypothesized here that suppression of these ES proteins prevents the filarial worm from interfering with the host's complement cascade, reducing the ability of the parasite to evade the immune system. Live microfilariae and/or larvae, thus exposed, are attacked and presented to the host's innate immune mechanisms and are ultimately killed by the immune response, not the ML drug. These live, exposed filarial worms stimulate development of innate, cellular and humoral immune responses that when properly stimulated, are capable of clearing all larvae or microfilariae present in the host, regardless of their individual sensitivity to MLs. Additional research in this area can be expected to improve our understanding of the relationships among filarial worms, MLs, and the host immune system, which likely would have implications in filarial disease management in humans and animals.

Influence of host factors and parasite biomass on the severity of imported Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

Imported malaria in France is characterized by various clinical manifestations observed in a heterogeneous population of patients such as travelers/expatriates and African migrants. In this population, host factors and parasite biomass associated with severe imported malaria are poorly known.

The Matrix Protein of Human Parainfluenza Virus Type 3 Induces Mitophagy that Suppresses Interferon Responses.

Mitophagy is a form of autophagy that selectively removes damaged mitochondria. Impaired mitochondria can be tagged by the kinase PINK1, which triggers recruitment of the E3-ubiquitin ligase Parkin and subsequent mitochondrial sequestration within autophagosomes. We previously found that human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3) infection induces autophagy, but the type and mechanisms of autophagy induction remain unknown. Here, we show that matrix protein (M) of HPIV3 translocates to mitochondria and interacts with Tu translation elongation factor mitochondrial (TUFM). M-mediated mitophagy does not require the Parkin-PINK1 pathway but rather an interaction between M and the LC3 protein that mediates autophagosome formation. These interactions with both TUFM and LC3 are required for the induction of mitophagy and lead to inhibition of the type I interferon response. These results reveal that a viral protein is sufficient to induce mitophagy by bridging autophagosomes and mitochondria.

Salmonella Typhimurium Diarrhea Reveals Basic Principles of Enteropathogen Infection and Disease-Promoted DNA Exchange.

Despite decades of research, efficient therapies for most enteropathogenic bacteria are still lacking. In this review, we focus on Salmonella enterica Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), a frequent cause of acute, self-limiting food-borne diarrhea and a model that has revealed key principles of enteropathogen infection. We review the steps of gut infection and the mucosal innate-immune defenses limiting pathogen burdens, and we discuss how inflammation boosts gut luminal S. Typhimurium growth. We also discuss how S. Typhimurium-induced inflammation accelerates the transfer of plasmids and phages, which may promote the transmission of antibiotic resistance and facilitate emergence of pathobionts and pathogens with enhanced virulence. The targeted manipulation of the microbiota and vaccination might offer strategies to prevent this evolution. As gut luminal microbes impact various aspects of the host's physiology, improved strategies for preventing enteropathogen infection and disease-inflicted DNA exchange may be of broad interest well beyond the acute infection.

Arabidopsis leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase NILR1 is required for induction of innate immunity to parasitic nematodes.

Plant-parasitic nematodes are destructive pests causing losses of billions of dollars annually. An effective plant defence against pathogens relies on the recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) by surface-localised receptors leading to the activation of PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI). Extensive studies have been conducted to characterise the role of PTI in various models of plant-pathogen interactions. However, far less is known about the role of PTI in roots in general and in plant-nematode interactions in particular. Here we show that nematode-derived proteinaceous elicitor/s is/are capable of inducing PTI in Arabidopsis in a manner dependent on the common immune co-receptor BAK1. Consistent with the role played by BAK1, we identified a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase, termed NILR1 that is specifically regulated upon infection by nematodes. We show that NILR1 is essential for PTI responses initiated by nematodes and nilr1 loss-of-function mutants are hypersusceptible to a broad category of nematodes. To our knowledge, NILR1 is the first example of an immune receptor that is involved in induction of basal immunity (PTI) in plants or in animals in response to nematodes. Manipulation of NILR1 will provide new options for nematode control in crop plants in future.

Toxoplasma Effectors Targeting Host Signaling and Transcription.

