Abstract in English:For many years, prokaryotic cells were distinguished from eukaryotic cells based on the simplicity of their cytoplasm, in which the presence of organelles and cytoskeletal structures had not been discovered. Based on current knowledge, this review describes the complex components of the prokaryotic cell cytoskeleton, including (i) tubulin homologues composed of FtsZ, BtuA, BtuB and several associated proteins, which play a fundamental role in cell division, (ii) actin-like homologues, such as MreB and Mb1, which are involved in controlling cell width and cell length, and (iii) intermediate filament homologues, including crescentin and CfpA, which localise on the concave side of a bacterium and along its inner curvature and associate with its membrane. Some prokaryotes exhibit specialised membrane-bound organelles in the cytoplasm, such as magnetosomes and acidocalcisomes, as well as protein complexes, such as carboxysomes. This review also examines recent data on the presence of nanotubes, which are structures that are well characterised in mammalian cells that allow direct contact and communication between cells.
Abstract in English:A sticky trap designed to capture gravid Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti mosquitoes, MosquiTRAP, has been evaluated for monitoring this species in Brazil. However, the effects of trap densities on the capture rate of Ae. aegypti females and the sensitivity of vector detection are still unknown. After a preliminary study has identified areas of high and low female mosquito abundance, a set of experiments was conducted in four neighbourhoods of Belo Horizonte (state of Minas Gerais, Brazil) using densities of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 traps per block. Trap sensitivity (positive MosquiTRAP index) increased significantly when 1-8 MosquiTRAPs were installed per block in both high and low abundance areas. A strong fit was obtained for the total number of mosquitoes captured with increasing trap densities through a non-linear function (Box-Lucas) (r² = 0,994), which likely exhibits saturation towards an equilibrium level. The capacity of the Mean Female Aedes Index to distinguish between areas of high and low Ae. aegypti abundance was also investigated; the achieved differentiation was shown to be dependent on the MosquiTRAP density.
Abstract in English:Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) can modulate the immune system and their primary effect is on macrophage function. Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is an endemic systemic mycosis in Latin America that is caused by the dimorphic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb). Macrophages are the main defence against this pathogen and have microbicidal activity that is dependent on interferon-Γ and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α. These cytokines stimulate the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), leading to the death of the fungus. To study the effect of n-3 PUFA on the host immune response during experimental PCM, macrophages that were obtained from animals infected with Pb18 and fed a diet enriched by linseed (LIN) oil were cultured and challenged with the fungus in vitro. The macrophage function was analysed based on the concentrations of TNF-α, NO and H2O2. LIN oil seems to influence the production of TNF-α during the development of disease. A diet enriched with LIN oil influences the microbicidal activity of the macrophages by inducing the production of cytokines and metabolites such as NO and H2O2, predominantly in the chronic phase of infection.
Abstract in English:The aim of this work was the partial purification and subsequent evaluation of chitinase expression during the various growth phases of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Initially, PbCTS1r was expressed as a recombinant protein and displayed enzymatic activity against 4-MU-[N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc)]3 and 4-MU-(GlcNAc)2. Two proteins, 45 kDa and 39 kDa in size, were partially purified from P. brasiliensis yeast crude extract using cation-exchange chromatography coupled with HPLC and were characterised as PbCTS1 and PbCTS2, respectively. Anti-PbCTS1r antibody recognised two proteins in the crude extracts of yeast and the transitional stage between mycelial and yeast phases. In crude extracts of mycelium, only the 45 kDa protein was detected. However, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction led to the detection of small quantities of Pbcts2 transcript in the mycelial phase. In the yeast cell wall extract, only the 39 kDa protein was detected. Moreover, both proteins were secreted by the yeast parasitic phase, suggesting that these proteins participate in the modulation of the fungal environment. Phylogenetic analysis of the predicted PbCTS1 and PbCTS2 proteins indicated that they code for distinct chitinases in P. brasiliensis. During evolution, P. brasiliensis could have acquired the paralogues Pbcts1 and Pbcts2 for growth and survival in diverse environments in both saprophytic and parasitic phases.
