Abstract in English:Panstrongylus geniculatus (Latreille, 1811) is the triatomine with the largest geographic distribution in Latin America. It has been reported in 18 countries from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, including the Caribbean islands. Although most reports indicate that P. geniculatus has wild habitats, this species has intrusive habits regarding human dwellings mainly located in intermediate deforested areas. It is attracted by artificial light from urban and rural buildings, raising the risk of transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi. Despite the wide body of published information on P. geniculatus, many knowledge gaps exist about its biology and epidemiological potential. For this reason, we analysed the literature for P. geniculatus in Scopus, PubMed, Scielo, Google Scholar and the BibTriv3.0 databases to update existing knowledge and provide better information on its geographic distribution, life cycle, genetic diversity, evidence of intrusion and domiciliation, vector-related circulating discrete taxonomic units, possible role in oral T. cruzi transmission, and the effect of climate change on its biology and epidemiology.
Abstract in English:Molecular-typing can help in unraveling epidemiological scenarios and improvement for disease control strategies. A literature review of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in Brazil through genotyping on 56 studies published from 1996-2019 was performed. The clustering rate for mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units - variable tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR) of 1,613 isolates were: 73%, 33% and 28% based on 12, 15 and 24-loci, respectively; while for RFLP-IS6110 were: 84% among prison population in Rio de Janeiro, 69% among multidrug-resistant isolates in Rio Grande do Sul, and 56.2% in general population in São Paulo. These findings could improve tuberculosis (TB) surveillance and set up a solid basis to build a database of Mycobacterium genomes.
Abstract in English:The availability of Trypanosomatid genomic data in public databases has opened myriad experimental possibilities that have contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of the biology of these parasites and their interactions with hosts. In this review, after brief remarks on the history of the Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania genome initiatives, we present an overview of the relevant contributions of genomics, transcriptomics and functional genomics, discussing the primary obstacles, challenges, relevant achievements and future perspectives of these technologies.
Abstract in English:Chagas disease persists as one of the most important, and yet most neglected, diseases in the world, and several changes in its epidemiological aspects have been recorded since its discovery. Currently, some of the most relevant changes are related to: (i) the reduction in the incidence of the endemic due to the control of the most important vectors, Triatoma infestans and Rhodnius prolixus, in many countries; (ii) the migration of human populations spreading cases of the disease throughout the world, from endemic to non-endemic areas, transforming Chagas disease into a global threat; and (iii) new acute cases and deaths caused by oral transmission, especially in the north of Brazil. Despite the reduction in the number of cases, new challenges need to be responded to, including monitoring and control activities aiming to prevent house infestation by the secondary vectors from occurring. In 1979, Lent & Wygodzinsky(1) published the most complete review of the subfamily Triatominae, encompassing 111 recognised species in the taxon. Forty-two years later, 46 new species and one subspecies have been described or revalidated. Here we summarise the new species and contextualise them regarding their ecology, epidemiologic importance, and the obstacles they pose to the control of Chagas disease around the world.
Abstract in English:The phylogenetic paradigm of eukaryotic evolution has changed dramatically over the past two decades, with profound reflections on the understanding of life on earth. Arcellinida testate (shelled) amoebae lineages represent some of the oldest fossils of eukaryotes, and the elucidation of their phylogenetic relationships opened a window to the distant past, with important implications for understanding the evolution of life on earth. This four-part essay summarises advances made in the past 20 years regarding: (i) the phylogenetic relationships among amoebae with shells evolving in concert with the advances made in the phylogeny of eukaryotes; (ii) paleobiological studies unraveling the biological affinities of Neoproterozoic vase-shaped microfossils (VSMs); (iii) the interwoven interpretation of these different sets of data concluding that the Neoproterozoic contains a surprising diversity of organisms, in turn demanding a reinterpretation of the most profound events we know in the history of eukaryotes, and; (iv) a synthesis of the current knowledge about the evolution of Arcellinida, together with the possibilities and pitfalls of their interpretation.
Abstract in English:Extracts of the plant Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) are used in traditional medicine to treat malaria. The main active components are the saponin glycyrrhizin (GLR) and its active metabolite glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) which both display activities against Plasmodium falciparum. We have identified three main mechanisms at the origin of their anti-plasmodial activity: (i) drug-induced disorganisation of membrane lipid rafts, (ii) blockade of the alarmin protein HMGB1 and (iii) potential inhibition of the detoxifying enzyme glyoxalase 1 (GLO-1) considered as an important drug target for malaria. Our analysis shed light on the mechanism of action of GLR against P. falciparum.
Abstract in English:The process of adaptation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to humans probably had started decades ago, when its ancestor diverged from the bat coronavirus. The adaptive process comprises strategies the virus uses to overcome the respiratory tract defense barriers and replicate and shed in the host cells. These strategies include the impairment of interferon production, hiding immunogenic motifs, avoiding viral RNA detection, manipulating cell autophagy, triggering host cell death, inducing lymphocyte exhaustion and depletion, and finally, mutation and escape from immunity. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 employs strategies to take advantage of host cell resources for its benefits, such as inhibiting the ubiquitin-proteasome system, hijacking mitochondria functions, and usage of enhancing antibodies. It may be anticipated that as the tradeoffs of adaptation progress, the virus destructive burden will gradually subside. Some evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 will become part of the human respiratory virome, as had occurred with other coronaviruses, and coevolve with its host.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Anisakis simplex antigens present immunomodulatory properties by the induction of tolerogenic dendritic cells (DCs) in mice. OBJECTIVES To study the capacity of DCs stimulated with A. simplex excretory-secretory (ES) or crude extract (CE) to generate Tregs. To investigate in vitro effects of antigens on the metabolic activity of splenocytes induced by LPS or CpG. METHODS Phenotypic and functional characterization of T cells co-cultured with A. simplex-pulsed DCs was performed by flow cytometry. Lymphocyte mitochondrial respiratory activity was estimated by the Alamar Blue® Assay. FINDINGS In C57BL/6J, CD4+CD25-Foxp3+ and CD8+CD25-Foxp3+ populations increased by CE-stimulated-DCs. In BALB/c, CE-stimulated-DCs caused the expansion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+IL-10+ and CD8+CD25+Foxp3+IL-10+. IFN-γ expression raised in BALB/c CD4+CD25+ and CD4+CD25- for CE and ES, respectively. ES-stimulated-DCs increased CD4+CD25+ Foxp3+ and CD8+CD25- Foxp3+ expression in T cells. The association of ES or CE with LPS produced the increase in splenocyte activity in C57BL/6J. The association of CE with CpG decreased the proliferation caused by CpG in C57BL/6J. MAIN CONCLUSIONS A. simplex increase the frequency of Tregs, which in turn produce IL-10 and IFN-γ. The host genetic base is essential in the development of anti-Anisakis immune responses (Th2, Th1, Treg).