Early electron microscopy studies revealed the elaborate cellular features that define the unique adaptations of apicomplexan parasites. Among these were bulbous rhoptry (ROP) organelles and small, dense granules (GRAs), both of which are secreted during invasion of host cells. These early morphological studies were followed by the exploration of the cellular contents of these secretory organelles, revealing them to be comprised of highly divergent protein families with few conserved domains or predicted functions. In parallel, studies on host-pathogen interactions identified many host signaling pathways that were mysteriously altered by infection. It was only with the advent of forward and reverse genetic strategies that the connections between individual parasite effectors and the specific host pathways that they targeted finally became clear. The current repertoire of parasite effectors includes ROP kinases and pseudokinases that are secreted during invasion and that block host immune pathways. Similarly, many secretory GRA proteins alter host gene expression by activating host transcription factors, through modification of chromatin, or by inducing small noncoding RNAs. These effectors highlight novel mechanisms by which T. gondii has learned to harness host signaling to favor intracellular survival and will guide future studies designed to uncover the additional complexity of this intricate host-pathogen interaction.

Wolbachia density changes seasonally amongst populations of the pale grass blue butterfly, Zizeeria maha (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae).

Previous studies showed that the survival rate of Wolbachia decreases under high temperature in incubators. It is also known that a high density of Wolbachia in the host body reduces the host emergence rate, while low densities fail to change reproduction rates. However, few studies have examined the density of Wolbachia in hosts in the field. Here, we focus on Wolbachia infection of the pale grass blue butterfly, Zizeeria maha (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), which is distributed throughout the Japanese islands. We examined the rate and density of Wolbachia infection in the bodies of butterflies at thirteen locations in Japan. At seven of these places, we collected butterflies in different seasons to determine seasonal differences in the infection rate and density and found that Wolbachia density has seasonal differences within the same population. Moreover, to determine whether Wolbachia density has a geographical cline, we compared the infection density of Wolbachia amongst all geographical populations. In addition, we determined the sequences of Wolbachia wsp and host mtDNA CO1 haplotypes of all populations. The results showed that Wolbachia density increased in early summer and decreased in autumn. Further, the density of Wolbachia infecting the same strain of Z. maha varied amongst populations, although no tendency in geographical cline was observed.

Evolution of the endomembrane systems of trypanosomatids - conservation and specialisation.

Parasite surfaces support multiple functions required for survival within their hosts, and maintenance and functionality of the surface depends on membrane trafficking. To understand the evolutionary history of trypanosomatid trafficking, where multiple lifestyles and mechanisms of host interactions are known, we examined protein families central to defining intracellular compartments and mediating transport, namely Rabs, SNAREs and RabGAPs, across all available Euglenozoa genomes. Bodonids possess a large trafficking repertoire, which is mainly retained by the Trypanosoma cruzi group, with extensive losses in other lineages, particularly African trypanosomes and phytomonads. There are no large-scale expansions or contractions from an inferred ancestor, excluding direct associations between parasitism or host range. However, we observe stepwise secondary losses within Rab and SNARE cohorts (but not RabGAPs). Major changes are associated with endosomal and late exocytic pathways, consistent with the diversity in surface proteomes between trypanosomatids and mechanisms of interaction with the host. Along with the conserved core family proteins, several lineage-specific members of the Rab (but not SNARE) family were found. Significantly, testing predictions of SNARE complex composition by proteomics confirms generalised retention of function across eukaryotes.

Host-Pathogen Interface: Progress in Understanding the Pathogenesis of Infection Due to Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria in the Intensive Care Unit.

The diverse responses of critically ill patients to infection with multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria are determined by many complex factors. These include the nature of the immune response activated by specific organisms. Properties unique to each organism such as adherence proteins, microvesicle formation, toxin production and the propensity to form biofilms are important factors in pathogenesis. Equally important is the variability in the host immune response, whether due to genetic or iatrogenic factors, including the presence of major comorbidities, treatment with immunomodulatory therapy and disruption of the microbiome. Future approaches in treating infections caused by MDR bacteria will be heavily influenced by a precision medicine approach, with rapid diagnostic techniques of both bacterial and host factors and high throughput screening of novel therapeutics becoming the mainstay of treatment.

Chlamydia trachomatis ChxR is a transcriptional regulator of virulence factors that function in in vivo host-pathogen interactions.