Abstract in English:The effectiveness of antiviral treatments of chronic hepatitis B has been poorly studied in Brazil. Here, hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA positivity, drug resistance mutations and their association with HBV genotypes were evaluated in chronically HBV-infected patients under different drug regimens in Brazil. The study involved 129 patients under interferon or nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy for a median treatment time of 12 months. One hundred and five (81%) of these patients were treated with lamivudine (LAM), either in monotherapy or in combination with newer drugs, such as entecavir (ETV) or tenofovir (TDF). High (37.5-100%) rates of HBV DNA positivity were observed with all but one drug regimen (LAM + ETV). However, patients that were treated with ETV alone, TDF alone or with LAM combination therapies had a mean viral load that was 3-4 log lower than patients treated with LAM monotherapy. Of the patients treated with LAM, 47% developed resistance mutations. HBV genotypes A (59.1%), D (30.3%) and F (9.1%) were found. There was no association between the presence of LAM resistance mutations and genotypes, HBeAg status or treatment duration. Nevertheless, the rtM204V mutation was observed more frequently (12/13, 92%) in genotype A than in the others (p = 0.023). Six out of nine isolates that contained the rtM204I mutation belonged to genotype D and half of them displayed a single mutation. Genotype D isolates with the rtM204V variant preferentially displayed a triple mutation, while genotype A preferentially displayed a double mutation (p = 0.04).
Abstract in English:In the present study, Biomphalaria snails collected from five Egyptian governorates (Giza, Fayoum, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailia and Damietta), as well as reference control Biomphalaria alexandrina snails from the Schistosome Biological Supply Center (SBSC) (Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt), were subjected to species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays to identify the collected species. All of the collected snails were found to be B. alexandrina and there was no evidence of the presence of Biomphalaria glabrata. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR assays showed different fingerprints with varying numbers of bands for the first generation (F1) of B. alexandrina snail populations (SBSC, Giza, Fayoum, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailia and Damietta). The primer OPA-1 produced the highest level of polymorphism and amplified the greatest number of specific bands. The estimated similarity coefficients among the B. alexandrina populations based on the RAPD-PCR profiles ranged from 0.56 (between SBSC and Ismailia snails) to 0.72 (between Ismailia and Kafr El-Sheikh snails). Experimental infection of the F1 of progeny from the collected snails with Schistosoma mansoni (SBSC strain) showed variable susceptibility rates ranging from 15% in the Fayoum snail group to 50.3% in SBSC snails. A negative correlation was observed between the infection rates in the different snail groups and the distances separating their corresponding governorates from the parasite source. The infection rates of the snail groups and their similarity coefficients with SBSC B. alexandrina snails were positively correlated. The variations in the rates of infection of different B. alexandrina groups with S. mansoni, as well as the differences in the similarity coefficients among these snails, are dependent not only on the geographical distribution of the snails and the parasite, but also on the genetic variability of the snails. Introduction of this variability into endemic areas may reduce the ability of the parasite to infect local hosts and consequently reduce schistosomiasis epidemiology.
Abstract in English:This study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of hepatitis E antibodies (anti-HEV) among individuals exposed to swine in the rural areas of the state of Mato Grosso (MT) in Brazil. The study included 310 participants who had an average age of 39 years. Fifty-one per cent of the participants were female and 26 (8.4%) were anti-HEV-positive. Concomitantly, we studied 101 blood donors from the urban area of the state capital who had never lived in a rural area or handled swine. Four per cent (4%) of these individuals were anti-HEV-positive (p = 0.206). When we compared the anti-HEV-positive participants who had been exposed to swine with the anti-HEV-negative participants, we noticed associations between the presence of anti-HEV and increased age, a history of blood transfusions and contact with other farm animals. However, after a multivariate analysis was performed, this association was not confirmed. Finally, the ratio of anti-HEV-positive individuals who had been exposed to swine in rural MT was similar to that found in previous studies in Brazil. This prevalence did not characterise this type of exposure as a risk factor for HEV infection in this region.
Abstract in English:The aim of this work was to evaluate the utility of ELISA-based testing of total IgG (IgGt) antibodies and its subclasses (IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4) against soluble (STAg) and recombinant (rSAG1 and rMIC3) antigens of Toxoplasma gondii for diagnosing congenital toxoplasmosis. Sera from 217 newborns initially testing positive for specific IgM in filter paper dried blood spots were tested for specific IgM and IgG by ELFA-VIDAS®. Congenital toxoplasmosis was confirmed in 175 and ruled out in 42 infants. The validity of the ELISA tests was determined using the persistence of IgG antibodies (ELFA-VIDAS® kit) at the end of 12 months, which is considered the reference test for the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis. The frequency of positivity with IgGt against STAg, rSAG1 and rMIC3 was found in 97.2%, 96.3% and 80.2%, respectively, of the newborns with confirmed congenital toxoplasmosis. IgG1 reacted with all three antigens, while IgG3 and IgG4 reacted preferentially with rMIC3. Higher mean values of reactivity (sample optical density/cut-off) were found for all subclasses when using rMIC3. All of the antigens showed high sensitivity and low specificity in detecting anti-T. gondii IgGt and IgG1 and low sensitivity and high specificity in detecting IgG3 and IgG4. In conclusion, the combined detection of IgG antibody subclasses against recombinant toxoplasmic antigens may be useful for the early diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis.