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The coronaviruses (CoVs) called the attention of the world for causing outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV), in Asia in 2002-03, and respiratory disease in the Middle East (MERS-CoV), in 2012. In December 2019, yet again a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) first identified in Wuhan, China, was associated with a severe respiratory infection, known today as COVID-19. This new virus quickly spread throughout China and 30 additional countries. As result, the World Health Organization (WHO) elevated the status of the COVID-19 outbreak from emergency of international concern to pandemic on March 11, 2020. The impact of COVID-19 on public health and economy fueled a worldwide race to approve therapeutic and prophylactic agents, but so far, there are no specific antiviral drugs or vaccines available. In current scenario, the development of in vitro systems for viral mass production and for testing antiviral and vaccine candidates proves to be an urgent matter. OBJECTIVE The objective of this paper is study the biology of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero-E6 cells at the ultrastructural level. METHODS In this study, we documented, by transmission electron microscopy and real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the infection of Vero-E6 cells with SARS-CoV-2 samples isolated from Brazilian patients. FINDINGS The infected cells presented cytopathic effects and SARS-CoV-2 particles were observed attached to the cell surface and inside cytoplasmic vesicles. The entry of the virus into cells occurred through the endocytic pathway or by fusion of the viral envelope with the cell membrane. Assembled nucleocapsids were verified inside rough endoplasmic reticulum cisterns (RER). Viral maturation seemed to occur by budding of viral particles from the RER into smooth membrane vesicles. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Therefore, the susceptibility of Vero-E6 cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the viral pathway inside the cells were demonstrated by ultrastructural analysis.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Different strategies for improvement of malaria control and elimination are based on the blockage of malaria parasite transmission to the mosquito vector. These strategies include the drugs that target the plasmodial sexual stages in humans and the early developmental stages inside mosquitoes. OBJECTIVES Here we tested Malaria Box compounds in order to evaluate their activity against male and female gametocytes in Plasmodium berghei, mosquito infection in P. vivax and ookinete formation in both species. METHODS/FINDINGS The membrane feeding assay and the development of ookinetes by a 24 h ex vivo culture and the ookinete yield per 1000 erythrocytes were used to test transmission-blocking potential of the Malaria Box compounds in P. vivax. For P. berghei we used flow cytometry to evaluate male and female gametocyte time course and fluorescence microscopy to check the ookinete development. The two species used in this study showed similar results concerning the compounds’ activity against gametocytes and ookinetes, which were different from those in P. falciparum. In addition, from the eight Malaria Box compounds tested in both species, compounds MMV665830, MMV665878 and MMV665941 were selected as a hit compounds due the high inhibition observed. CONCLUSION Our results showed that P. berghei is suitable as an initial screening system to test compounds against P. vivax.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis and is controlled by activated macrophages. However, infection of macrophages by tachyzoites induces TGF-β signaling (TGF-s) inhibiting nitric oxide (NO) production. NO inhibition may be a general escape mechanism of distinct T. gondii strains. OBJECTIVES To evaluate in activated macrophages the capacity of T. gondii strains of different virulence and genetics (RH, type I; ME-49, type II; VEG, type III; P-Br, recombinant) to evade the NO microbicidal defense system and determine LC3 loading to the parasitophorous vacuole. METHODS Activated peritoneal macrophages were infected with the different T. gondii strains, NO-production was evaluated by the Griess reagent, and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, TGF-s, and LC3 localisation assayed by immunofluorescence. FINDINGS Only RH persisted in macrophages, while VEG was more resistant than P-Br and ME-49. All strains induced TGF-s, degradation of inducible nitric oxide synthase, and NO-production inhibition from 2 to 24 h of infection, but only RH sustained these alterations for 48 h. By 24 h of infection, TGF-s lowered in macrophages infected by ME-49, and P-Br, and NO-production recovered, while VEG sustained TGF-s and NO-production inhibition longer. LC3 loading to parasitophorous vacuole was strain-dependent: higher for ME-49, P-Br and VEG, lower for RH. All strains inhibited NO-production, but only RH sustained this effect probably because it persisted in macrophages due to additional evasive mechanisms as lower LC3 loading to parasitophorous vacuole. MAIN CONCLUSIONS These results support that T. gondii can escape the NO microbicidal defense system at the initial phase of the infection, but only the virulent strain sustain this evasion mechanism.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Dogs are the main peridomiciliary reservoir of Leishmania infantum thus the correct diagnosis of infection is essential for the control of the transmission and treatment as well. However, the diagnosis is based on serological assays that are not fully effective. OBJECTIVE We aimed to establish an effective serological assay for the diagnosis of L. infantum infected dogs using Leishmania-derived recombinant antigens. METHODS Leishmania derived rK39-, rK28-, rKR95-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was standardized using symptomatic and asymptomatic L. infantum-infected dogs. Then 2,530 samples from inquiry in endemic areas for VL were evaluated and the results compared with recommended assays by the Brazilian Ministry of Health (MH algorithm). Further samples from a cohort of 30 dogs were searched. FINDINGS For rK39-, rK28- and rKR95-ELISA the sensitivity was around 97% and specificity 100%. The positivity of these three ELISA in the inquiry samples was 27-28%, around 10% higher than the assays currently in use. When cohort samples were searched, we observed likely false-negative results (> 65%) with supposedly negative samples that turned positive six months later with the assays in use (MH algorithm). MAIN CONCLUSIONS For the diagnosis of L. infantum-infected dogs, rK39-based ELISA showed better diagnostic performance than other assays in use in Brazil and worldwide.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Flight tones play important roles in mosquito reproduction. Several mosquito species utilise flight tones for mate localisation and attraction. Typically, the female wingbeat frequency (WBF) is lower than males, and stereotypic acoustic behaviors are instrumental for successful copulation. Mosquito WBFs are usually an important species characteristic, with female flight tones used as male attractants in surveillance traps for species identification. Anopheles darlingi is an important Latin American malaria vector, but we know little about its mating behaviors. OBJECTIVES We characterised An. darlingi WBFs and examined male acoustic responses to immobilised females. METHODS Tethered and free flying male and female An. darlingi were recorded individually to determine their WBF distributions. Male-female acoustic interactions were analysed using tethered females and free flying males. FINDINGS Contrary to most mosquito species, An. darlingi females are smaller than males. However, the male’s WBF is ~1.5 times higher than the females, a common ratio in species with larger females. When in proximity to a female, males displayed rapid frequency modulations that decreased upon genitalia engagement. Tethered females also modulated their frequency upon male approach, being distinct if the interaction ended in copulation or only contact. