ISSN / EISSN : 1553-7366 / 1553-7374
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 9,317
Latest articles in this journal
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010080
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010079
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010084
Primary infection with varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes varicella and the establishment of lifelong latency in sensory ganglion neurons. In one-third of infected individuals VZV reactivates from latency to cause herpes zoster, often complicated by difficult-to-treat chronic pain. Experimental infection of non-human primates with simian varicella virus (SVV) recapitulates most features of human VZV disease, thereby providing the opportunity to study the pathogenesis of varicella and herpes zoster in vivo. However, compared to VZV, the transcriptome and the full coding potential of SVV remains incompletely understood. Here, we performed direct long-read RNA sequencing to annotate the SVV transcriptome in lytically SVV-infected African green monkey (AGM) and rhesus macaque (RM) kidney epithelial cells. We refined structures of canonical SVV transcripts and uncovered numerous RNA isoforms, splicing events, fusion transcripts and non-coding RNAs, mostly unique to SVV. We verified the expression of canonical and newly identified SVV transcripts in vivo, using lung samples from acutely SVV-infected cynomolgus macaques. Expression of selected transcript isoforms, including those located in the unique left-end of the SVV genome, was confirmed by reverse transcription PCR. Finally, we performed detailed characterization of the SVV homologue of the VZV latency-associated transcript (VLT), located antisense to ORF61. Analogous to VZV VLT, SVV VLT is multiply spliced and numerous isoforms are generated using alternative transcription start sites and extensive splicing. Conversely, low level expression of a single spliced SVV VLT isoform defines in vivo latency. Notably, the genomic location of VLT core exons is highly conserved between SVV and VZV. This work thus highlights the complexity of lytic SVV gene expression and provides new insights into the molecular biology underlying lytic and latent SVV infection. The identification of the SVV VLT homolog further underlines the value of the SVV non-human primate model to develop new strategies for prevention of herpes zoster.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009820
Interferons play a critical role in regulating host immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, but the interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene (ISG) effectors that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 are not well characterized. The IFN-inducible short isoform of human nuclear receptor coactivator 7 (NCOA7) inhibits endocytic virus entry, interacts with the vacuolar ATPase, and promotes endo-lysosomal vesicle acidification and lysosomal protease activity. Here, we used ectopic expression and gene knockout to demonstrate that NCOA7 inhibits infection by SARS-CoV-2 as well as by lentivirus particles pseudotyped with SARS-CoV-2 Spike in lung epithelial cells. Infection with the highly pathogenic, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, or seasonal, HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63, coronavirus Spike-pseudotyped viruses was also inhibited by NCOA7. Importantly, either overexpression of TMPRSS2, which promotes plasma membrane fusion versus endosomal fusion of SARS-CoV-2, or removal of Spike’s polybasic furin cleavage site rendered SARS-CoV-2 less sensitive to NCOA7 restriction. Collectively, our data indicate that furin cleavage sensitizes SARS-CoV-2 Spike to the antiviral consequences of endosomal acidification by NCOA7, and suggest that the acquisition of furin cleavage may have favoured the co-option of cell surface TMPRSS proteases as a strategy to evade the suppressive effects of IFN-induced endo-lysosomal dysregulation on virus infection.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010030
The parasite Entamoeba histolytica is the etiological agent of amoebiasis, a major cause of morbidity and mortality due to parasitic diseases in developing countries. Phagocytosis is an essential mode of obtaining nutrition and has been associated with the virulence behaviour of E. histolytica. Signalling pathways involved in activation of cytoskeletal dynamics required for phagocytosis remains to be elucidated in this parasite. Our group has been studying initiation of phagocytosis and formation of phagosomes in E. histolytica and have described some of the molecules that play key roles in the process. Here we showed the involvement of non-Dbl Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor, EhGEF in regulation of amoebic phagocytosis by regulating activation of EhRho1. EhGEF was found in the phagocytic cups during the progression of cups, until closure of phagosomes, but not in the phagosomes themselves. Our observation from imaging, pull down experiments and down regulating expression of different molecules suggest that EhGEF interacts with EhRho1 and it is required during initiation of phagocytosis and phagosome formation. Also, biophysical, and computational analysis reveals that EhGEF mediates GTP exchange on EhRho1 via an unconventional pathway. In conclusion, we describe a non-Dbl EhGEF of EhRho1 which is involved in endocytic processes of E. histolytica.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009855
Vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can occur in utero, during delivery, and through breastfeeding. We utilized Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging coupled with fluorescent microscopy of 64Cu-labeled photoactivatable-GFP-HIV (PA-GFP-BaL) to determine how HIV virions distribute and localize in neonatal rhesus macaques two and four hours after oral viral challenge. Our results show that by four hours after oral viral exposure, HIV virions localize to and penetrate the rectal mucosa. We also used a dual viral challenge with a non-replicative viral vector and a replication competent SHIV-1157ipd3N4 to examine viral transduction and dissemination at 96 hours. Our data show that while SHIV-1157ipd3N4 infection can be found in the oral cavity and upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the small and large intestine contained the largest number of infected cells. Moreover, we found that T cells were the biggest population of infected immune cells. Thus, thanks to these novel technologies, we are able to visualize and delineate of viral distribution and infection throughout the entire neonatal GI tract during acute viral infection.
