Archivi categoria: PLOS

Integrated time-lapse and single-cell transcription studies highlight the variable and dynamic nature of human hematopoietic cell fate commitment

by Alice Moussy, Jérémie Cosette, Romuald Parmentier, Cindy da Silva, Guillaume Corre, Angélique Richard, Olivier Gandrillon, Daniel Stockholm, András Páldi

Individual cells take lineage commitment decisions in a way that is not necessarily uniform. We address this issue by characterising transcriptional changes in cord blood-derived CD34+ cells at the single-cell level and integrating data with cell division history and morphological changes determined by time-lapse microscopy. We show that major transcriptional changes leading to a multilineage-primed gene expression state occur very rapidly during the first cell cycle. One of the 2 stable lineage-primed patterns emerges gradually in each cell with variable timing. Some cells reach a stable morphology and molecular phenotype by the end of the first cell cycle and transmit it clonally. Others fluctuate between the 2 phenotypes over several cell cycles. Our analysis highlights the dynamic nature and variable timing of cell fate commitment in hematopoietic cells, links the gene expression pattern to cell morphology, and identifies a new category of cells with fluctuating phenotypic characteristics, demonstrating the complexity of the fate decision process (which is different from a simple binary switch between 2 options, as it is usually envisioned).

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Multidrug-resistant gonorrhea: A research and development roadmap to discover new medicines

by Emilie Alirol, Teodora E. Wi, Manju Bala, Maria Luiza Bazzo, Xiang-Sheng Chen, Carolyn Deal, Jo-Anne R. Dillon, Ranmini Kularatne, Jutta Heim, Rob Hooft van Huijsduijnen, Edward W. Hook, Monica M. Lahra, David A. Lewis, Francis Ndowa, William M. Shafer, Liz Tayler, Kimberly Workowski, Magnus Unemo, Manica Balasegaram

Emilie Alirol and colleagues discuss the development of new treatments for gonorrhea.

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The disease burden of human cystic echinococcosis based on HDRs from 2001 to 2014 in Italy

by Toni Piseddu, Diego Brundu, Giovanni Stegel, Federica Loi, Sandro Rolesu, Gabriella Masu, Salvatore Ledda, Giovanna Masala

Background

Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is an important neglected zoonotic parasitic infection belonging to the subgroup of seven Neglected Zoonotic Disease (NZDs) included in the World Health Organization’s official list of 18 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). CE causes serious global human health concerns and leads to significant economic losses arising from the costs of medical treatment, morbidity, life impairments and fatality rates in human cases. Moreover, CE is endemic in several Italian Regions. The aim of this study is to perform a detailed analysis of the economic burden of hospitalization and treatment costs and to estimate the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) of CE in Italy.

Methods and findings

In the period from 2001 to 2014, the direct costs of 21,050 Hospital Discharge Records (HDRs) belonging to 12,619 patients with at least one CE-related diagnosis codes were analyzed in order to quantify the economic burden of CE. CE cases average per annum are 901 (min—max = 480–1,583). Direct costs include expenses for hospitalizations, medical and surgical treatment incurred by public and private hospitals and were computed on an individual basis according to Italian Health Ministry legislation. Moreover, we estimated the DALYs for each patient. The Italian financial burden of CE is around € 53 million; the national average economic burden per annum is around € 4 million; the DALYs of the population from 2001 to 2014 are 223.35 annually and 5.26 DALYs per 105 inhabitants.

Conclusion

In Italy, human CE is responsible for significant economic losses in the public health sector. In humans, costs associated with CE have been shown to have a great impact on affected individuals, their families and the community as a whole. This study could be used as a tool to prioritize and make decisions with regard to a surveillance system for this largely preventable yet neglected disease. It demonstrates the need of implementing a CE control program aimed at preventing the considerable economic and social losses it causes in high incidence areas.

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Transmission dynamics of co-endemic <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> and <i>P</i>. <i>falciparum</i> in Ethiopia and prevalence of antimalarial resistant genotypes

by Eugenia Lo, Elizabeth Hemming-Schroeder, Delenasaw Yewhalaw, Jennifer Nguyen, Estifanos Kebede, Endalew Zemene, Sisay Getachew, Kora Tushune, Daibin Zhong, Guofa Zhou, Beyene Petros, Guiyun Yan

Ethiopia is one of the few African countries where Plasmodium vivax is co-endemic with P. falciparum. Malaria transmission is seasonal and transmission intensity varies mainly by landscape and climate. Although the recent emergence of drug resistant parasites presents a major issue to malaria control in Ethiopia, little is known about the transmission pathways of parasite species and prevalence of resistant markers. This study used microsatellites to determine population diversity and gene flow patterns of P. falciparum (N = 226) and P. vivax (N = 205), as well as prevalence of drug resistant markers to infer the impact of gene flow and existing malaria treatment regimes. Plasmodium falciparum indicated a higher rate of polyclonal infections than P. vivax. Both species revealed moderate genetic diversity and similar population structure. Populations in the northern highlands were closely related to the eastern Rift Valley, but slightly distinct from the southern basin area. Gene flow via human migrations between the northern and eastern populations were frequent and mostly bidirectional. Landscape genetic analyses indicated that environmental heterogeneity and geographical distance did not constrain parasite gene flow. This may partly explain similar patterns of resistant marker prevalence. In P. falciparum, a high prevalence of mutant alleles was detected in codons related to chloroquine (pfcrt and pfmdr1) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (pfdhps and pfdhfr) resistance. Over 60% of the samples showed pfmdr1 duplications. Nevertheless, no mutation was detected in pfK13 that relates to artemisinin resistance. In P. vivax, while sequences of pvcrto were highly conserved and less than 5% of the samples showed pvmdr duplications, over 50% of the samples had pvmdr1 976F mutation. It remains to be tested if this mutation relates to chloroquine resistance. Monitoring the extent of malaria spread and markers of drug resistance is imperative to inform policy for evidence-based antimalarial choice and interventions. To effectively reduce malaria burden in Ethiopia, control efforts should focus on seasonal migrant populations.