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This is the first report of An. darlingi flight acoustics, showing that its precopulatory acoustics are similar to other mosquitoes despite the uncommon male:female size ratio, suggesting that WBF ratios are common communication strategies rather than a physical constraint imposed by size.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis with high prevalence in Latin America that is caused by thermodimorphic fungal species of the Paracoccidioides genus. OBJECTIVES In this study, we used quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to investigate the expression of genes related to the virulence of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb18) and P. lutzii (Pb01) strains in their mycelial (M) and yeast (Y) forms after contact with alveolar macrophages (AMJ2-C11 cell line) and fibroblasts (MRC-5 cell line). METHODS The selected genes were those coding for 43 kDa glycoprotein (gp43), enolase, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), 14-3-3 protein (30 kDa), phospholipase, and aspartyl protease. FINDINGS In the Pb18 M form, the aspartyl protease gene showed the highest expression among all genes tested, both before and after infection of host cells. In the Pb18 Y form after macrophage infection, the 14-3-3 gene showed the highest expression among all genes tested, followed by the phospholipase and gp43 genes, and their expression was 50-fold, 10-fold, and 6-fold higher, respectively, than that in the M form. After fibroblast infection with the Pb18 Y form, the 14-3-3 gene showed the highest expression, followed by the phospholipase and aspartyl protease genes, and their expression was 25-fold, 10-fold, and 10-fold higher, respectively, than that in the M form. Enolase and aspartyl protease genes were expressed upon infection of both cell lines. After macrophage infection with the Pb01 Y form, the 14-3-3 gene showed the highest expression, followed by the phospholipase and aspartyl protease genes, and their expression was 18-fold, 12.5-fold, and 6-fold higher, respectively, than that in the M form. MAIN CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, the data show that the expression of the genes analysed may be upregulated upon fungus-host interaction. Therefore, these genes may be involved in the pathogenesis of paracoccidioidomycosis.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is highly infectious causing millions of deaths worldwide. Nasopharyngeal swabs are the primary sample of choice for the diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), thus, to decrease the exposure to potentially infected samples through the collection is a key point to reduce the risk of infection in healthcare workers. OBJECTIVES This study aimed to evaluate the sensitivity and viral load of saliva specimens by days of symptoms onset comparing to nasopharyngeal swabs in subjects with mild symptoms. METHODS Saliva and nasopharyngeal swabs samples were collected from São Paulo Hospital workers presenting mild symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, rhinorrhea, myalgia, headaches, anosmia, ageusia, and fatigue. To understand the positivity and viral load, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed. FINDINGS Saliva specimens presented a sensitivity of 98.6% compared to nasopharyngeal swabs. Overall, saliva showed lower viral load compared to nasopharyngeal swabs, regarding days of symptoms onset on diagnosis, the first four days had significant changes in viral load and no significant difference was reported in the days five to nine. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Although RT-PCR of saliva has presented a lower viral load compared to nasopharyngeal swabs, saliva specimens are a potential and reliable candidate for COVID-19 diagnosis through RT-PCR.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The genetic heterogeneity of Leishmania parasites is a major factor responsible for the wide variety of Leishmania-associated manifestations. Consequently, understanding the genetic make-up of Leishmania species using suitable molecular markers is an important component of realising local and regional scale disease risk. The cytochrome b (cytb) is frequently used to type New World Leishmania species. However, its potential to discriminate Leishmania species and variants requires further evaluation. OBJECTIVES To explore the capacity of cytb gene to identify New World Leishmania species and variants and to develop an approach able to type local Leishmania species and variants. METHODS We retrieved 360 partial and complete Leishmania cytb gene sequences publicly available in GenBank database to study all single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the cytb gene that differentiate New World Leishmania species. This information was used to develop an approach based upon the polymorphisms found in a DNA segment of 948bp. We also compared the typing results found with this technique with the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) profiling obtained using HSP70 gene as target. One hundred Panamanian isolates were used to both typed Leishmania species and assess local genetic variability. FINDINGS We found complete agreement between our cytb approach and the PCR-RFLP profiling method based on HSP70 for Leishmania species identification. Ninety-two isolates were identified as L. panamensis, although other Viannia species were found circulating at a lower frequency. Three L. panamensis haplotypes were identified in Panamanian provinces. We also provide an initial report of L. guyanensis haplotypes circulating in Panama. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Cytb gene sequence encompasses key main SNPs that aid to identify Leishmania species. The cytb approach developed with this information was able to identify and assess genetic variability of local Leishmania species found in this study.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by Schistosoma. Due to its complex life cycle, evolutionary position and sexual dimorphism, schistosomes have several mechanisms of gene regulation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short endogenous RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level by targeting mRNA transcripts. OBJECTIVES Here, we tested 12 miRNAs and identified their putative targets using a computational approach. METHODS We performed the expression profiles of a set of miRNAs and their putative targets during the parasite’s life cycle by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). FINDINGS Our results showed differential expression patterns of the mature miRNAs sma-miR-250; sma-miR-92a; sma-miR-new_4-3p; sma-miR-new_4-5p; sma-miR-new_5-5p; sma-miR-new_12-5p; sma-miR-new_13-3p and sma-miR-new_13-5p. Interestingly, many of the putative target genes are linked to oxidative phosphorylation and are up-regulated in adult-worms, which led us to suggest that miRNAs might play important roles in the post-transcriptional regulation of genes related to energetic metabolism inversion during parasite development. It is noteworthy that the expression of sma-miR-new_13-3p exhibited a negative correlation on SmNADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase complex I. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our analysis revealed putative miRNA genes related to important biological processes, such as transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling, proteasome regulation, glucose and lipid metabolism, immune system evasion and transcriptional regulation.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, affects nearly six million people worldwide. Various serological tests have been developed for its diagnosis. OBJECTIVE Examine the performance of a set of commercial immunological assays in relation to the geographical origin of the patient sample comparing four states of Brazil: Amazonas (AM), Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), Minas Gerais (MG) and Piauí (PI). METHODS Seven immunoassays were employed to detect anti-T. cruzi IgG antibodies in 379 patient samples that had been previously diagnosed using the two-step protocol required by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. FINDINGS A significant variation in the percent reactive was calculated for the samples from AM and MS, while the PI and MG showed a significant variation in the percent non-reactive. The average reactivity index was significantly higher for samples from the states of PI and MG states than AM and MS. MAIN CONCLUSIONS All tests presented a satisfactory performance overall. Yet, variations were observed that were associated to the region of origin of the samples. Our analyses suggest that future evaluations of immunoassays should include a sampling of sera from regions where the test will be applied in addition to the available International Biological Reference Standards.