Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 112 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[The search for novel insecticide targets in the post-genomics era, with a specific focus on G-protein coupled receptors]]> Insects are considered pests globally, implicated in the destruction of agricultural fields and transmission of pathogens that cause deadly human diseases, such as dengue, Zika and malaria. The diversity of the insecticide arsenal has remained stagnant for decades, but the recent rise of insecticide resistance fueled the discovery of novel modes of action, and the power of genomics has reinvigorated this search. This review discusses the importance of comparative and functional insect genomics in the identification of potential gene targets for an insecticidal mode of action with low off-target toxicity. Due to the global participation in the sequencing and annotation of insect genomes, the targeting of specific genes with molecular tools like RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 for genome engineering and consequent functional identification and validation has become more efficient. While there are multiple avenues to explore for insecticidal candidates, this review identifies G-protein coupled receptors as attractive targets, and hones in on the octopamine and dopamine receptors due to their potential. <![CDATA[Time trends and changes in the distribution of malaria cases in the Brazilian Amazon Region, 2004-2013]]> Recent efforts to reduce malaria incidence have had some successes. Nevertheless, malaria persists as a significant public health problem in the Brazilian Amazon. The objective of this study was to describe changes in malaria case characteristics and to identify trends in malaria incidence in the Brazilian Amazon. This study used data from the Malaria Epidemiological Surveillance and Case Notification Information System from 2004 to 2013. The annual parasite incidence (API) was calculated and joinpoint regression was used to assess the trends in API over time. There was a sharp increase in API in the state of Acre, followed by two periods of decrease. Pará also presented inconsistent decreases over the study period. Amapá, Amazonas, Rondônia, and Roraima showed statistically significant decreases over the period. The sharpest decrease occurred in Rondônia, with a reduction of 21.7% in the average annual percent change (AAPC) (AAPC: -21.7%; 95% confidence interval: -25.4%, -17.8%; p &lt; 0.05). This panorama of malaria incidence highlights the importance of integrating evidence-based malaria surveillance and control. Malaria is highly preventable, and eliminating its transmission should be a goal in coming decades. <![CDATA[Entering and exiting behaviour of the phlebotomine sand fly <em>Lutzomyia longiflocosa</em> (Diptera: Psychodidae) in rural houses of the sub-Andean region of Colombia]]> The present study identified the entering and exiting sites for Lutzomyia longiflocosa in rural houses of the sub-Andean region in Colombia. Entering sites were identified with sticky traps set up outside the bedrooms, around the eave openings, and with cage traps enclosing the slits in the doors and windows inside the bedrooms. Exiting sites were identified by releasing groups of females indoors. These females were blood fed and marked with fluorescent powders. Females were recaptured with the trap placement described above but set up on the opposite sides of the openings. In the entering experiment, a significantly higher number of females were captured in the sticky traps at the zone nearest the eave openings (n = 142) than those captured in the other zones of the trap (n = 52); similarly, a higher number of females were captured on the front side of the house (n = 105) than at the rear side (n = 37). Only two females were collected in the cage trap. In the exiting experiment, at the ceiling, the highest percentage (86.2%) of females was recaptured with sticky traps nearest the eave openings and on the front side of the house (70.0%). Seven females were collected in the cage trap. Lu. longiflocosa entered and exited houses primarily through the eave openings in a non-random pattern in relation to the sides of the house. <![CDATA[Susceptibility of <em>Phytomonas serpens</em> to calpain inhibitors in vitro: interference on the proliferation, ultrastructure, cysteine peptidase expression and interaction with the invertebrate host]]> A pleiotropic response to the calpain inhibitor MDL28170 was detected in the tomato parasite Phytomonas serpens. Ultrastructural studies revealed that MDL28170 caused mitochondrial swelling, shortening of flagellum and disruption of trans Golgi network. This effect was correlated to the inhibition in processing of cruzipain-like molecules, which presented an increase in expression paralleled by decreased proteolytic