Chlamydia trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen characterized by a unique biphasic developmental cycle that alternates between infectious and non-infectious organisms. Chlamydial ChxR is a transcriptional activator that has been implicated in the regulation of the development cycle. We used a reverse genetics approach to generate three chxR null mutants. All three mutants grew normally in cultured mammalian cells. Whole genome sequencing identified SNPs in other genes; however, none of the mutated genes were common to all three ChxR null mutants arguing against a genetic compensatory mechanism that would explain the non-essential in vitro growth phenotype. Comparative proteomics identified five proteins, CT005, CT214, CT565, CT694 and CT695, that were significantly downregulated in all ChxR null mutants. This group includes established inclusion membrane and type III secreted proteins. ChxR transcriptional regulation of these genes was confirmed by qRT-PCR. Importantly, while ChxR null mutants exhibited no growth deficiencies in in vitro, they did show significant differences in in vivo growth using a mouse genital tract model. Collectively, our findings demonstrated that ChxR is a transcriptional activator that regulates the expression of virulence genes whose functions are restricted to in vivo infection.

Quantifying the roles of host movement and vector dispersal in the transmission of vector-borne diseases of livestock.

The role of host movement in the spread of vector-borne diseases of livestock has been little studied. Here we develop a mathematical framework that allows us to disentangle and quantify the roles of vector dispersal and livestock movement in transmission between farms. We apply this framework to outbreaks of bluetongue virus (BTV) and Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Great Britain, both of which are spread by Culicoides biting midges and have recently emerged in northern Europe. For BTV we estimate parameters by fitting the model to outbreak data using approximate Bayesian computation, while for SBV we use previously derived estimates. We find that around 90% of transmission of BTV between farms is a result of vector dispersal, while for SBV this proportion is 98%. This difference is a consequence of higher vector competence and shorter duration of viraemia for SBV compared with BTV. For both viruses we estimate that the mean number of secondary infections per infected farm is greater than one for vector dispersal, but below one for livestock movements. Although livestock movements account for a small proportion of transmission and cannot sustain an outbreak on their own, they play an important role in establishing new foci of infection. However, the impact of restricting livestock movements on the spread of both viruses depends critically on assumptions made about the distances over which vector dispersal occurs. If vector dispersal occurs primarily at a local scale (99% of transmission occurs <25 km), movement restrictions are predicted to be effective at reducing spread, but if dispersal occurs frequently over longer distances (99% of transmission occurs <50 km) they are not.

Modulation of the immune response by Fonsecaea pedrosoi morphotypes in the course of experimental chromoblastomycosis and their role on inflammatory response chronicity.

A common theme across multiple fungal pathogens is their ability to impair the establishment of a protective immune response. Although early inflammation is beneficial in containing the infection, an uncontrolled inflammatory response is detrimental and may eventually oppose disease eradication. Chromoblastomycosis (CBM), a cutaneous and subcutaneous mycosis, caused by dematiaceous fungi, is capable of inducing a chronic inflammatory response. Muriform cells, the parasitic form of Fonsecaea pedrosoi, are highly prevalent in infected tissues, especially in long-standing lesions. In this study we show that hyphae and muriform cells are able to establish a murine CBM with skin lesions and histopathological aspects similar to that found in humans, with muriform cells being the most persistent fungal form, whereas mice infected with conidia do not reach the chronic phase of the disease. Moreover, in injured tissue the presence of hyphae and especially muriform cells, but not conidia, is correlated with intense production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in vivo. High-throughput RNA sequencing analysis (RNA-Seq) performed at early time points showed a strong up-regulation of genes related to fungal recognition, cell migration, inflammation, apoptosis and phagocytosis in macrophages exposed in vitro to muriform cells, but not conidia. We also demonstrate that only muriform cells required FcγR and Dectin-1 recognition to be internalized in vitro, and this is the main fungal form responsible for the intense inflammatory pattern observed in CBM, clarifying the chronic inflammatory reaction observed in most patients. Furthermore, our findings reveal two different fungal-host interaction strategies according to fungal morphotype, highlighting fungal dimorphism as an important key in understanding the bipolar nature of inflammatory response in fungal infections.

The HIV-1 transmission bottleneck.

It is well established that most new systemic infections of HIV-1 can be traced back to one or a limited number of founder viruses. Usually, these founders are more closely related to minor HIV-1 populations in the blood of the presumed donor than to more abundant lineages. This has led to the widely accepted idea that transmission selects for viral characteristics that facilitate crossing the mucosal barrier of the recipient's genital tract, although the specific selective forces or advantages are not completely defined. However, there are other steps along the way to becoming a founder virus at which selection may occur. These steps include the transition from the donor's general circulation to the genital tract compartment, survival within the transmission fluid, and establishment of a nascent stable local infection in the recipient's genital tract. Finally, there is the possibility that important narrowing events may also occur during establishment of systemic infection. This is suggested by the surprising observation that the number of founder viruses detected after transmission in intravenous drug users is also limited. Although some of these steps may be heavily selective, others may result mostly in a stochastic narrowing of the available founder pool. Collectively, they shape the initial infection in each recipient.