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Forty percent of the world’s population live in areas where they are at risk from dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and dengue shock syndrome. Dengue viruses are transmitted primarily by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. In Cali, Colombia, approximately 30% of field collected Ae. aegypti are naturally refractory to all four dengue serotypes. OBJECTIVES Use RNA-sequencing to identify those genes that determine refractoriness in feral mosquitoes to dengue. This information can be used in gene editing strategies to reduce dengue transmission. METHODS We employed a full factorial design, analyzing differential gene expression across time (24, 36 and 48 h post bloodmeal), feeding treatment (blood or blood + dengue-2) and strain (susceptible or refractory). Sequences were aligned to the reference Ae. aegypti genome for identification, assembled to visualize transcript structure, and analyzed for dynamic gene expression changes. A variety of clustering techniques was used to identify the differentially expressed genes. FINDINGS We identified a subset of genes that likely assist dengue entry and replication in susceptible mosquitoes and contribute to vector competence. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The differential expression of specific genes by refractory and susceptible mosquitoes could determine the phenotype, and may be used to in gene editing strategies to reduce dengue transmission.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND A previous phylogeographic study revealed two Aedes aegypti African-related mitochondrial lineages distributed in Colombian’s cities with different eco-epidemiologic characteristics with regard to dengue virus (DENV). It has been proposed these lineages might indicate independent invasion sources. OBJECTIVES Assessing to Colombian population structure and to support evidence of its probable source origin. METHODS We analysed a total of 267 individuals from cities of Bello, Riohacha and Villavicencio, which 241 were related to the West and East African mitochondrial lineages (termed here as WAL and EAL, respectively). Eight polymorphic microsatellite loci were analysed aiming population structure. FINDINGS Results indicate substantial gene flow among distant and low-connected cities composing a panmictic population with incipient local differentiation of Ae. aegypti is placed in Colombia. Likewise, genetic evidence indicates no significant differences among individuals related to WAL and EAL is placed. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Minimal genetic differentiation in low-connected Ae. aegypti populations of Colombia, and lack concordance between mitochondrial and nuclear genealogies suggest that Colombian Ae. aegypti shared a common demographic history. Under this scenario, we suggest current Ae. aegypti population structure reflects a single origin instead of contemporary migration, which founding populations have a single source from a mitochondrial polymorphic African ancient.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Trypanosomatids are widespread and cause diseases - such as trypanosomiasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis - in animals and humans. These diseases occur in both rural and urban regions due to unplanned growth and deforestation. Thus, wild and synanthropic reservoir hosts living in residential areas are risk factors. OBJECTIVE We aimed to evaluate the diversity of small mammals (rodents and marsupials), and the occurrence of trypanosomatids, especially Leishmania, in the rural settlement of Presidente Figueiredo, Amazonas. METHODS Animals were collected using Sherman, Tomahawk, and Pitfall traps along 16 trails in four landscapes: continuous forest, forest with planting, planting, and peridomiciliar. Leishmania sp. was detected in liver samples by polymerase chain reaction targeting kDNA. FINDINGS Diversity was higher in forests with planting and lower around residences. In total, 135 mammals (81 rodents and 54 marsupials covering 14 genera) were captured. Rodents presented infection rates (IR) of 74% and marsupials of 48%. Rodents in domicile landscapes presented a higher IR (92.9%), while marsupials showed a higher IR in forests (53.3%). MAIN CONCLUSIONS The results suggest high prevalence of trypanosomatids across 12 mammalian genera possibly involved as reservoir hosts in the enzootic transmission of leishmaniasis in the Amazon’s rural, peridomiciliar landscape.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The inappropriate use of antibiotics has led to the accelerated growth of resistance to antibiotics. The search for new therapeutic strategies (i.e., antimicrobial peptides-AMPs) has thus become a pressing need. OBJECTIVE Characterising and evaluating Sarconesiopsis magellanica larval fat body-derived AMPs. METHODS Fat body extracts were analysed by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC); mass spectrometry was used for characterising the primary structure of the AMPs so found. ProtParam (Expasy) was used for analysing the AMPs’ physico-chemical properties. Synthetic AMPs’ antibacterial activity was evaluated. FINDINGS Four new AMPs were obtained and called sarconesin III, IV, V and VI. Sarconesin III had an α-helix structure and sarconesins IV, V and VI had linear formations. Oligomer prediction highlighted peptide-peptide interactions, suggesting that sarconesins III, V and VI could form self-aggregations when in contact with the microbial membrane. AMPs synthesised from their native molecules’ sequences had potent activity against Gram-positive bacteria and, to a lesser extent, against Gram-negative and drug-resistant bacteria. Sarconesin VI was the most efficient AMP. None of the four synthetic AMPs had a cytotoxic effect. MAIN CONCLUSIONS S. magellanica larval fat body-derived antimicrobial peptides are an important source of AMPs and could be used in different antimicrobial therapies and overcoming bacterial resistance.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The high demand for adequate material for the gold standard reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR)-based diagnosis imposed by the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, combined with the inherent contamination risks for healthcare workers during nasopharyngeal swab (NP) sample collection and the discomfort it causes patients, brought the need to identify alternative specimens suitable for the diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). OBJECTIVES The aim of this work was to compare saliva and gingival fluid swabs to NP swabs as specimens for RT-qPCR-based SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. METHODS We compared gingival fluid swabs (n = 158) and saliva (n = 207) to the rayon-tipped NP swabs obtained from mild-symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects as specimens for RT-qPCR for SARS-CoV-2 detection. FINDINGS When compared to NP swabs, gingival fluid swabs had a concordance rate of 15.4% among positive samples, zero among inconclusive, and 100% among negative ones. For saliva samples, the concordance rate was 67.6% among positive samples, 42.9% among inconclusive, and 96.8% among negative ones. However, the concordance rate between saliva and NP swabs was higher (96.9%) within samples with lower cycle threshold (Ct) values (Ct > 10 ≤ 25). MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our data suggests that whereas gingival fluid swabs are not substitutes for NP swabs, saliva might be considered whenever NP swabs are not available or recommended.