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Trends in Parasitology

Scott M Landfear, Dan Zilberstein
Kinetoplastid parasites such as trypanosomes and Leishmania must adapt to their environments to survive within their hosts, yet they do not express many of the well established families of signal transduction receptors. Evidence suggests that other membrane proteins, including transporters and channels, play central roles in environmental sensing in these parasites.
January 14, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Elin Videvall
Haemosporidian parasites causing malaria-like diseases in birds are globally distributed and have been associated with reduced host fitness and mortality in susceptible bird species. This group of parasites has not only enabled a greater understanding of host specificity, virulence, and parasite dispersal, but has also been crucial in restructuring the evolutionary history of apicomplexans. Despite their importance, genomic resources of avian haemosporidians have proved difficult to obtain, and they have, as a result, been lagging behind the congeneric Plasmodium species infecting mammals...
January 11, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Xiao Hong Li, Anatoly Kondrashin, Brian Greenwood, Kim Lindblade, Gawrie Loku Galappaththy, Pedro Alonso
A malaria-free world remains the vision of the global community. Malaria elimination within the territory of a country is a pathway to achieving the ultimate goal of eradication. Certification of malaria elimination in a country is the official recognition of this important achievement. The concepts of eradication and elimination, and criteria for certification of malaria elimination, have guided national programs in their efforts to achieve and maintain elimination. They have evolved from the experiences and setbacks of the global eradication program, and on the contemporaneous understanding of the concepts of achieving and maintaining elimination...
January 10, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, Benjamin Hoffman, Justin Wiedeman, Catherine Sullenberger, Amrita Sharma
Inheritance of the single mitochondrial nucleoid (kinetoplast) in the trypanosome requires numerous proteins, many of whose precise roles are unclear. By considering kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) as a template for cleavage into two equal-size networks, we predicted sets of mutant kinetoplasts associated with defects in each of the five steps in the kinetoplast cycle. Comparison of these kinetoplasts with those obtained after gene knockdowns enabled assignment of proteins to five classes - kDNA synthesis, site of scission selection, scission, separation, and partitioning...
January 10, 2019: Trends in Parasitology
Alexander G Maier, Kai Matuschewski, Meng Zhang, Melanie Rug
Plasmodium falciparum is the etiological agent of malaria tropica, the leading cause of death due to a vector-borne infectious disease, claiming 0.5 million lives every year. The single-cell eukaryote undergoes a complex life cycle and is an obligate intracellular parasite of hepatocytes (clinically silent) and erythrocytes (disease causing). An infection can progress to a wide range of pathologies, including severe anemia and cerebral malaria, which can lead to death. P. falciparum repeatedly replicates over the course of 48h inside erythrocytes, resulting in exponential growth and rapid disease progression...
December 27, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Fitsum G Tadesse, Lisette Meerstein-Kessel, Bronner P Gonçalves, Chris Drakeley, Lisa Ranford-Cartwright, Teun Bousema
A mosquito needs to ingest at least one male and one female gametocyte to become infected with malaria. The sex of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes can be determined microscopically but recent transcriptomics studies paved the way for the development of molecular methods that allow sex-ratio assessments at much lower gametocyte densities. These sex-specific gametocyte diagnostics were recently used to examine gametocyte dynamics in controlled and natural infections as well as the impact of different antimalarial drugs...
December 26, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Kirsten Dundas, Melanie J Shears, Photini Sinnis, Gavin J Wright
Malaria is an infectious disease, caused by Plasmodium parasites, that remains a major global health problem. Infection begins when salivary gland sporozoites are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once within the host, sporozoites navigate through the dermis, into the bloodstream, and eventually invade hepatocytes. While we have an increasingly sophisticated cellular description of this journey, our molecular understanding of the extracellular interactions between the sporozoite and mammalian host that regulate migration and invasion remain comparatively poor...
December 21, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Susanna S Ng, Christian R Engwerda
Malaria remains an important global disease. Despite significant advances over the past decade in reducing disease morbidity and mortality, new measures are needed if malaria is to be eliminated. Significant advances in our understanding about host immune responses during malaria have been made, opening up opportunities to generate long-lasting antiparasitic immunity through vaccination or immune therapy. However, there is still much debate over which immune cell populations contribute to immunity to malaria, including innate lymphocytes that comprise recently identified innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and better known innate-like T cell subsets...
December 19, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Anssi Karvonen, Jukka Jokela, Anna-Liisa Laine
Coinfections by multiple parasites predominate in the wild. Interactions between parasites can be antagonistic, neutral, or facilitative, and they can have significant implications for epidemiology, disease dynamics, and evolution of virulence. Coinfections commonly result from sequential exposure of hosts to different parasites. We argue that the sequential nature of coinfections is important for the consequences of infection in both natural and man-made environments. Coinfections accumulate during host lifespan, determining the structure of the parasite infracommunity...