Extracellular Vesicles Deliver Host and Virus RNA and Regulate Innate Immune Response.

The innate immune system plays a crucial role in controlling viral infection. Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), such as Toll-like receptors and RIG-I-like receptors, sense viral components called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and trigger signals to induce innate immune responses. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles, deliver functional RNA and mediate intercellular communications. Recent studies have revealed that EVs released from virus-infected cells deliver viral RNA to dendritic cells and macrophages, thereby activating PRRs in recipient cells, which results in the expression of type I interferon and pro-inflammatory cytokines. On the other hand, EVs transfer not only viral RNA but also host microRNAs to recipient cells. Recently, infection of hepatocytes with hepatitis B virus (HBV) was shown to affect microRNA levels in EVs released from virus-infected cells, leading to attenuation of host innate immune response. This suggests that the virus utilizes the EVs and host microRNAs to counteract the antiviral innate immune responses. In this review, we summarize recent findings related to the role of EVs in antiviral innate immune responses.

Innate immune recognition and inflammation in Neisseria meningitidis infection.

Neisseria meningitidis (Nme) can cause meningitis and sepsis, diseases which are characterised by an overwhelming inflammatory response. Inflammation is triggered by host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) which are activated by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Nme contains multiple PAMPs including lipooligosaccharide, peptidoglycan, proteins and metabolites. Various classes of PRRs including Toll-like receptors, NOD-like receptors, C-type lectins, scavenger receptors, pentraxins and others are expressed by the host to respond to any given microbe. While Toll-like receptors and NOD-like receptors are pivotal in triggering inflammation, other PRRs act as modulators of inflammation or aid in functional antimicrobial responses such as phagocytosis or complement activation. This review aims to give an overview of the various Nme PAMPs reported to date, the PRRs they activate and their implications during the inflammatory response to infection.

Genetic Analysis of Two Chicken Infectious Anemia Virus Variants-Related Gyrovirus in Stray Mice and Dogs: The First Report in China, 2015.

Chicken infectious anemia virus (CIAV) causes acute viral infection in chickens worldwide. It can infect chickens of all ages, but the disease is seen only in young chickens and is characterized by hemorrhagic lesions in the muscles, atrophic changes in the lymphoid organs, aplastic bone marrow, and immunosuppression causing increased mortality. Previous studies have demonstrated that CIAV can be isolated from blood specimens of humans and fecal samples of stray cats. In the present study, two variants of CIAV were isolated from fecal samples of mice (CIAV-Mouse) and stray dogs (CIAV-Dog), respectively. The genome of the two CIAV variants was sequenced and the results of the recombination detection program suggested that the CIAV-Dog strain could be a recombinant viral strain generated from parental CIAV strains, AB119448 and GD-1-12, with high confidence. Particularly, these findings were obtained from the comparison of genetic diversity and the relationship of CIAV between different hosts. This is the first report indicating that there is a significant difference in the number of transcription factor binding sites in CIAV noncoding regions from different hosts. Further studies are required to investigate the large geographic distribution of CIAV and monitor the variants, host range, and associated diseases.

Technologies for Proteome-Wide Discovery of Extracellular Host-Pathogen Interactions.

Pathogens have evolved unique mechanisms to breach the cell surface barrier and manipulate the host immune response to establish a productive infection. Proteins exposed to the extracellular environment, both cell surface-expressed receptors and secreted proteins, are essential targets for initial invasion and play key roles in pathogen recognition and subsequent immunoregulatory processes. The identification of the host and pathogen extracellular molecules and their interaction networks is fundamental to understanding tissue tropism and pathogenesis and to inform the development of therapeutic strategies. Nevertheless, the characterization of the proteins that function in the host-pathogen interface has been challenging, largely due to the technical challenges associated with detection of extracellular protein interactions. This review discusses available technologies for the high throughput study of extracellular protein interactions between pathogens and their hosts, with a focus on mammalian viruses and bacteria. Emerging work illustrates a rich landscape for extracellular host-pathogen interaction and points towards the evolution of multifunctional pathogen-encoded proteins. Further development and application of technologies for genome-wide identification of extracellular protein interactions will be important in deciphering functional host-pathogen interaction networks, laying the foundation for development of novel therapeutics.