Abstract in English:We investigated the cytokine profile of peripheral mononuclear cells from chronic osteomyelitis (OST) patients following in vitro stimulation with staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA). We demonstrate that stimulation with SEA induced prominent lymphocyte proliferation and high levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10 secretion in both OST and non-infected individuals (NI). Even though stimulation with SEA had no impact on IL-6 production in either patient group, the baseline level of IL-6 production by cells from OST patients was always significantly less than that produced by cells from NI. After classifying the osteomyelitic episodes based on the time after the last reactivation event as "early" (1-4 months) or "late" osteomyelitis (5-12 months), we found that increased levels of TNF-α and IL-4 in combination with decreased levels of IL-6 were observed in the early episodes. By contrast, increased levels of IL-10, IL-2 and IL-6 were hallmarks of late episodes. Our data demonstrate that early osteomyelitic episodes are accompanied by an increased frequency of "high producers" of TNF-α and IL-4, whereas late events are characterised by increased frequencies of "high producers" of IL-10, IL-6 and IL-2. These findings demonstrate the distinct cytokine profiles in chronic osteomyelitis, with a distinct regulation of IL-6 production during early and late episodes.
Abstract in English:Erythrovirus B19 (B19V) infection may cause red cell aplasia in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved the immune function of these patients by modifying the course of B19V infection. The purpose of this study was to estimate the frequency of B19 seroconversion in a cohort of HIV-infected patients and evaluate the occurrence of B19V-related anaemia during the seroconversion period. Adult HIV-infected patients were studied at a public hospital in Niterói, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. IgG and IgM antibodies against B19V were detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and B19 viraemia was assayed by polymerase chain reaction. Medical records were reviewed for any clinical evaluation of anaemia. Seroconversion was detected in 31.8% of the 88 individuals who began the study as anti-B19V IgG-negative. No clinical manifestations of B19V infection were detected during the period of seroconversion. Patients who seroconverted were 5.40 times more likely to have anaemia than those who did not [odds ratio 5.40 (95% confidence interval: 1.33-22.93)]. Anaemia was detected in eight patients. All patients recovered from anaemia by either beginning or continuing HAART, without requiring blood transfusions. In the HAART era, B19V infection may only be associated with a course of disease characterised by less severe chronic anaemia. This milder course of B19V-associated disease is likely due to the increased immune function of HAART-treated patients.
Abstract in English:We describe the abiotic factors affecting the distribution of black flies at a microhabitat scale, rather than at the regional scale usually present in the literature on the Neotropics. Black fly larvae were sampled from the Tocantins River and three tributaries, located in the Brazilian savanna (state of Tocantins, Brazil) during six bi-monthly sampling periods from October 2004-August 2005. At each sampling site, 15 random quadrats (30 x 30 cm) were sampled each period and for each quadrat were determined mean water velocity, predominant substrate type (rocks, riffle litter or riparian vegetation) and depth detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) was used to determine associations with current velocity, whereas correspondence analysis (CA) was used to estimate site specific current velocity associations. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to identify general microhabitat associations. The CCA showed that most species had a trend towards riffle litter, except for Simulium nigrimanum associated with rocky substrate and Simulium cuasiexiguum associated with riparian vegetation. The DCA showed a well defined pattern of water velocity associations. The CA revealed that the species showed different speed associations from one site to another, suggesting different competitive pressures resulting in the occurrence of different realized niches.
Abstract in English:The activity of five (1-5) abietane phenol derivatives against Leishmania infantum and Leishmania braziliensis was studied using promastigotes and axenic and intracellular amastigotes. Infectivity and cytotoxicity tests were performed with J774.2 macrophage cells using Glucantime as a reference drug. The mechanisms of action were analysed by performing metabolite excretion and transmission electron microscopy ultrastructural studies. Compounds 1-5 were more active and less toxic than Glucantime. The infection rates and mean number of parasites per cell observed in amastigote experiments showed that derivatives 2, 4 and 5 were the most effective against both L. infantum and L. braziliensis. The ultrastructural changes observed in the treated promastigote forms confirmed that the greatest cell damage was caused by the most active compound (4). Only compound 5 caused changes in the nature and amounts of catabolites excreted by the parasites, as measured by ¹H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. All of the assayed compounds were active against the two Leishmania species in vitro and were less toxic in mammalian cells than the reference drug.