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Genome-wide analysis of ivermectin response by <i>Onchocerca volvulus</i> reveals that genetic drift and soft selective sweeps contribute to loss of drug sensitivity

by Stephen R. Doyle, Catherine Bourguinat, Hugues C. Nana-Djeunga, Jonas A. Kengne-Ouafo, Sébastien D. S. Pion, Jean Bopda, Joseph Kamgno, Samuel Wanji, Hua Che, Annette C. Kuesel, Martin Walker, Maria-Gloria Basáñez, Daniel A. Boakye, Mike Y. Osei-Atweneboana, Michel Boussinesq, Roger K. Prichard, Warwick N. Grant

Background

Treatment of onchocerciasis using mass ivermectin administration has reduced morbidity and transmission throughout Africa and Central/South America. Mass drug administration is likely to exert selection pressure on parasites, and phenotypic and genetic changes in several Onchocerca volvulus populations from Cameroon and Ghana—exposed to more than a decade of regular ivermectin treatment—have raised concern that sub-optimal responses to ivermectin’s anti-fecundity effect are becoming more frequent and may spread.

Methodology/Principal findings

Pooled next generation sequencing (Pool-seq) was used to characterise genetic diversity within and between 108 adult female worms differing in ivermectin treatment history and response. Genome-wide analyses revealed genetic variation that significantly differentiated good responder (GR) and sub-optimal responder (SOR) parasites. These variants were not randomly distributed but clustered in ~31 quantitative trait loci (QTLs), with little overlap in putative QTL position and gene content between the two countries. Published candidate ivermectin SOR genes were largely absent in these regions; QTLs differentiating GR and SOR worms were enriched for genes in molecular pathways associated with neurotransmission, development, and stress responses. Finally, single worm genotyping demonstrated that geographic isolation and genetic change over time (in the presence of drug exposure) had a significantly greater role in shaping genetic diversity than the evolution of SOR.

Conclusions/Significance

This study is one of the first genome-wide association analyses in a parasitic nematode, and provides insight into the genomics of ivermectin response and population structure of O. volvulus. We argue that ivermectin response is a polygenically-determined quantitative trait (QT) whereby identical or related molecular pathways but not necessarily individual genes are likely to determine the extent of ivermectin response in different parasite populations. Furthermore, we propose that genetic drift rather than genetic selection of SOR is the underlying driver of population differentiation, which has significant implications for the emergence and potential spread of SOR within and between these parasite populations.

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Adjudicating between face-coding models with individual-face fMRI responses

by Johan D. Carlin, Nikolaus Kriegeskorte

The perceptual representation of individual faces is often explained with reference to a norm-based face space. In such spaces, individuals are encoded as vectors where identity is primarily conveyed by direction and distinctiveness by eccentricity. Here we measured human fMRI responses and psychophysical similarity judgments of individual face exemplars, which were generated as realistic 3D animations using a computer-graphics model. We developed and evaluated multiple neurobiologically plausible computational models, each of which predicts a representational distance matrix and a regional-mean activation profile for 24 face stimuli. In the fusiform face area, a face-space coding model with sigmoidal ramp tuning provided a better account of the data than one based on exemplar tuning. However, an image-processing model with weighted banks of Gabor filters performed similarly. Accounting for the data required the inclusion of a measurement-level population averaging mechanism that approximates how fMRI voxels locally average distinct neuronal tunings. Our study demonstrates the importance of comparing multiple models and of modeling the measurement process in computational neuroimaging.

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Spatial dynamics and control of a crop pathogen with mixed-mode transmission

by Christopher Finn McQuaid, Frank van den Bosch, Anna Szyniszewska, Titus Alicai, Anthony Pariyo, Patrick Chiza Chikoti, Christopher Aidan Gilligan

Trade or sharing that moves infectious planting material between farms can, for vertically-transmitted plant diseases, act as a significant force for dispersal of pathogens, particularly where the extent of material movement may be greater than that of infected vectors or inoculum. The network over which trade occurs will then effect dispersal, and is important to consider when attempting to control the disease. We consider the difference that planting material exchange can make to successful control of cassava brown streak disease, an important viral disease affecting one of Africa’s staple crops. We use a mathematical model of smallholders’ fields to determine the effect of informal trade on both the spread of the pathogen and its control using clean-seed systems, determining aspects that could limit the damage caused by the disease. In particular, we identify the potentially detrimental effects of markets, and the benefits of a community-based approach to disease control.

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