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Solidarity Program, probably the largest global initiative to encourage and support research in four promising drugs, named Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, β Interferon and the combination Lopinavir / Ritonavir, to reduce the mortality of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). OBJECTIVES Considering the potential impact of Solidarity Program to restrain the current pandemic, the present study aims to investigate whether it was designed upon indicators of scientific productivity, defined as the level of the production of new scientific knowledge and of the institutional capabilities, estimated in terms of scientific publications and technological agreements. METHODS The scientific documents on Alphacoronavirus, Betacoronavirus, Gammacoronavirus and Coronavirus were retrieved from Scopus database while the technological agreements on coronavirus were obtained through Cortellis. As for the institutions and countries, we have considered the data on author’s affiliations in both set of data. For comparison, we included the analysis of documents related with other drugs or therapies, such as vaccines and antibodies, which were listed in a Clarivate’s report on coronaviruses research. FINDINGS Most of the analysis refers to documents on Coronavirus, the largest group. The number of documents related to WHO’s drugs are almost five times higher than in the other groups. This subset of documents involves the largest and most diverse number of institutions and countries. As for agreements, we observed a smaller number of institutions involved in it, suggesting differences between countries in terms of technical and human capabilities to develop basic and/or clinical research on coronavirus and to develop new forms or products to treat or to prevent the disease. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Hence, the results shown in this study illustrate that decisions taken by an international scientific body, as WHO, were mainly based in scientific knowledge and institutional competencies.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Trypanosoma cruzi is an important human pathogen in Latin America with nearly seven million people infected. It has a large degree of genetic diversity, classified into six discrete typing units (DTUs), which probably influences its physiological behavior and clinical manifestations. Several genotyping methods are available, with distinct performance on easiness, cost, resolution and applicability; no method excels in all parameters. OBJECTIVES AND METHODS To devise a molecular method for T. cruzi genotyping, based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of a single target with multiple copies in the nuclear genome by large scale sequencing. We have applied this method to 29 T. cruzi isolates, comprising all described DTUs. FINDINGS We were able to classify all samples into sub DTU level with high robustness. Evolutionary relationship between DTUs were ascertained, suggesting that TcIII and TcIV DTUs are non-hybrid, and DTU IV is more similar to the common ancestral. CONCLUSION As the TS-LSS method is based on a single PCR reaction, comprising several copies of the target, it is probably useful for clinical samples, when the amount of DNA is a limiting factor. As large scale sequencing systems become more common, the TS-LSS method can be increasingly applied for T. cruzi genotyping.
Abstract in English:Leishmania infantum chagasi is the causative agent and Lutzomyia longipalpis is the main vector of visceral leishmaniasis in the Americas. We investigated the expression of Leishmania genes within L. longipalpis after artificial infection. mRNAs from genes involved in sugar and amino acid metabolism were upregulated at times of high parasite proliferation inside the insect. mRNAs from genes involved in metacyclogenesis had higher expression in late stages of infection. Other modulated genes of interest were involved in immunomodulation, purine salvage pathway and protein recycling. These data reveal aspects of the adaptation of the parasite to the microenvironment of the vector gut and reflect the preparation for infection in the vertebrate.
Abstract in English:In the present study, we investigated the genetic diversity of Plasmodium vivax metacaspase 1 (PvMCA1) catalytic domain in two municipalities of the main malaria hotspot in Brazil, i.e., the Juruá Valley, and observed complete sequence identity among all P. vivax field isolates and the Sal-1 reference strain. Analysis of PvMCA1 catalytic domain in different P. vivax genomic sequences publicly available also revealed a high degree of conservation worldwide, with very few amino acid substitutions that were not related to putative histidine and cysteine catalytic residues, whose involvement with the active site of protease was herein predicted by molecular modeling. The genetic conservation presented by PvMCA1 may contribute to its eligibility as a druggable target candidate in vivax malaria.
Abstract in English:Vector-borne transmission of Chagas disease in urban areas of Argentina has been an overlooked phenomena. We conducted the first comprehensive cross-sectional study of domestic infestation with Triatoma infestans and vector infection with Trypanosoma cruzi in a metropolitan area of San Juan, Argentina. Our results document the occurrence of T. infestans infected with T. cruzi in human sleeping quarters. In this urban setting, we also show that infestation was associated with construction materials, the presence of chickens, cats and a large number of dogs that can provide blood meals for the vector. Our findings reveal new challenges for vectorial control agencies.
Abstract in English:Unforeseen Plasmodium infections in the Atlantic Forest of Brazilian Extra-Amazonian region could jeopardise malaria elimination. A human malaria case was registered in Três Forquilhas, in the Atlantic Forest biome of Rio Grande do Sul, after a 45 years’ time-lapsed without any malaria autochthonous notification in this southern Brazilian state. This finding represents the expansion of the malaria distribution areas in Brazil and the southernmost human malaria case record in South America in this decade. The coexistence of the bromeliad-breeding vector Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii and non-human primates in the Atlantic Forest regularly visited by the patient claimed for the zoonotic origin of this infection. The reemergence of Atlantic Forest human malaria in Rio Grande do Sul was also discussed.
Abstract in English:Coronaviruses can cause a diverse array of clinical manifestations, from fever with symptoms of the common cold to highly lethal severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS). SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus discovered in Hubei province, China, at the end of 2019, became known worldwide for causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Over one year’s time period, the scientific community has produced a large bulk of knowledge about this disease and countless reports about its immune-pathological aspects. This knowledge, including data obtained in postmortem studies, points unequivocally to a hypercoagulability state. However, the name COVID-19 tells us very little about the true meaning of the disease. Our proposal is more comprehensive; it intends to frame COVID-19 in more clinical terminology, making an analogy to viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF). Thus, we found irrefutable evidence in the current literature that COVID-19 is the first viral disease that can be branded as a viral thrombotic fever. This manuscript points out that SARS-CoV-2 goes far beyond pneumonia or SARS. COVID-19 infections promote remarkable interactions among the endothelium, coagulation, and immune response, building up a background capable of promoting a “thrombotic storm,” much more than a “cytokine storm.” The importance of a viral protease called main protease (Mpro) is highlighted as a critical component for its replication in the host cell. A deeper analysis of this protease and its importance on the coagulation system is also discussed for the first time, mainly because of its similarity with the thrombin and factor Xa molecules, as recently pointed out by structural comparison crystallographic structures.