Abstract in English:Anti-silencing factor 1 (ASF1) is a histone chaperone that contributes to the histone deposition during nucleosome assembly in newly replicated DNA. It is involved in chromatin disassembly, transcription activation and in the cellular response to DNA damage. In Leishmania major the ASF1 gene (LmASF1) is located in chromosome 20 and codes for a protein showing 67% of identity with the Trypanosoma brucei TbASF1a. Compared to orthologous proteins, LmASF1 conserves the main residues relevant for its various biological functions. To study ASF1 in Leishmania we generated a mutant overexpressing LmASF1 in L. major. We observed that the excess of LmASF1 impaired promastigotes growth rates and had no impact on cell cycle progress. Differently from yeast, ASF1 overproduction in Leishmania did not affect expression levels of genes located on telomeres, but led to an upregulation of proteins involved in chromatin remodelling and physiological stress, such as heat shock proteins, oxidoreductase activity and proteolysis. In addition, we observed that LmASF1 mutant is more susceptible to the DNA damaging agent, methyl methane sulphonate, than the control line. Therefore, our study suggests that ASF1 from Leishmania pertains to the chromatin remodelling machinery of the parasite and acts on its response to DNA damage.
Abstract in English:The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the main focus of dengue control campaigns. Because of widespread resistance against conventional chemical insecticides, chitin synthesis inhibitors (CSIs) are considered control alternatives. We evaluated the resistance status of four Brazilian Ae. aegypti populations to both the organophosphate temephos and the pyrethroid deltamethrin, which are used in Brazil to control larvae and adults, respectively. All vector populations exhibited high levels of temephos resistance and varying rates of alterations in their susceptibility to pyrethroids. The effect of the CSI novaluron on these populations was also investigated. Novaluron was effective against all populations under laboratory conditions. Field-simulated assays with partial water replacement were conducted to evaluate novaluron persistence. Bioassays were continued until an adult emergence inhibition of at least 70% was attained. We found a residual effect of eight weeks under indoor conditions and novaluron persisted for five-six weeks in assays conducted in an external area. Our data show that novaluron is effective against the Ae. aegypti populations tested, regardless of their resistance to conventional chemical insecticides.
Abstract in English:The relationships between environmental exposure to risk agents and health conditions have been studied with the aid of remote sensing imagery, a tool particularly useful in the study of vegetation cover. This study aims to evaluate the influence of environmental variables on the spatial distribution of the abundance of Lutzomyia longipalpis and the reported canine and human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) cases at an urban area of Campo Grande, state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The sandfly captures were performed in 13 residences that were selected by raffle considering four residences or collection station for buffer. These buffers were generated from the central house with about 50, 100 and 200 m from it in an endemic area of VL. The abundance of sandflies and human and canine cases were georreferenced using the GIS software PCI Geomatica. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and percentage of land covered by vegetation were the environmental variables extracted from a remote sensing IKONOS-2 image. The average NDVI was considered as the complexity of habitat and the standard deviation as the heterogeneity of habitat. One thousand three hundred sixty-seven specimens were collected during the catch. We found a significant positive linear correlation between the abundance of sandflies and the percentage of vegetation cover and average NDVI. However, there was no significant association between habitat heterogeneity and the abundance of these flies.
Abstract in English:Although the reported aetiological agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Sri Lanka is Leishmania donovani, the sandfly vector remains unknown. Ninety-five sandflies, 60 females and 35 males, collected in six localities in the district of Matale, central Sri Lanka, close to current active transmission foci of CL were examined for taxonomically relevant characteristics. Eleven diagnostic morphological characters for female sandflies were compared with measurements described for Indian and Sri Lankan sandflies, including the now recognised Phlebotomus argentipes sensu lato species complex. The mean morphometric measurements of collected female sandflies differed significantly from published values for P. argentipes morphospecies B, now re-identified as Phlebotomus annandalei from Delft Island and northern Sri Lanka, from recently re-identified P. argentipes s.s. sibling species and from Phlebotomus glaucus. Furthermore, analysis of underlying variation in the morphometric data through principal component analysis also illustrated differences between the population described herein and previously recognised members of the P. argentipes species complex. Collectively, these results suggest that a morphologically distinct population, perhaps most closely related to P. glaucus of the P. argentipess. I. species complex, exists in areas of active CL transmission. Thus, research is required to determine the ability of this population of flies to transmit cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Abstract in English:The spleen plays a crucial role in the development of immunity to malaria, but the role of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) in splenic effector cells during malaria infection is poorly understood. In the present study, we analysed the expression of selected PRRs in splenic effector cells from BALB/c mice infected with the lethal and non-lethal Plasmodium yoelii strains 17XL and 17X, respectively, and the non-lethal Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi AS strain. The results of these experiments showed fewer significant changes in the expression of PRRs in AS-infected mice than in 17X and 17XL-infected mice. Mannose receptor C type 2 (MRC2) expression increased with parasitemia, whereas Toll-like receptors and sialoadhesin (Sn) decreased in mice infected with P. chabaudi AS. In contrast, MRC type 1 (MRC1), MRC2 and EGF-like module containing mucin-like hormone receptor-like sequence 1 (F4/80) expression decreased with parasitemia in mice infected with 17X, whereas MRC1 an MRC2 increased and F4/80 decreased in mice infected with 17XL. Furthermore, macrophage receptor with collagenous structure and CD68 declined rapidly after initial parasitemia. SIGNR1 and Sn expression demonstrated minor variations in the spleens of mice infected with either strain. Notably, macrophage scavenger receptor (Msr1) and dendritic cell-associated C-type lectin 2 expression increased at both the transcript and protein levels in 17XL-infected mice with 50% parasitemia. Furthermore, the increased lethality of 17X infection in Msr1 -/- mice demonstrated a protective role for Msr1. Our results suggest a dual role for these receptors in parasite clearance and protection in 17X infection and lethality in 17XL infection.
