Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 112 num. 10 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Brazilian scientific journals: challenges, (dis)incentives and one fundamental question]]> <![CDATA[<em>In silico</em> analysis of amino acid variation in human respiratory syncytial virus: insights into immunodiagnostics]]> BACKGROUND The highly contagious nature of human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) and the gravity of its infection in newborns and vulnerable adults pose a serious public health problem. Thus, a rapid and sensitive diagnostic test for viral detection that can be implemented upon the first appearance of symptoms is needed. The genetic variation of the virus must be considered for immunodiagnostic purposes. OBJECTIVES To analyse HRSV genetic variation and discuss the possible consequences for capture immunoassay development. METHODS We performed a wide analysis of N, F and G protein variation based on the HRSV sequences currently available in the GenBank database. We also evaluated their similarity with homologous proteins from other viruses. FINDINGS The mean amino acid divergences for the N, F, and G proteins between HRSV-A and HRSV-B were determined to be approximately 4%, 10% and 47%, respectively. Due to their high conservation, assays based on the full-length N and F proteins may not distinguish HRSV from human metapneumovirus and other Mononegavirales viruses, and the full-length G protein would most likely produce false negative results due to its high divergence. MAIN CONCLUSIONS We have identified specific regions in each of these three proteins that have higher potential to produce specific results, and their combined utilisation should be considered for immunoassay development. <![CDATA[Morphologic study of the effect of iron on pseudocyst formation in <em>Trichomonas vaginalis</em> and its interaction with human epithelial cells]]> BACKGROUND Trichomonas vaginalis is the aetiological agent of human trichomoniasis, which is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases in humans. Iron is an important element for the survival of this parasite and the colonisation of the host urogenital tract. OBJECTIVES In this study, we investigated the effects of iron on parasite proliferation in the dynamics of pseudocyst formation and morphologically characterised iron depletion-induced pseudocysts. METHODS We performed structural and ultrastructural analyses using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. FINDINGS It was observed that iron depletion (i) interrupts the proliferation of T. vaginalis, (ii) induces morphological changes in typical multiplicative trophozoites to spherical non-proliferative, non-motile pseudocysts, and (iii) induces the arrest of cell division at different stages of the cell cycle; (iv) iron is the fundamental element for the maintenance of typical trophozoite morphology; (v) pseudocysts induced by iron depletion are viable and reversible forms; and, finally, (vi) we demonstrated that pseudocysts induced by iron depletion are able to interact with human epithelial cells maintaining their spherical forms. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Together, these data suggest that pseudocysts could be induced as a response to iron nutritional stress and could have a potential role in the transmission and infection of T. vaginalis. <![CDATA[Environmental suitability for <em>Lutzomyia longipalpis</em> in a subtropical city with a recently established visceral leishmaniasis transmission cycle, Argentina]]> BACKGROUND Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an endemic disease in northeastern Argentina including the Corrientes province, where the presence of the vector and canine cases of VL were recently confirmed in December 2008. OBJECTIVES The objective of this study was to assess the modelling of micro- and macro-habitat variables to evaluate the urban environmental suitability for the spatial distribution of Lutzomyia longipalpis presence and abundance in an urban scenario. METHODS Sampling of 45 sites distributed throughout Corrientes city (Argentina) was carried out using REDILA-BL minilight traps in December 2013. The sampled specimens were identified according to methods described by Galati (2003). The analysis of variables derived from the processing of satellite images (macro-habitat variables) and from the entomological sampling and surveys (micro-habitat variables) was performed using the statistical software R. Three generalised linear models were constructed composed of micro- and macro-habitat variables to explain the spatial distribution of the abundance of Lu. longipalpis and one composed of micro-habitat variables to explain the occurrence of the vector. FINDINGS A total of 609 phlebotominae belonging to five species were collected, of which 56% were Lu. longipalpis. In addition, the presence of Nyssomyia neivai and Migonemya migonei, which are vectors of tegumentary leishmaniasis, were also documented and represented 34.81% and 6.74% of the collections, respectively. The explanatory variable normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) described the abundance distribution, whereas the presence of farmyard animals was important for explaining both the abundance and the occurrence of the vector. