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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Targeting Schistosome Receptors; the Secret Life of Glycoproteins; New Strategies Against TB; RRV Viral Entry Mediation in Rhesus Monkeys; and More

Mysore K, Flannery EM, Tomchaney M, Severson DW, Duman-Scheel M (2013) Disruption of Aedes aegypti Olfactory System Development through Chitosan/siRNA Nanoparticle Targeting of semaphorin-1a. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(5): e2215. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002215

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS NTDs this week:

There is not yet a vaccine for schistosomiasis and treatment presently relies on a single drug, praziquantel, which has shown cases of reduced efficacy in certain areas, raising serious concerns about the need to develop a new therapy. In this paper, Dr. Mathieu Vanderstraete and colleagues have investigated the possibility of fighting Schistosoma mansoni by targeting key receptors involved in the parasite’s glucose uptake, metabolism and reproduction.

Closely related to tuberculosis, Mycobacterium africanum is less likely to stimulate the host immune system or progress to active disease. Here Dr. Florian Gehre and colleagues describe the fundamental genomic and phenotypic differences between M. tuberculosis and M. africanum to better understand the virulence mechanisms that make the former one of the most successful bacterial pathogens, and to discover potential strategies to interfere with mycobacterial pathogenicity.

Dr. Keshava Mysore and colleagues analyze development of the Aedes aegypti olfactory system, a tissue of vector importance which is critical for recognition of human blood meal hosts, among other essential behaviors. Utilizing small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) delivered through chitosan nanoparticle feedings to larvae to target the axon guidance gene semaphorin-1a (sema1a) a variety of larval and pupal olfactory system defects were introduced.

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS Pathogens this week:

Survival of infection with Ebola virus (EBOV) depends on the ability of the host to mount early and strong immune responses, however, given that EBOV cases are associated with 40%– 90% human mortality, EBOV has developed intricate solutions to human immunological defenses. Drs. Jonathan Cook and Jeffrey Lee discuss the current structural understanding of the functions of envelope entry glycoproteins in immune evasion using EBOV as an example.

Rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV) is a gamma-2 herpesvirus that is a close homolog of the human Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; HHV-8), but RRV is able to use a broader range of both A-type and B-type Eph receptors. Drs. Alexander Hahn and Ronald Desrosiers show that the gH/gL glycoprotein complex of rhesus monkey rhadinovirus binds to and mediates entry of virus into target cells via cellular Ephrin receptor tyrosine kinase proteins.

Neisseria meningitidis is a human pathogen that can cause life threatening meningitis and sepsis in humans; however the key processes that dictate the transition from carriage of the bacterium in the airway to invasive disease are undefined. Dr. Freda Jen and colleagues report that the receptor for this pathogen on airway epithelial cells is the platelet activating factor receptor (PAFr), an immunomodulatory molecule shown to play a role in promoting bacterial sepsis.

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