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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine

This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: a Focus on Aspergillus fumicatus, the Genetics of Mokola Virus, Fruit Flies’ Robust Immune System, and More

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

Soares Magalhães RJ, Fançony C, Gamboa D, Langa AJ, Sousa-Figueiredo JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2321. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002321
Soares Magalhães RJ, Fançony C, Gamboa D, Langa AJ, Sousa-Figueiredo JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2321. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002321

In contrast to all other known virus species in the genus Lyssavirus of the family Rhabdoviridae, Mokola virus is unique in that it appears to be exclusive to Africa and its reservoir host has not yet been identified. As only limited sequence information is available Joe Kgaladi and colleagues set out with this study to significantly contribute to the understanding of the genetic diversity and relatedness of Mokola viruses.

Improved understanding of the differential diagnosis of endemic Treponematoses is needed to inform clinical practice and to ensure the best outcome for a new global initiative for the eradication of yaws, bejel and pinta. Here, Oriol Mitjà and colleagues review the dilemmas in the diagnosis of endemic Treponematoses, and advances in the discovery of new diagnostic tools.

Chikungunya is a virus in which little is known about transmission during normal, non-outbreak periods and thus its disease burden is largely guesswork. A study conducted by Herman Kosasih and colleagues between 2000 and 2008 in Bandun, West Java, Indonesia, yielded several important findings about its prevalence in communities there as well as which genotypes are responsible for illnesses and where.

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

Two Pearls this week deal with the sometimes deadly fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumicatus. William Steinbach discusses recent advances on accurate early diagnosis and on leads for potential new treatments, while Anuradha Chowdhary and colleagues summarize what is known about the origin and rapid spread of azole-resistant strains that are jeopardizing the treatment of patients with invasive aspergillosis.

The intracellular parasites Toxoplasma and Plasmodium have specialized secretory organelles (called micronemes and rhoptries) that are involved in host cell invasion and egress. Stanislav Tomavo and colleagues review what is known about the machinery and routes involved in trafficking proteins to these organelles where they function in parasite survival and pathogenesis.

Studying the immune system in the fruit fly Drosophila during metamorphosis when most of the larval tissues dissolve and the adult fly develops, Anna Zaidman-Rémy and colleagues report that activation of hemocytes (the fly’s immune cells) by the steroid hormone ecdysone is necessary for their developmental and immune functions, and for the animal’s ability to respond to and survive pathogenic challenge.


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