activity. Concomitantly, a calcium-dependent cysteine peptidase was detected in the parasite extract, the activity of which was repressed by pre-incubation of parasites with MDL28170. Flow cytometry and Western blotting analyses revealed the differential expression of calpain-like proteins (CALPs) in response to the pre-incubation of parasites with the MDL28170, and confocal fluorescence microscopy confirmed their surface location. The interaction of promastigotes with explanted salivary glands of the insect Oncopeltus fasciatus was reduced when parasites were pre-treated with MDL28170, which was correlated to reduced levels of surface cruzipain-like and gp63-like molecules. Treatment of parasites with anti-Drosophila melanogaster (Dm) calpain antibody also decreased the adhesion process. Additionally, parasites recovered from the interaction process presented higher levels of surface cruzipain-like and gp63-like molecules, with similar levels of CALPs cross-reactive to anti-Dm-calpain antibody. The results confirm the importance of exploring the use of calpain inhibitors in studying parasites’ physiology. <![CDATA[Phenotypic diversity and selection maintain <em>Leishmania amazonensis</em> infectivity in BALB/c mouse model]]> Leishmania are protozoan parasites that show remarkable diversity, as revealed by the various clinical forms of leishmaniasis, which can range from mild skin lesions to severe metastatic cutaneous/mucosal lesions. The exact nature and extent of Leishmania phenotypic diversity in establishing infection is not fully understood. In order to try to understand some aspects of this diversity, we subcutaneously infected BALB/c mice with first and second generation subclones of a L. amazonensis strain isolated from a patient (BA125) and examined in vivo lesion growth rate and antimony susceptibility. In vivo fast-, medium- and slow-growing subclones were obtained; moreover, fast-growing subclones could generate slow-growing subclones and inversely, revealing the continuous generation of diversity after passage into mice. No antimony-resistant subclone appeared, probably a rare occurrence. By tagging subclone cells with a L. amazonensis genomic cosmid library, we found that only a very small number of founding cells could produce lesions. Leishmania clones transfected with in vivo selected individual cosmids were also diverse in terms of lesion growth rate, revealing the cosmid-independent intrinsic characteristics of each clone. Our results suggest that only a few of the infecting parasites are able to grow and produce lesions; later, within the cell mixture of each lesion, there coexist several parasite populations with different potentialities to grow lesions during the next infection round. This may reflect a sort of programmed heterogeneity of individual parasites, favoring the survival of some individuals in various environmental conditions. <![CDATA[Scoring clinical signs can help diagnose canine visceral leishmaniasis in a highly endemic area in Brazil]]> Canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) diagnosis is still a challenge in endemic areas with limited diagnostic resources. This study proposes a score with the potential to distinguish positive CVL cases from negative ones. We studied 265 dogs that tested positive for CVL on ELISA and parasitological tests. A score ranging between 0 and 19 was recorded on the basis of clinical signs. Dogs with CVL had an overall higher positivity of the majority of clinical signs than did dogs without CVL or with ehrlichiosis. Clinical signs such as enlarged lymph nodes (83.93%), muzzle/ear lesions (55.36%), nutritional status (51.79%), bristle condition (57.14%), pale mucosal colour (48.21%), onychogryphosis (58.93%), skin lesion (39.28%), bleeding (12.50%), muzzle depigmentation (41.07%), alopecia (39.29%), blepharitis (21.43%), and keratoconjunctivitis (42.86%) were more frequent in dogs with CVL than in dogs with ehrlichiosis or without CVL. Moreover, the clinical score increased according to the positivity of all diagnostic tests (ELISA, p &lt; 0.001; parasite culture, p = 0.0021; and smear, p = 0.0003). Onychogryphosis (long nails) [odds ratio (OR): 3.529; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.832-6.796; p &lt; 0.001], muzzle depigmentation (OR: 4.651; 95% CI: 2.218-9.750; p &lt; 0.001), and keratoconjunctivitis (OR: 5.400; 95% CI: 2.549-11.441; p &lt; 0.001) were highly associated with CVL. Interestingly, a score cut-off value ≥ 6 had an area under the curve of 0.717 (p &lt; 0.0001), sensitivity of 60.71%, and specificity of 73.64% for CVL diagnosis. The clinical sign-based score for CVL diagnosis suggested herein can help veterinarians reliably identify dogs with CVL in endemic areas with limited diagnostic resources. <![CDATA[Lethal and sublethal effects of essential oil of <em>Lippia sidoides</em> (Verbenaceae) and