Abstract in English:In the space of four decades, Brazil has faced two serious pandemics: human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The country’s response to HIV/AIDS was coordinated by several stakeholders and recognised the importance of scientific evidence in guiding decision-making, and a network offering monitoring and antiretroviral treatment was provided through coordinated efforts by the country’s universal health system. Conversely, the lack of a centrally coordinated strategy and misalignment between government ministries regarding the COVID-19 pandemic response, together with the denial of scientific evidence, promotion of ineffective treatments and insufficient vaccination efforts, have all led to the uncontrolled spread of infection, the near-total collapse of the health system and excess deaths.
Abstract in English:Brazilian science is under attack. In this manuscript, we will discuss the most recent events that, if not reverted, will make Brazilian science inviable. We urge the scientific community in Brazil and abroad to stand up and resist in defense of more than a century of essential scientific contributions.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND An increasing amount of research has led to the positioning of nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDPK/NDK) as key metabolic enzymes among all organisms. They contribute to the maintenance the intracellular di- and tri- phosphate nucleoside homeostasis, but they also are involved in widely diverse processes such as gene regulation, apoptosis, signal transduction and many other regulatory roles. OBJETIVE Examine in depth the NDPKs of trypanosomatid parasites responsible for devastating human diseases (e.g., Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania spp.) which deserve special attention. METHODS The earliest and latest advances in the topic were explored, focusing on trypanosomatid NDPK features, multifunctionality and suitability as molecular drug targets. FINDINGS Trypanosomatid NDPKs appear to play functions different from their host counterparts. Evidences indicate that they would perform key roles in the parasite metabolism such as nucleotide homeostasis, drug resistance, DNA damage responses and gene regulation, as well as host-parasite interactions, infection, virulence and immune evasion, placing them as attractive pharmacological targets. MAIN CONCLUSIONS NDPKs are very interesting multifunctional enzymes. In the present review, the potential of trypanosomatid NDPKs was highlighted, raising awareness of their value not only with respect to parasite biology but also as molecular targets.
Abstract in English:Lipid droplets (LDs; lipid bodies) are intracellular sites of lipid storage and metabolism present in all cell types. Eukaryotic LDs are involved in eicosanoid production during several inflammatory conditions, including infection by protozoan parasites. In parasites, LDs play a role in the acquisition of cholesterol and other neutral lipids from the host. The number of LDs increases during parasite differentiation, and the biogenesis of these organelles use specific signaling pathways involving protein kinases. In addition, LDs are important in cellular protection against lipotoxicity. Recently, these organelles have been implicated in eicosanoid and specialised lipid metabolism. In this article, we revise the main functions of protozoan parasite LDs and discuss future directions in the comprehension of these organelles in the context of pathogen virulence.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis endemic to Latin America. Etiological agents are Paracoccidioides species that diverge phylogenetically throughout South America. OBJECTIVES This study aimed to document the epidemiology of PCM in Venezuela. METHODS We have performed a retrospective cross-sectional descriptive study in 31,081 clinical records of patients from two reference centres during 65 years (1954-2019). FINDINGS PCM diagnosis was confirmed in 745 patients. Chronic PCM was the most prevalent form (90.06% cases); 80.67% were male and the most affected age range was 41-60. Farming and construction were the most prevalent occupation and Miranda State had a higher prevalence. Lung and skin were the most affected organs, followed by oral manifestations. Direct examination, culture and serology showed a high sensibility, and no statistical difference was observed among the diagnostic tools. Out of 17 Paracoccidioides isolates genotyped from Venezuela, one was typed as Paracoccidioides americana and 16 as Paracoccidioides venezuelensis. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Clinical manifestations observed, information about the epidemiology and molecular profile is essential not only for diagnosis but also for understanding therapeutic responses to mycotic drugs and prognosis. Therefore, it is necessary to sequence all positive isolated strains in order to confirm the dominance of P. venezuelensis in Venezuela.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Leishmaniases are diseases transmitted by some species of sand flies and are widely distributed throughout the tropical regions of the planet. Despite the low mobility of these vectors, the geographical distributions of some species are quite extensive, which hinders control and surveillance measures in endemic areas. OBJECTIVES The present study investigated the flying capacity of sand flies. METHODS Four Hoover Penido (HP)-type light traps were positioned in the centre of the Velhas’ River, about 80 metres equidistant from each other. We also realised capture/release/recapture attempts to assess possible capacity of phlebotomine fly uninterrupted up to 150 metres. Captured sand flies from one side of the river were marked using fluorescent powder (Luminous Paint kit, Bioquip®) and released on the other side, approximately 150 m distant. Recapture attempts were made on river’s bank up to 30 days post-release. FINDINGS Six sand flies of the species Nyssomyia neivai (n = 4), Ny. intermedia (n = 1) and Evandromyia lenti (n = 1) were captured in the centre of the river. There were no recaptures of the 1,450 marked-and-released sand flies. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The results obtained disagree with data found in the literature regarding the flight capacity of sand fly vectors of leishmaniasis.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Treatment of mycoses is often ineffective, usually prolonged, and has some side effects. These facts highlight the importance of discovering new molecules to treat fungal infections. OBJECTIVES To search the Medicines for Malaria Venture COVID Box for drugs with antifungal activity. METHODS Fourteen human pathogenic fungi were tested against the 160 drugs of this collection at 1.0 µM concentration. We evaluated the ability of the drugs to impair fungal growth, their fungicidal nature, and morphological changes caused to cells. FINDINGS Thirty-four molecules (21.25%) presented antifungal activity. Seven are antifungal drugs and one is the agricultural fungicide cycloheximide. The other drugs with antifungal activity included antibiotics (n = 3), antimalarials (n = 4), antivirals (n = 2), antiparasitcs (n = 3), antitumor agents (n = 5), nervous system agents (n = 3), immunosuppressants (n = 3), antivomiting (n = 1), antiasthmatic (n = 1), and a genetic disorder agent (n = 1). Several of these drugs inhibited Histoplasma capsulatum and Paracoccidioides brasiliensis growth (15 and 20, respectively), while Fusarium solani was not affected by the drugs tested. Most drugs were fungistatic, but niclosamide presented fungicidal activity against the three dimorphic fungi tested. Cyclosporine affected morphology of Cryptococcus neoformans. MAIN CONCLUSIONS These drugs represent new alternatives to the development of more accessible and effective therapies to treat human fungal infections.