IL-10: A Multifunctional Cytokine in Viral Infections.

The anti-inflammatory master regulator IL-10 is critical to protect the host from tissue damage during acute phases of immune responses. This regulatory mechanism, central to T cell homeostasis, can be hijacked by viruses to evade immunity. IL-10 can be produced by virtually all immune cells, and it can also modulate the function of these cells. Understanding the effects of this multifunctional cytokine is therefore a complex task. In the present review we discuss the factors driving IL-10 production and the cellular sources of the cytokine during antiviral immune responses. We particularly focus on the IL-10 regulatory mechanisms that impact antiviral immune responses and how viruses can use this central regulatory pathway to evade immunity and establish chronic/latent infections.

Identification of a tripartite interaction between the N-terminus of HIV-1 Vif and CBFβ that is critical for Vif function.

HIV-1 Vif interacts with the cellular core-binding factor β (CBFβ) and counteracts the protective roles of certain human APOBEC3 (A3) proteins by targeting them for proteasomal degradation. Previous studies have identified some amino acids important for Vif-CBFβ interactions, and recently a co-crystal structure of a pentameric complex of HIV-1 Vif, CBFβ, Cul5, EloB, and EloC was resolved. However, a comprehensive analysis of Vif-CBFβ interactions that are important for Vif function has not been performed.

Neutrophils and Immunity: From Bactericidal Action to Being Conquered.

The neutrophil is the major phagocyte and the final effector cell of the innate immunity, with a primary role in the clearance of extracellular pathogens. Using the broad array of cytokines, extracellular traps, and effector molecules as the humoral arm, neutrophils play a crucial role in the host defense against pathogen infections. On the other hand, the pathogen has the capacity to overcome neutrophil-mediated host defense to establish infection causing human disease. Pathogens, such as S. aureus, have the potential to thwart neutrophil chemotaxis and phagocytosis and thereby succeed in evading killing by neutrophils. Furthermore, S. aureus surviving within neutrophils promotes neutrophil cytolysis, resulting in the release of host-derived molecules that promote local inflammation. Here, we provide a detailed overview of the mechanisms by which neutrophils kill the extracellular pathogens and how pathogens evade neutrophils degradation. This review will provide insights that might be useful for the development of novel therapies against infections caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens.

The Interaction of Pneumocystis with the C-Type Lectin Receptor Mincle Exerts a Significant Role in Host Defense against Infection.

Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality within immunocompromised patients. In this study, we examined the potential role of macrophage-inducible C-type lectin (Mincle) for host defense against Pneumocystis Binding assays implementing soluble Mincle carbohydrate recognition domain fusion proteins demonstrated binding to intact Pneumocystis carinii as well as to organism homogenates, and they purified major surface glycoprotein/glycoprotein A derived from the organism. Additional experiments showed that rats with PCP expressed increased Mincle mRNA levels. Mouse macrophages overexpressing Mincle displayed increased binding to P. carinii life forms and enhanced protein tyrosine phosphorylation. The binding of P. carinii to Mincle resulted in activation of FcRγ-mediated cell signaling. RNA silencing of Mincle in mouse macrophages resulted in decreased activation of Syk kinase after P. carinii challenge, critical in downstream inflammatory signaling. Mincle-deficient CD4-depleted (Mincle(-/-)) mice showed a significant defect in organism clearance from the lungs with higher organism burdens and altered lung cytokine responses during Pneumocystis murina pneumonia. Interestingly, Mincle(-/-) mice did not demonstrate worsened survival during PCP compared with wild-type mice, despite the markedly increased organism burdens. This may be related to increased expression of anti-inflammatory factors such as IL-1Ra during infection in the Mincle(-/-) mice. Of note, the P. murina-infected Mincle(-/-) mice demonstrated increased expression of known C-type lectin receptors Dectin-1, Dectin-2, and MCL compared with infected wild-type mice. Taken together, these data support a significant role for Mincle in Pneumocystis modulating host defense during infection.

Conserved residues within the HIV-1 Vpu transmembrane-proximal hinge region modulate BST2 binding and antagonism.

