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Trends in Parasitology

Christian Selbach, Philip J Seddon, Robert Poulin
Bringing back iconic and beloved extinct species is a hot and intensely debated current topic. Yet, the parasites of de-extinction candidate species have remained largely overlooked in this debate. Here we point out the potentially far-reaching ecological impacts of bringing back extinct species without their parasites.
September 1, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Magali Chabé, Ana Lokmer, Laure Ségurel
The importance of the gut microbiota for human health has sparked a strong interest in the study of the factors that shape its composition and diversity. Despite the growing evidence suggesting that helminths and protozoa significantly interact with gut bacteria, gut microbiome studies remain mostly focused on prokaryotes and on populations living in industrialized countries that typically have a low parasite burden. We argue that protozoa, like helminths, represent an important factor to take into account when studying the gut microbiome, and that their presence - especially considering their long coevolutionary history with humans - may be beneficial...
September 1, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Shaden Kamhawi, Tiago D Serafim
Doehl et al. have combined empirical data with computer simulation to demonstrate that RAG-2 mice intravenously infected with Leishmania donovani form heterogeneous skin parasite patches that govern infectiousness to sand flies. This model provides a much-needed tool to explore the relevance of asymptomatic and symptomatic visceral leishmaniasis patients as infection reservoirs.
August 31, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Marcelo S da Silva, Raphael S Pavani, Jeziel D Damasceno, Catarina A Marques, Richard McCulloch, Luiz Ricardo Orsini Tosi, Maria Carolina Elias
In trypanosomatids, etiological agents of devastating diseases, replication is robust and finely controlled to maintain genome stability and function in stressful environments. However, these parasites encode several replication protein components and complexes that show potentially variant composition compared with model eukaryotes. This review focuses on the advances made in recent years regarding the differences and peculiarities of the replication machinery in trypanosomatids, including how such divergence might affect DNA replication dynamics and the replication stress response...
August 24, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Marc Y Fink, Steven M Singer
Giardia lamblia is one of the most common infectious protozoans in the world. Giardia rarely causes severe life-threatening diarrhea, and may even have a slight protective effect in this regard, but it is a major contributor to malnutrition and growth faltering in children in the developing world. Giardia infection also appears to be a significant risk factor for postinfectious irritable bowel and chronic fatigue syndromes. In this review we highlight recent work focused on the impact of giardiasis and the mechanisms that contribute to the various outcomes of this infection, including changes in the composition of the microbiota, activation of immune responses, and immunopathology...
August 19, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Moses Egesa, Karl F Hoffmann, Cornelis H Hokke, Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Stephen Cose
There is currently no vaccine against schistosomiasis. With few Schistosoma vaccine candidates in clinical trials, unexplored antigens from the vulnerable schistosomulum should be considered as possible vaccine candidates. In addition, we suggest developing synthetic vesicles as a new delivery vehicle and adjuvant for immunoprophylactic schistosomula vaccine candidates.
August 14, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
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August 14, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Emmanuel A Pila, Hongyu Li, Jacob R Hambrook, Xinzhong Wu, Patrick C Hanington
The snail's immune response is an important determinant of schistosome infection success, acting in concert with host, parasite, and environmental factors. Coordinated by haemocytes and humoral factors, it possesses immunological hallmarks such as pattern recognition receptors, and predicted gastropod-unique factors like the immunoglobulin superfamily domain-containing fibrinogen-related proteins. Investigations into mechanisms that underpin snail-schistosome compatibility have advanced quickly, contributing functional insight to many observational studies...
August 11, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Sarah Preston, Robin B Gasser
There is a clear need to develop new and inexpensive drugs to alleviate diseases caused by parasitic worms in animals and humans worldwide. In this article we discuss the roles and advantages of working in public-private partnerships (PPPs) - among academia, industry, and philanthropy - to enable anthelmintic drug discovery.
August 4, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Richard Thomson-Luque, Katy Shaw Saliba, Clemens H M Kocken, Erica M Pasini
The recent research efforts to establish a Plasmodium vivax continuous, long-term blood-stage culture have focused on the ideal host cell type. However, this is only part of the story, as the P. vivax intraerythrocytic life cycle is complex. A successful, long-term, robust culture system will depend on a multifaceted approach combining the ideal cell type and parasite isolates, and the culture conditions.
August 2, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Víctor M Castillo-Acosta, Jan Balzarini, Dolores González-Pacanowska
Trypanosomal diseases are in need of innovative therapies that exploit novel mechanisms of action. The cell surface of trypanosomatid parasites is characterized by a dense coat of glycoconjugates with important functions in host cell recognition, immune evasion, infectivity, and cell function. The nature of parasite surface glycans is highly dynamic and changes during differentiation and in response to different stimuli through the action of glycosyltransferases and glycosidases. Here we propose a new approach to antiparasitic drug discovery that involves the use of carbohydrate-binding agents that bind specifically to cell-surface glycans, giving rise to cytotoxic events and parasite death...