Abstract in English:Ketoconazole is a clinically safe antifungal agent that also inhibits the growth of Leishmania spp. A study was undertaken to determine whether Leishmania parasites are prone to becoming resistant to ketoconazole by upregulating C14-demethylase after stepwise pharmacological pressure. Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes [inhibitory concentration (IC)50 = 2 µM] were subjected to stepwise selection with ketoconazole and two resistant lines were obtained, La8 (IC50 = 8 µM) and La10 (IC50 = 10 µM). As a result, we found that the resistance level was directly proportional to the C14-demethylase mRNA expression level; we also observed that expression levels were six and 12 times higher in La8 and La10, respectively. This is the first demonstration that L. amazonensis can up-regulate C14-demethylase in response to drug pressure and this report contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms of parasite resistance.
Abstract in English:In Brazil, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates are closely related to the São Paulo metallo-β-lactamase (SPM) Brazilian clone. In this study, imipenem-resistant isolates were divided in two sets, 2002/2003 and 2008/2009, analysed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis and tested for the Ambler class B metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) genes blaSPM-1, blaIMP and blaVIM. The results show a prevalence of one clone related to the SPM Brazilian clone in 2002/2003. In 2008/2009, P. aeruginosa isolates were mostly MBL negative, genetically diverse and unrelated to those that had been detected earlier. These findings suggest that the resistance to carbapenems by these recent P. aeruginosa isolates was not due to the spread of MBL-positive SPM-related clones, as often observed in Brazilian hospitals.
Abstract in English:We characterised hantaviruses circulating in different Akodon rodent species collected in midwestern Santa Catarina (SC), southern Brazil, where the Jabora hantavirus (JABV) strain was first identified in Akodon montensis. Genetic and phylogenetic analyses based on a partial S segment indicated that, in SC, Akodon paranaensis and A. montensis carried the same type of hantavirus. Additionally, we conducted the first genomic characterisation of the complete S segment from the Brazilian JABV strain. This is the first report of A. paranaensis infected with the JABV.
Abstract in English:Anopheles darlingi Root is the major vector of human malaria in the Neotropics and has been considered to be the sole malaria vector in French Guiana. The presence of other potential vectors suggests that malaria may be transmitted by other species under certain conditions. From 2006-2011, all anopheline specimens collected from 11 localities were assayed to determine if the Plasmodium circumsporozoite protein was present. In addition to An. darlingi, we found Anopheles oswaldoi, Anopheles intermedius and Anopheles nuneztovari specimens that were infected with Plasmodium sp. Further investigations on the behaviour and ecology of An. oswaldoi, An. intermedius and An. nuneztovari are necessary to determine their role in malaria transmission in French Guiana.
Abstract in English:The extensive use of azole antifungal agents has promoted the resistance of Candida spp to these drugs. Candida glabrata is a problematic yeast because it presents a high degree of primary or secondary resistance to fluconazole. In Brazil, C. glabrata has been less studied than other species. In this paper, we compared the activity of three major classes of antifungal agents (azoles, echinocandins and polyenes) against fluconazole-susceptible (FS) and fluconazole-resistant (FR) C. glabrata strains. Cross-resistance between fluconazole and voriconazole was remarkable. Among the antifungal agents, the echinocandins were the most effective against FS and FR C. glabrata and micafungin showed the lowest minimal inhibitory concentrations.