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) B.1.1.33-derived lineage named N.9 was described recently in Brazil and it’s considered a potential variant of interest (VOI) due to the presence of E484K substitution at the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the Spike (S) protein. OBJECTIVE To describe the first detection of variant N.9 in Rio de Janeiro State. METHODS SARS-CoV-2 N.9 was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. FINDINGS Here, we report two SARS-CoV-2 N.9 lineage strains in Rio de Janeiro. One of them had only the E484K substitution of the six N.9 lineage-defining mutations. Other three strains pre-defined as N.9 have the same genomic profile. These four strains are grouped within the B.1.1.33 lineage and basal to the N.9 lineage in our phylogenetic analysis, and we call them “N.9-like/B.1.1.33 + E484K”. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The phylogenetic analysis shows four independent introductions of N.9 in the state of Rio de Janeiro in October and December 2020, January and March 2021. SARS-CoV-2 N.9 dissemination in the Rio de Janeiro could have been limited by the emergence and dominance of other variants, mainly by the lineage P.2 VOI Zeta that emerged in the same period and co-circulated with N.9, as observed in the neighboring State of São Paulo.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Mycolicibacterium fortuitum is an opportunistic pathogen associated with human and animal infection worldwide. Studies concerning this species are mainly represented by case reports, some of them addressing drug susceptibility with a focus on a specific geographic region, so there is a gap in relation to the global epidemiological scenario. OBJECTIVES We aimed determine the global epidemiological scenario of M. fortuitum and analyse its traits associated with pathogenicity. METHODS Based on publicly available genomes of M. fortuitum and a genome from Brazil (this study), we performed a genomic epidemiology analysis and in silico and in vitro characterisation of the resistome and virulome of this species. FINDINGS Three main clusters were defined, one including isolates from the environment, human and animal infections recovered over nearly a century. An apparent intrinsic resistome comprises mechanisms associated with macrolides, beta-lactams, aminoglycosides and antitubercular drugs such as rifampin. Besides, the virulome presented Type VII secretion systems (T7SS), including ESX-1, ESX-3, ESX-4 and ESX-4-bis, some of which play a role on the virulence of Mycobacteriaceae species. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Here, M. fortuitum was revealed as a reservoir of an expressive intrinsic resistome, as well as a virulome that may contribute to its success as a global opportunist pathogen.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by the parasite Leishmania braziliensis, commonly found in Brazil and associated with cutaneous and visceral forms of this disease. Like other organisms, L. braziliensis has an enzyme called glutamine synthetase (LbGS) that acts on the synthesis of glutamine from glutamate. This enzyme plays an essential role in the metabolism of these parasites and can be a potential therapeutic target for treating this disease. OBJECTIVES Investigate LbGS structure and generate structural models of the protein. METHODS We use the method of crosslinking mass spectrometry (XLMS) and generate structural models in silico using I-TASSER. FINDINGS 42 XLs peptides were identified, of which 37 are explained in a monomeric model with the other five indicating LbGS dimerization and pentamers interaction region. The comparison of 3D models generated in the presence and absence of XLMS restrictions probed the benefits of modeling with XLMS highlighting the inappropriate folding due to the absence of spatial restrictions. MAIN CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, we disclose the conservation of the active site and interface regions, but also unique features of LbGS showing the potential of XLMS to probe structural information and explore new drugs.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND During routine Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis, an unusually high viral load was detected by reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) in a nasopharyngeal swab sample collected from a patient with respiratory and neurological symptoms who rapidly succumbed to the disease. Therefore we sought to characterise the infection. OBJECTIVES We aimed to determine and characterise the etiological agent responsible for the poor outcome. METHODS Classical virological methods, such as plaque assay and plaque reduction neutralisation test combined with amplicon-based sequencing, as well as a viral metagenomic approach, were performed to characterise the etiological agents of the infection. FINDINGS Plaque assay revealed two distinct plaque phenotypes, suggesting either the presence of two severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) strains or a productive coinfection of two different species of virus. Amplicon-based sequencing did not support the presence of any SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants that would explain the high viral load and suggested the presence of a single SARS-CoV-2 strain. Nonetheless, the viral metagenomic analysis revealed that Coronaviridae and Herpesviridae were the predominant virus families within the sample. This finding was confirmed by a plaque reduction neutralisation test and PCR. MAIN CONCLUSIONS We characterised a productive coinfection of SARS-CoV-2 and Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) in a patient with severe symptoms that succumbed to the disease. Although we cannot establish the causal relationship between the coinfection and the severity of the clinical case, this work serves as a warning for future studies focused on the interplay between SARS-CoV-2 and HSV-1 coinfection and COVID-19 severity.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Evolutionary changes in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) include indels in non-structural, structural, and accessory open reading frames (ORFs) or genes. OBJECTIVES We track indels in accessory ORFs to infer evolutionary gene patterns and epidemiological links between outbreaks. METHODS Genomes from Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case-patients were Illumina sequenced using ARTIC_V3. The assembled genomes were analysed to detect substitutions and indels. FINDINGS We reported the emergence and spread of a unique 4-nucleotide deletion in the accessory ORF6, an interesting gene with immune modulation activity. The deletion in ORF6 removes one repeat unit of a two 4-nucleotide repeat, which shows that directly repeated sequences in the SARS-CoV-2 genome are associated with indels, even outside the context of extended repeat regions. The 4-nucleotide deletion produces a frameshifting change that results in a protein with two inserted amino acids, increasing the coding information of this accessory ORF. Epidemiological and genomic data indicate that the deletion variant has a single common ancestor and was initially detected in a health care outbreak and later in other COVID-19 cases, establishing a transmission cluster in the Uruguayan population. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our findings provide evidence for the origin and spread of deletion variants and emphasise indels’ importance in epidemiological studies, including differentiating consecutive outbreaks occurring in the same health facility.