July 28, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Sheba K Meymandi, Salvador Hernandez, Colin J Forsyth
Chagas disease (CD) affects over 300 000 people in the USA, many with limited access to healthcare. Although early detection and treatment prevents life-threatening complications, <1% of people with CD receive diagnosis, and routine screening is virtually nonexistent in the USA. We describe a program that led to an increase in CD screening in the Latin American-born population of Los Angeles.
July 27, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Nils Pilotte, Thomas R Unnasch, Steven A Williams
The capacity of vector insect surveillance to provide estimates of pathogen prevalence and transmission potential has long been recognized within the global communities tasked with eliminating lymphatic filariasis (LF), the underlying cause of elephantiasis and hydrocele, and onchocerciasis (river blindness). Initially restricted to the practice of dissection, the potential of vector monitoring has grown due to the advent of molecular methods capable of increasing the sensitivity and throughput of testing. However, despite such advancement, operational research gaps remain...
July 27, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Kathryn M Huson, Nicola A M Oliver, Mark W Robinson
Whilst historically regarded as being of minor importance in European livestock, recent evidence suggests that the prevalence of paramphistomosis is greater than that of fasciolosis in parts of the UK. In order to address this emerging threat to ruminant farming systems, and associated risks for food security posed by rumen fluke infection, it is imperative that we develop a better understanding of the basic biology of this parasite and how it interacts with its ruminant host. In this Opinion article we review recent progress in tracking the spread of rumen fluke infection in Europe, and propose some research questions that should be addressed if we are to develop tools to diagnose and treat paramphistomosis more effectively in the future...
July 25, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Shaosen Zhang, Shaohua Guo, Xinyu Feng, Aneta Afelt, Roger Frutos, Shuisen Zhou, Sylvie Manguin
China is approaching malaria elimination; however, well-documented information on malaria vectors is still missing, which could hinder the development of appropriate surveillance strategies and WHO certification. This review summarizes the nationwide distribution of malaria vectors, their bionomic characteristics, control measures, and related studies. After several years of effort, the area of distribution of the principal malaria vectors was reduced, in particular for Anopheles lesteri (synonym: An. anthropophagus) and Anopheles dirus s...
July 19, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Javier Sotillo, Rafael Toledo, Jason Mulvenna, Alex Loukas
Helminths facilitate their parasitic existence through the production and secretion of different molecules, including proteins. Some helminth proteins can manipulate the host's immune system, a phenomenon that is now being exploited with a view to developing therapeutics for inflammatory diseases. In recent years, hundreds of helminth genomes have been sequenced, but as a community we are still taking baby steps when it comes to identifying proteins that govern host-helminth interactions. The information generated from genomic, immunomic, and proteomic studies, as well as from cutting-edge approaches such as proteogenomics, is leading to a substantial volume of big data that can be utilised to shed light on fundamental biology and provide solutions for the development of bioactive-molecule-based therapeutics...
July 19, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Ricardo Jorge Lopes, Antonio Muñoz Mérida, Miguel Carneiro
Genetic data generated by high-throughput sequencing and deposited in public databases are increasing exponentially. A substantial amount of these data is generated from wild animals, and can contain information from nontarget organisms, such as parasites. Methodologies that leverage this available information are warranted and can help to answer questions of general interest in parasitology.
July 14, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Julio Gallego-Delgado, Ana Rodriguez
Cerebral malaria (CM) is the most severe form of malaria and causes high associated mortality. We propose a multistep process for CM pathology that is initiated by cytoadhesion of infected erythrocytes to the brain vasculature, followed by rupture and release of contents that complete the disruption of the blood-brain barrier.
July 11, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Priscille Barreaux, Antoine M G Barreaux, Eleanore D Sternberg, Eunho Suh, Jessica L Waite, Shelley A Whitehead, Matthew B Thomas
Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) have contributed substantially to reductions in the burden of malaria in the past 15 years. Building on this foundation, the goal is now to drive malaria towards elimination. Vector control remains central to this goal, but there are limitations to what is achievable with the current tools. Here we highlight how a broader appreciation of adult mosquito behavior is yielding a number of supplementary approaches to bolster the vector-control tool kit...
June 28, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
Banchob Sripa, Pierre Echaubard
The liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini (Ov) is endemic in Southeast Asia where more than 10 million people are estimated to be infected. The infection is associated with several hepatobiliary diseases, including cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). Northeast Thailand is a hotspot for Ov transmission, and, despite extensive public health prevention campaigns led by the government, the prevalence of Ov infection is still high. High infection rates result from cultural and ecological complexities where wet-rice agrarian habitats, centuries-old raw-food culture, and the parasite's complex biology combine to create an ideal transmission arena...
June 27, 2017: Trends in Parasitology
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