monoterpenes on Chagas’ disease vector <em>Rhodnius prolixus</em>]]> The aim of this study was to identify the composition of the essential oil from leaves of Lippia sidoides (EOLS), a typical shrub commonly found in the dry northeast of Brazil, popularly known as “alecrim-pimenta”. Additionally, we investigated the nymphicidal, ovicidal, phagoinhibitory and excretion effects of EOLS, its major constituent thymol and its isomer carvacrol, on fourth instar nymphs and eggs of Rhodnius prolixus, the Chagas’ disease vector. The nymphicidal and ovicidal activity of thymol, carvacrol, and EOLS was assessed by tests using impregnated Petri dishes. The lethal concentration values (LC50) for EOLS, carvacrol, and thymol were 54.48, 32.98, and 9.38 mg/cm2, respectively. The ovicidal test showed that both carvacrol and thymol (50 mg/cm2) inhibited hatching (50% and 23.3%, respectively), while treatments with 10 mg/cm2 or 50 mg/cm2 EOLS did not affect the hatching rate at all (80% and 90%, respectively). We observed an anti-feeding effect in insects fed with blood containing natural products at the higher concentrations (100 µg/mL). Finally, excretion rate was affected by EOLS and carvacrol, but not by thymol. These findings offer novel insights into basic physiological processes that make the tested natural compounds interesting candidates for new types of insecticides. <![CDATA[Prevalence of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> infection among Bolivian immigrants in the city of São Paulo, Brazil]]> With the urbanisation of the population in developing countries and the process of globalisation, Chagas has become an emerging disease in the urban areas of endemic and non-endemic countries. In 2006, it was estimated that the prevalence of Chagas disease among the general Bolivian population was 6.8%. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection among Bolivian immigrants living in São Paulo, Brazil. This study had a sample of 633 volunteers who were randomly selected from the clientele of primary care units located in the central districts of São Paulo, Brazil. Infection was detected by two different ELISA assays with epimastigote antigens, followed by an immunoblot with trypomastigote antigens as a confirmatory test. The prevalence of the infection was 4.4%. Risk factors independently associated with the infection were: a history of rural jobs in Bolivia, knowledge of the vector involved in transmission, and having relatives with Chagas disease. Brazil has successfully eliminated household vector transmission of T. cruzi, as well as its transmission by blood transfusion. The arrival of infected immigrants represents an additional challenge to primary care clinics to manage chronic Chagas disease, its vertical transmission, and the blood derivatives and organ transplant programs. <![CDATA[First description of <em>Leishmania</em> (<em>Viannia</em>) infection in <em>Evandromyia saulensis</em>, <em>Pressatia</em> sp. and <em>Trichophoromyia auraensis</em> (Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) in a transmission area of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Acre state, Amazon Basin, Brazil]]> Studies on the sandfly fauna to evaluate natural infection indexes are still limited in the Brazilian Amazon, a region with an increasing incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Here, by using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction directed to Leishmania kDNA and hybridisation, we were able to identify L. (Viannia) subgenus in 12 out of 173 sandflies captured in the municipality of Rio Branco, Acre state, revealing a positivity of 6.94%. By sequencing the Leishmania 234 bp-hsp70 amplified products from positive samples, infection by L. (V.) braziliensis was confirmed in five sandflies: one Evandromyia saulensis, three Trichophoromyia auraensis and one Pressatia sp. The finding of L. (Viannia) DNA in two Ev. saulensis corresponds to the first record of possible infection associated with this sandfly. Moreover, our study reveals for the first time in Brazil, Th. auraensis and Pressatia sp. infected by L. (Viannia) parasites. <![CDATA[Genomic information on multidrug-resistant livestock-associated methicillin-resistant <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em> ST398 isolated from a Brazilian patient with cystic fibrosis]]> Alarmingly, the isolation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been increasing among patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). During a previous molecular characterisation of MRSA isolates obtained from patients with CF from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one isolate was identified as the ST398 clone, a livestock-associated (LA) MRSA. In this study, we report the draft genome sequence of an LA-MRSA ST398 clone isolated from a patient with CF.