BST2 inhibits HIV-1 release by tethering nascent virions to the surface of infected cells. HIV-1 Vpu overcomes this restriction by removing BST2 from viral budding sites via BST2 intracellular trapping and sequestration, surface downregulation and/or displacement mechanisms. Vpu is composed of a short luminal tail, a transmembrane domain (TMD) and a cytoplasmic hinge region that is followed by two helices. BST2 counteraction relies on the ability of Vpu to physically bind BST2 through TMD interactions and recruit the clathrin-dependent trafficking machinery via a canonical acidic di-leucine signalling motif within the helix-2 of Vpu. The highly conserved Vpu transmembrane-proximal hinge region encompasses residues that resemble an acidic leucine-based trafficking motif, whose functional roles are currently ill-defined. In this study, we investigated the contribution of these residues towards Vpu-mediated BST2 antagonism.

RNA-Seq Based Transcriptome Analysis of the Type I Interferon Host Response upon Vaccinia Virus Infection of Mouse Cells.

Vaccinia virus (VACV) encodes the soluble type I interferon (IFN) binding protein B18 that is secreted from infected cells and also attaches to the cell surface, as an immunomodulatory strategy to inhibit the host IFN response. By using next generation sequencing technologies, we performed a detailed RNA-seq study to dissect at the transcriptional level the modulation of the IFN based host response by VACV and B18. Transcriptome profiling of L929 cells after incubation with purified recombinant B18 protein showed that attachment of B18 to the cell surface does not trigger cell signalling leading to transcriptional activation. Consistent with its ability to bind type I IFN, B18 completely inhibited the IFN-mediated modulation of host gene expression. Addition of UV-inactivated virus particles to cell cultures altered the expression of a set of 53 cellular genes, including genes involved in innate immunity. Differential gene expression analyses of cells infected with replication competent VACV identified the activation of a broad range of host genes involved in multiple cellular pathways. Interestingly, we did not detect an IFN-mediated response among the transcriptional changes induced by VACV, even after the addition of IFN to cells infected with a mutant VACV lacking B18. This is consistent with additional viral mechanisms acting at different levels to block IFN responses during VACV infection.

β-Defensins in the Fight against Helicobacter pylori.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) play a pivotal role in the innate immune responses to Helicobacter pylori (Hp) in humans. β-Defensins, a class of cationic arginine-rich AMPs, are small peptides secreted by immune cells and epithelial cells that exert antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of microorganisms, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi. During Hp infections, AMP expression is able to eradicate the bacteria, thereby preventing Hp infections in gastrointestinal tract. It is likely that gastric β-defensins expression is increased during Hp infection. The aim of this review is to focus on increased knowledge of the role of β-defensins in response to Hp infection. We also briefly discuss the potential use of AMPs, either alone or in combination with conventional antibiotics, for the treatment of Hp infection.

Prototype foamy virus elicits complete autophagy involving the ER stress-related UPR pathway.

Prototype foamy virus (PFV) is a member of the Spumaretrovirinae subfamily of retroviruses, which maintains lifelong latent infection while being nonpathogenic to their natural hosts. Autophagy is a cell-programmed mechanism that plays a pivotal role in controlling homeostasis and defense against exotic pathogens. However, whether autophagy is the mechanism for host defense in PFV infection has not been investigated.

Exploring the Effects of Plant Odors, from Tree Species of Differing Host Quality, on the Response of Lymantria dispar Males to Female Sex Pheromones.

A widely accepted hypothesis for host-plant selection in herbivorous insects is that ovipositing females select host-plants that maximize the survival and performance of their offspring. However, numerous studies indicate that this is not always the case for polyphagous species. Lymantria dispar is a highly polyphagous forest defoliator and has flightless females in some subspecies, resulting in a limited capacity to make host-choices. Males of other Lepidopteran species utilize a combination of sexual pheromones and plant volatiles in their mating choices and exhibit preferences among plant species. We explored the behavior of L. dispar males towards sexual pheromone in the presence and absence of plant volatiles and their ability to discriminate between two plant species with different degrees of suitability for their offspring: a suboptimal host (Pinus sylvestris), and an optimal host (Quercus robur). In no-choice wind tunnel assays, we found that rates of male success in locating a pheromone source were not altered by the presence of plant odors; however, the time spent by males searching for the pheromone source after reaching the full length of the tunnel was reduced by more than 50% in the presence of plant volatiles. In dual choice assays, males exhibited a clear preference for a combination of pheromones and plant volatiles over the pheromone alone. However, we did not find evidence of an innate ability to discriminate between the odors of optimal and suboptimal host plants. We discuss possible ecological and evolutionary explanations for these observations.