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The results contribute to the identification of variables that can be used to establish priority areas for entomological surveillance and provide an efficient transfer tool for the control and prevention of vector-borne diseases. <![CDATA[The role of gallery forests in maintaining Phlebotominae populations: potential <em>Leishmania</em> spp. vectors in the Brazilian savanna]]> BACKGROUND Knowledge on synanthropic phlebotomines and their natural infection by Leishmania is necessary for the identification of potential areas for leishmaniasis occurrence. OBJECTIVE To analyse the occurrence of Phlebotominae in gallery forests and household units (HUs) in the city of Palmas and to determine the rate of natural infection by trypanosomatids. METHODS Gallery forests and adjacent household areas were sampled on July (dry season) and November (rainy season) in 2014. The total sampling effort was 960 HP light traps and eight Shannon traps. Trypanosomatids were detected in Phlebotominae females through the amplification of the SSU rDNA region, and the positive samples were used in ITS1-PCR. Trypanosomatid species were identified using sequencing. FINDINGS A total of 1,527 sand flies representing 30 species were captured in which 949 (28 spp.) and 578 (22 spp.) were registered in July and November, respectively. In July, more specimens were captured in the gallery forests than in the HUs, and Nyssomyia whitmani was particularly frequent. In November, most of the specimens were found in the HUs, and again, Ny. whitmani was the predominant species. Lutzomyia longipalpis was commonly found in domestic areas, while Bichromomyia flaviscutellata was most frequent in gallery forests. Molecular analysis of 154 pools of females (752 specimens) identified Leishmania amazonensis, L. infantum, and Crithidia fasciculata in Ny. whitmani, as well as L. amazonensis in Lu. longipalpis, Trypanosoma sp. and L. amazonensis in Pintomyia christenseni, and L. amazonensis in both Psathyromyia hermanlenti and Evandromyia walkeri. MAIN CONCLUSIONS These results show the importance of gallery forests in maintaining Phlebotominae populations in the dry month, as well as their frequent occurrence in household units in the rainy month. This is the first study to identify Leishmania, Trypanosoma, and Crithidia species in Phlebotominae collected in Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil. <![CDATA[Antimycobacterial and antimalarial activities of endophytic fungi associated with the ancient and narrowly endemic neotropical plant <em>Vellozia gigantea</em> from Brazil]]> BACKGROUND Endophytic fungi, present mainly in the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota phyla, are associated with different plants and represent important producers of bioactive natural products. Brazil has a rich biodiversity of plant species, including those reported as being endemic. Among the endemic Brazilian plant species, Vellozia gigantea (Velloziaceae) is threatened by extinction and is a promising target to recover endophytic fungi. OBJECTIVE The present study focused on bioprospecting of bioactive compounds of the endophytic fungi associated with V. gigantea, an endemic, ancient, and endangered plant species that occurs only in the rupestrian grasslands of Brazil. METHODS The capability of 285 fungal isolates to produce antimicrobial and antimalarial activities was examined. Fungi were grown at solid-state fermentation to recover their crude extracts in dichloromethane. Bioactive extracts were analysed by chromatographic fractionation and NMR and displayed compounds with antimicrobial, antimycobacterial, and antimalarial activities. FINDINGS Five fungi produced antimicrobial and antimalarial compounds. Extracts of Diaporthe miriciae showed antifungal, antibacterial, and antimalarial activities; Trichoderma effusum displayed selective antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium intracellulare; and three Penicillium species showed antibacterial activity. D. miriciae extract contained highly functionalised secondary metabolites, yielding the compound epoxycytochalasin H with high antimalarial activity against the chloroquine-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum, with an IC50 approximately 3.5-fold lower than that with chloroquine. MAIN CONCLUSION Our results indicate that V. gigantea may represent a microhabitat repository hotspot of potential fungi producers of bioactive compounds and suggest that endophytic fungal communities might be an important biological component contributing to the fitness of the plants living in the rupestrian grassland. <![CDATA[The eco-epidemiology of <em>Triatoma infestans</em> in the temperate Monte Desert ecoregion of mid-western Argentina]]> BACKGROUND The eco-epidemiological status of Chagas disease in the Monte Desert ecoregion of western Argentina is largely unknown. We investigated the environmental and socio-demographic determinants of house infestation with Triatoma infestans, bug abundance, vector infection with Trypanosoma cruzi and host-feeding sources in a well-defined rural area of Lavalle Department in the Mendoza province. METHODS Technical personnel inspected 198 houses for evidence of infestation with T. infestans, and the 76 houses included in the current study were re-inspected. In parallel with the vector survey, an environmental and socio-demographic survey was also conducted. Univariate risk factor analysis for domiciliary infestation was carried out using Firth penalised logistic regression. We fitted generalised linear models for house infestation and bug abundance. Blood meals were tested with a direct ELISA assay, and T. cruzi infection was determined using a hot-start polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the kinetoplast minicircle (kDNA-PCR). FINDINGS The households studied included an aged population living in precarious houses whose main economic activities included goat husbandry. T. infestans was found in 21.2% of 198 houses and in 55.3% of the 76 re-inspected houses. Peridomestic habitats exhibited higher infestation rates and bug abundances than did domiciles, and goat corrals showed high levels of infestation. The main host-feeding sources were goats. Vector infection was present in 10.2% of domiciles and 3.2% of peridomiciles. Generalised linear models showed that peridomestic infestation was positively and significantly associated with the presence of mud walls and the abundance of