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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine

This Week in PLOS Pathogens and NTDs: Dengue burden in SE Asia, Melioidosis in Thailand, Common Architecture of T3SS, Immunopathology of Leishmania infection and more

Demers J-P, Sgourakis NG, Gupta R, Loquet A, Giller K, et al. (2013) The Common Structural Architecture of Shigella flexneri and Salmonella typhimurium Type Three Secretion Needles. PLoS Pathog 9(3): e1003245. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003245

New articles publishing in PLOS NTDs this week:

Dr. Donald Shepard and colleagues release two complimentary papers, one research article and one systematic review, highlighting the disease and economic burden of dengue on twelve nations in SE Asia. Quantifying dengue’s impact is a critical task that helps policy makers set priorities and make informed decision about disease control.

Prevention guidelines for melioidosis are hampered by a lack of evidence on which to base them. Dr. Limmathurotsakul and colleagues report on a matched case-control study that tested inoculation, inhalation and ingestion as possible routes of infection. With these results the team was able to develop the first evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of melioidosis.

New articles publishing in PLOS Pathogens this week:

Viewed from a neo-Darwinian perspective, the main function of the metazoan immune system (IS) is to insure host integrity against invading microorganisms. Coevolution of the host and the competitors has been described as a perpetual arms race. In this Opinion, Dr. Eric Muraille argues that observations from microbiology and ecology challenge this paradigm and suggests that infectious organisms and the IS play a crucial, unexpected role in evolution.

The reason for the severity of mucosal leishmaniasis is largely unknown. However it is known that the severe disease appears to be due to an uncontrolled inflammatory response that includes elevated production of IFN-c and IL-17. Dr. Gonzalez-Lombana and colleagues show that IL-17, but not the IFNc, is a strong candidate to be targeted in strategies to control the severe immunopathology observed in mucosal leishmaniasis patients.

The Type Three Secretion System (T3SS) is a macromolecular infection machinery present in many pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria such as Salmonella typhimurium and Shigella flexneri. Dr. Demers and colleagues show that Shigella subunits adopt the same secondary structure and orientation as in the atomic model of Salmonella, revealing a common structural architecture of T3SS needles, essential to understanding T3SS-mediated infection.

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