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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

This Week in PLOS Pathogens and NTDs: Togo’s LF Successes; Chagas in the Gran Chaco; Neurospirochetoses in Humans and Rodent Models of Disease; Possible Role of Caveolin-1 Protein and more

Berthier E, Lim FY, Deng Q, Guo C-J, Kontoyiannis DP, et al. (2013) Low-Volume Toolbox for the Discovery of Immunosuppressive Fungal Secondary Metabolites. PLoS Pathog 9(4): e1003289. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003289

New articles publishing in PLOS NTDs this week:

In 2000, the National Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (NPELF) was initiated in Togo and after nine years of mass drug administration Togo has become the first sub-Saharan country to reach likely interruption of infection. Dr. Yao Kognanou Sodahlon and colleagues discuss this milestone, the steps taken to reach it and the future path towards total elimination.

The Gran Chaco – a vast region that spans parts of Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil – has not seen effective control of vector-borne Chagas disease. Dr. Juan Gurevitz and colleagues monitored an infestation of the major vector, Triatoma infestans, in Northern Argentina after a community-wide spraying of insecticide in an effort to understand whether or not that approach offered a sustainable and effective path to vector control.

Nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and iron deficiency are common in women in rural and disadvantaged regions. In this study, Dr. Gerard Casey and colleagues studied the effects of a 54-month program in which approximately 250,000 women in rural Vietnam were given iron-folic acid dietary supplements and regular deworming treatments. The resulting impact on anemia and iron deficiency prevalence was dramatic.

New articles publishing in PLOS Pathogens this week:

The neurotropism of spirochetes is evident in the human spirochetal diseases, such as syphilis, the human borrelioses, and leptospirosis. However, most of the current animal models for the spirochetoses either do not recreate the manifestations of the neurological spectrum or require special manipulations to establish infection. Garcia-Monco and Benach discuss this major challenge.

HIV-1 interactions with myeloid dendritic cells (DCs) can result in virus dissemination to CD4+ T cells via a trans-infection pathway dependent on virion incorporation of the host cell derived glycosphingolipid, GM3, yet it’s the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Puryear et al. define a novel host-encoded receptor-ligand interaction that drives HIV-1 dissemination and can be used for development of novel anti-viral therapeutics.

Chronic infection of gastric epithelial cells by Helicobacter pylori is a major risk factor for human gastric cancer (GC) where Caveolin-1 (Cav1), a scaffold protein and pathogen receptor, is frequently down-regulated. However the function of Cav1 remains unknown. The results of Hitkova et al. suggest a protective role of this protein against H. pylori-induced inflammation and tissue damage.

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