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) target genes by molecular methods has been chosen as the main approach to identify individuals with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. OBJECTIVES In this study, we developed an open-source RNA standard-based real-time quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) assay for quantitative diagnostics of SARS-CoV-2 from nasopharynx, oropharynx, saliva and plasma samples. METHODS AND FINDINGS We evaluated three SARS-CoV-2 target genes and selected the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene, given its better performance. To improve the efficiency of the assay, a primer gradient containing 25 primers forward and reverse concentration combinations was performed. The forward and reverse primer pairs with 400 nM and 500 nM concentrations, respectively, showed the highest sensitivity. The LOD95% was ~60 copies per reaction. From the four biological matrices tested, none of them interfered with the viral load measurement. Comparison with the AllplexTM 2019-nCoV assay (Seegene) demonstrated that our test presents 90% sensitivity and 100% specificity. MAIN CONCLUSIONS We developed an efficient molecular method able to measure absolute SARS-CoV-2 viral load with high replicability, sensitivity and specificity in different clinical samples.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Panstrongylus rufotuberculatus (Hemiptera-Reduviidae) is a triatomine species with a wide geographic distribution and a broad phenotypic variability. In some countries, this species is found infesting and colonising domiciliary ecotopes representing an epidemiological risk factor as a vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, etiological agent of Chagas disease. In spite of this, little is known about P. rufotuberculatus genetic diversity. METHODS Cytogenetic studies and DNA sequence analyses of one nuclear (ITS-2) and two mitochondrial DNA sequences (cyt b and coI) were carried out in P. rufotuberculatus individuals collected in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. Moreover, a geometric morphometrics study was applied to Bolivian, Colombian, Ecuadorian and French Guiana samples. OBJECTIVES To explore the genetic and phenetic diversity of P. rufotuberculatus from different countries, combining chromosomal studies, DNA sequence analyses and geometric morphometric comparisons. FINDINGS We found two chromosomal groups differentiated by the number of X chromosomes and the chromosomal position of the ribosomal DNA clusters. In concordance, two main morphometric profiles were detected, clearly separating the Bolivian sample from the other ones. Phylogenetic DNA analyses showed that both chromosomal groups were closely related to each other and clearly separated from the remaining Panstrongylus species. High nucleotide divergence of cyt b and coI fragments were observed among P. rufotuberculatus samples from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico (Kimura 2-parameter distances higher than 9%). MAIN CONCLUSIONS Chromosomal and molecular analyses supported that the two chromosomal groups could represent different closely related species. We propose that Bolivian individuals constitute a new Panstrongylus species, being necessary a detailed morphological study for its formal description. The clear morphometric discrimination based on the wing venation pattern suggests such morphological description might be conclusive.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Plasmodium vivax, the major cause of malaria in Latin America, has a large subtelomeric multigene family called vir. In the P. vivax genome, about 20% of its sequences are vir genes. Vir antigens are grouped in subfamilies according to their sequence similarities and have been shown to have distinct roles and subcellular locations. However, little is known about vir subfamilies, especially when comes to their functions. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the diversity, antigenicity, and adhesiveness of Plasmodium vivax VIR-E. METHODS Vir-E genes were amplified from six P. vivax isolates from Manaus, North of Brazil. The presence of naturally acquired antibodies to recombinant PvBrVIR-E and PvAMA-1 was evaluated by ELISA. Binding capacity of recombinant PvBrVIR-E was assessed by adhesion assay to CHO-ICAM1 cells. FINDINGS Despite vir-E sequence diversity, among those identified sequences, a representative one was chosen to be expressed as recombinant protein. The presence of IgM or IgG antibodies to PvBrVIR-E was detected in 23.75% of the study population while the presence of IgG antibodies to PvAMA-1 antigen was 66.25% in the same population. PvBrVIR-E was adhesive to CHO-ICAM1. MAIN CONCLUSIONS PvBrVIR-E was antigenic and adhesive to CHO-ICAM1.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Loa loa is a filarial species found exclusively in West and Central Africa. Microscopy is the traditional diagnosis method for human loiasis. Several molecular methods have developed as an alternative approach for identification of L. loa filarial parasites. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to evaluate a Loa-Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay to diagnose loiasis disease on dried blood spots (DBS) samples, compared to microscopy, filaria-real time-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and nested-Loa PCR. METHODS A total of 100 DBS samples and 100 blood smears were used for this study. DNA was extracted using saponin/Chelex method. DNA isolated was assayed by a Loa-LAMP assay in parallel to microscopy, filaria-real time PCR and nested-Loa PCR. The sensitivities and specificities of Loa-LAMP assay was computed comparing to each one of the reference methods. FINDINGS Loa-LAMP’s sensitivity was more than 90% and specificity was nearly 100% when compared to molecular methods. On the other hand, sensitivity was decreased a bit when Loa-LAMP faced microscopy, but keeping the other statistical values high. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Loa-LAMP is an appropriate method for loiasis diagnosis in endemic areas. Though, it has disadvantages like the reagents’ high price at the moment and not to be able to detect more filarial species at once.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Giardia duodenalis is a protozoan parasite that infects humans and other mammals and causes giardiasis worldwide. Giardia is genotyped into eight assemblages (A-H), with assemblages A and B considered zoonotic. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to determine the assemblages of G. duodenalis from individuals living in rural and urban areas of the Amazonas State. METHODS 103 human faecal specimens microscopically positive for the presence of Giardia obtained from four municipalities in Amazonas and four animal faecal specimens were genotyped based on the sequences of two genes, triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) and β-giardin (BG). FINDINGS In humans, assemblage A was the most represented with the identification of sub-assemblages AI, AII and AIII based on BG and sub-assemblages AI and AII based on TPI. Similarly, there is a diversity of sub-assemblage B considering BG (B and BIII) and TPI (B, BIII and BIV). In addition, we characterised homogeneous and heterogeneous genotypes comprising assemblages/sub-assemblages A and B in individuals from urban and rural areas. Here, for the first time, it was genotyped Giardia that infects animals from the Brazilian Amazon region. We identified sub-assemblage AI in one Ateles paniscus and two Felis catus and sub-assemblage BIV in one Lagothrix cana. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Therefore, humans and animals from the urban and rural Amazon share Giardia genotypes belonging to assemblages A and B, which are found in cosmopolitan regions around the world.