chickens and goats, and bug abundance increased with the number of all hosts except rabbits. MAIN CONCLUSIONS We highlight the relative importance of specific peridomestic structures (i.e., goat corrals and chicken coops) associated with construction materials and host abundance as sources of persistent bug infestation driving domestic colonisation. Environmental management strategies framed in a community-based programme combined with improved insecticide spraying and sustained vector surveillance are needed to effectively suppress local T. infestans populations. <![CDATA[Multi-criteria decision analysis and spatial statistic: an approach to determining human vulnerability to vector transmission of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em>]]> BACKGROUND Chagas disease (CD), caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is a neglected human disease. It is endemic to the Americas and is estimated to have an economic impact, including lost productivity and disability, of 7 billion dollars per year on average. OBJECTIVES To assess vulnerability to vector-borne transmission of T. cruzi in domiciliary environments within an area undergoing domiciliary vector interruption of T. cruzi in Colombia. METHODS Multi-criteria decision analysis [preference ranking method for enrichment evaluation (PROMETHEE) and geometrical analysis for interactive assistance (GAIA) methods] and spatial statistics were performed on data from a socio-environmental questionnaire and an entomological survey. In the construction of multi-criteria descriptors, decision-making processes and indicators of five determinants of the CD vector pathway were summarily defined, including: (1) house indicator (HI); (2) triatominae indicator (TI); (3) host/reservoir indicator (Ho/RoI); (4) ecotope indicator (EI); and (5) socio-cultural indicator (S-CI). FINDINGS Determination of vulnerability to CD is mostly influenced by TI, with 44.96% of the total weight in the model, while the lowest contribution was from S-CI, with 7.15%. The five indicators comprise 17 indices, and include 78 of the original 104 priority criteria and variables. The PROMETHEE and GAIA methods proved very efficient for prioritisation and quantitative categorisation of socio-environmental determinants and for better determining which criteria should be considered for interrupting the man-T. cruzi-vector relationship in endemic areas of the Americas. Through the analysis of spatial autocorrelation it is clear that there is a spatial dependence in establishing categories of vulnerability, therefore, the effect of neighbors’ setting (border areas) on local values should be incorporated into disease management for establishing programs of surveillance and control of CD via vector. CONCLUSIONS The study model proposed here is flexible and can be adapted to various eco-epidemiological profiles and is suitable for focusing anti-T. cruzi serological surveillance programs in vulnerable human populations. <![CDATA[Emergence of <em>Trichosporon mycotoxinivorans (Apiotrichum mycotoxinivorans)</em> invasive infections in Latin America]]> We report the first two cases of Trichosporon mycotoxinivorans infections in Latin America. We also conducted a literature review and a microbiological investigation, including that of clinical and environmental isolates. A 30-year-old man with chronic renal failure had disseminated infection after dialysis and a 15-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis (CF) had pulmonary exacerbations with positive respiratory samples. A review of the relevant literature revealed that deep-seated infections were related to immunosuppression or invasive devices, while most of the CF patients showed a decline in lung function after positive cultures. Phylogenetic analyses revealed three distinct circulating genotypes. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis showed similar spectral profiles and correctly identified all strains/isolates. Biofilm production was documented in a bloodstream isolate and biofilm-producing cells showed high minimum inhibitory concentrations against antifungals. <![CDATA[Glimpse into the genome sequence of a multidrug-resistant <em>Acinetobacter pittii</em> ST950 clinical isolate carrying the <em>bla</em><sub>OXA-72</sub> and <em>bla</em><sub>OXA-533</sub> genes in China]]> The development of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species is of serious concern in the hospital settings and naturally occurring oxacillinase genes (blaOXA) have been identified in several Acinetobacter species. In this study, we report the genome sequence of A. pittii TCM178 belongs to ST950, a multidrug-resistant isolate that harbored the blaOXA-72 and blaOXA-533 genes simultaneous. The genome size was estimated to be 3,789,564 bp with 3,501 predicted coding regions, and G+C content is 37.60%. Our findings have raised awareness of the possible constitution of a reservoir for peculiar carbapenemase genes in A. pittii that may spread among other Acinetobacter species in China. <![CDATA[Characterisation of complete high- and low-risk human papillomavirus genomes isolated from cervical specimens in southern Brazil]]> The classification of human papillomavirus (HPV) intratypic lineages by complete genome sequencing is a determinant in understanding biological differences in association with this disease. In this work, we have characterised complete HPV genomes from southern Brazil. Fifteen cervicovaginal Pap smear negative samples previously categorised as HPV-positive were sequenced using ultradeep sequencing, and 18 complete genomes from 13 different HPV types were assembled. Phylogenetic and genetic distance analyses were performed to classify the HPV genomes into lineages and sublineages. This is the first report describing the distribution of HPV intratype lineages of high and low oncogenic risk in asymptomatic women from southern Brazil.