PLoS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010090
Natural Killer (NK) cells contribute to HIV control in adults, but HLA-B-mediated T-cell activity has a more substantial impact on disease outcome. However, the HLA-B molecules influencing immune control in adults have less impact on paediatric infection. To investigate the contribution NK cells make to immune control, we studied >300 children living with HIV followed over two decades in South Africa. In children, HLA-B alleles associated with adult protection or disease-susceptibility did not have significant effects, whereas Bw4 (p = 0.003) and low HLA-A expression (p = 0.002) alleles were strongly associated with immunological and viral control. In a comparator adult cohort, Bw4 and HLA-A expression contributions to HIV disease outcome were dwarfed by those of protective and disease-susceptible HLA-B molecules. We next investigated the immunophenotype and effector functions of NK cells in a subset of these children using flow cytometry. Slow progression and better plasma viraemic control were also associated with high frequencies of less terminally differentiated NKG2A+NKp46+CD56dim NK cells strongly responsive to cytokine stimulation and linked with the immunogenetic signature identified. Future studies are indicated to determine whether this signature associated with immune control in early life directly facilitates functional cure in children.
PLoS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009770
PfSPZ Vaccine against malaria is composed of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (SPZ) manufactured using aseptically reared Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Immune response genes of Anopheles mosquitoes such as Leucin-Rich protein (LRIM1), inhibit Plasmodium SPZ development (sporogony) in mosquitoes by supporting melanization and phagocytosis of ookinetes. With the aim of increasing PfSPZ infection intensities, we generated an A. stephensi LRIM1 knockout line, Δaslrim1, by embryonic genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9. Δaslrim1 mosquitoes had a significantly increased midgut bacterial load and an altered microbiome composition, including elimination of commensal acetic acid bacteria. The alterations in the microbiome caused increased mosquito mortality and unexpectedly, significantly reduced sporogony. The survival rate of Δaslrim1 and their ability to support PfSPZ development, were partially restored by antibiotic treatment of the mosquitoes, and fully restored to baseline when Δaslrim1 mosquitoes were produced aseptically. Deletion of LRIM1 also affected reproductive capacity: oviposition, fecundity and male fertility were significantly compromised. Attenuation in fecundity was not associated with the altered microbiome. This work demonstrates that LRIM1’s regulation of the microbiome has a major impact on vector competence and longevity of A. stephensi. Additionally, LRIM1 deletion identified an unexpected role for this gene in fecundity and reduction of sperm transfer by males.
PLoS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010067
Human ascariasis is the most prevalent but neglected tropical disease in the world, affecting approximately 450 million people. The initial phase of Ascaris infection is marked by larval migration from the host’s organs, causing mechanical injuries followed by an intense local inflammatory response, which is characterized mainly by neutrophil and eosinophil infiltration, especially in the lungs. During the pulmonary phase, the lesions induced by larval migration and excessive immune responses contribute to tissue remodeling marked by fibrosis and lung dysfunction. In this study, we investigated the relationship between SIgA levels and eosinophils. We found that TLR2 and TLR4 signaling induces eosinophils and promotes SIgA production during Ascaris suum infection. Therefore, control of parasite burden during the pulmonary phase of ascariasis involves eosinophil influx and subsequent promotion of SIgA levels. In addition, we also demonstrate that eosinophils also participate in the process of tissue remodeling after lung injury caused by larval migration, contributing to pulmonary fibrosis and dysfunction in re-infected mice. In conclusion, we postulate that eosinophils play a central role in mediating host innate and humoral immune responses by controlling parasite burden, tissue inflammation, and remodeling during Ascaris suum infection. Furthermore, we suggest that the use of probiotics can induce eosinophilia and SIgA production and contribute to controlling parasite burden and morbidity of helminthic diseases with pulmonary cycles.
PLOS Pathogens, Volume 17; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009595
Tail-anchored (TA) proteins are defined by the absence of N-terminus signal sequence and the presence of a single transmembrane domain (TMD) proximal to their C-terminus. They play fundamental roles in cellular processes including vesicular trafficking, protein translocation and quality control. Some of the TA proteins are post-translationally integrated by the Guided Entry of TA (GET) pathway to the cellular membranes; with their N-terminus oriented towards the cytosol and C-terminus facing the organellar lumen. The TA repertoire and the GET machinery have been extensively characterized in the yeast and mammalian systems, however, they remain elusive in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In this study, we bioinformatically predicted a total of 63 TA proteins in the P. falciparum proteome and revealed the association of a subset with the P. falciparum homolog of Get3 (PfGet3). In addition, our proximity labelling studies either definitively identified or shortlisted the other eligible GET constituents, and our in vitro association studies validated associations between PfGet3 and the corresponding homologs of Get4 and Get2 in P. falciparum. Collectively, this study reveals the presence of proteins with hallmark TA signatures and the involvement of evolutionary conserved GET trafficking pathway for their targeted delivery within the parasite.