December 18, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Freddie Bailey, Julian Eaton, Muhammad Jidda, Wim H van Brakel, David G Addiss, David H Molyneux
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are increasingly recognised as major drivers of psychosocial morbidity in affected individuals and their caregivers. Nevertheless, there has remained a lack of prioritisation at the policy level of some of the most stigmatising and chronic NTDs, with subsequent under-representation within NTD programmes. In response, the Neglected Tropical Disease/Non-Governmental Organization/Network (NNN) has established a Mental Wellbeing and Stigma Task Group (MWS) to address these issues through a comprehensive research agenda...
December 18, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Will Stone, Teun Bousema, Robert Sauerwein, Chris Drakeley
Plasmodium gametocytes can induce an immune response in humans that interferes with the development of sexual-stage parasites in the mosquito gut. Many early studies of the sexual-stage immune response noted that mosquito infection could be enhanced as well as reduced by immune sera. For Plasmodium falciparum, these reports are scarce, and the phenomenon is generally regarded as a methodological artefact. Plasmodium transmission enhancement (TE) remains contentious, but the clinical development of transmission-blocking vaccines based on sexual-stage antigens requires that it is further studied...
December 17, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Miles B Markus
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 15, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Lauriane Sollelis, Matthias Marti
Trypanosoma brucei stumpy forms are the only stage that can transmit from human to tsetse fly. Stumpy formation is regulated by a quorum sensing mechanism that depends on parasite density and an unknown stumpy induction factor (SIF). Recently, an elegant study by Matthews and colleagues (Cell 176, 1-12) has identified several crucial components of this pathway, including the putative SIF and its receptor.
December 13, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Filipe Dantas-Torres, Guadalupe Miró, Dwight D Bowman, Luigi Gradoni, Domenico Otranto
Visceral leishmaniasis, caused by Leishmania infantum, is a zoonosis, and culling seropositive dogs has been recommended to control the disease in some endemic countries. However, no scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of this strategy to reduce the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis. Economic and ethical issues concerning dog culling are discussed.
December 13, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Mette Ø Agerbæk, Sara Bang-Christensen, Ali Salanti
Malaria research has led to the discovery of oncofetal chondroitin sulfate, which appears to be shared between placental trophoblasts and cancer cells and can be detected by the evolutionary refined malaria protein VAR2CSA. Interestingly, using recombinant VAR2CSA to target oncofetal chondroitin sulfate shows promise for novel cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
December 11, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
T P Jenkins, P J Brindley, R B Gasser, C Cantacessi
There is increasing attention on the complex interactions occurring between gastrointestinal parasitic helminths and the microbial flora (microbiota) inhabiting the host gut. However, little is known about the occurrence, structure, and function of microbial populations residing within parasite organs and tissues. In this article, we argue that an in-depth understanding of the interplay between parasites and their microbiomes may significantly enhance current knowledge of parasite biology and physiology, and may lead to the discovery of entirely novel, anthelmintic-independent interventions against parasites and parasitic diseases...
November 28, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Eric R Morgan, Nor-Azlina A Aziz, Alexandra Blanchard, Johannes Charlier, Claude Charvet, Edwin Claerebout, Peter Geldhof, Andrew W Greer, Hubertus Hertzberg, Jane Hodgkinson, Johan Höglund, Hervé Hoste, Ray M Kaplan, María Martínez Valladares, Siân Mitchell, Harm W Ploeger, Laura Rinaldi, Georg von Samson-Himmelstjerna, Smaragda Sotiraki, Manuela Schnyder, Philip Skuce, David Bartley, Fiona Kenyon, Stig M Thamsborg, Hannah Rose Vineer, Theo de Waal, Andrew R Williams, Jan A van Wyk, Jozef Vercruysse
An elicitation exercise was conducted to collect and identify pressing questions concerning the study of helminths in livestock, to help guide research priorities. Questions were invited from the research community in an inclusive way. Of 385 questions submitted, 100 were chosen by online vote, with priority given to open questions in important areas that are specific enough to permit investigation within a focused project or programme of research. The final list of questions was divided into ten themes. We present the questions and set them briefly in the context of the current state of knowledge...
November 23, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Peter J Hotez, Maria Elena Bottazzi, Jeffrey Bethony, David D Diemert
Three vaccines against human schistosomiasis are in different phases of clinical development, and a fourth is expected to enter the clinic soon. Successful introduction of an efficacious preventive human schistosomiasis vaccine will require integration into existing health systems such as those that deliver childhood vaccines or mass drug administration programs.
November 16, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Caroline Fouet, Colince Kamdem
The versatility of mosquito species that spread emerging arthropod-borne viruses such as Zika has highlighted the urgent need to re-evaluate mosquito-control standards. The prospect of using precise knowledge of the geographic distribution and vector status of local populations to guide targeted interventions has gained renewed attention, but the feasibility and utility of such an approach remain to be investigated. Using the example of mosquito management in the USA, we present ideas for designing, monitoring, and assessing precision vector control tailored to different environmental and epidemiological settings...
November 13, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
Livio Ruzzante, Maarten J M F Reijnders, Robert M Waterhouse
Mosquitoes are widely despised for their exasperating buzzing and irritating bites, and more poignantly because, during blood-feeding, females may transmit pathogens that cause devastating diseases. However, the ability to transmit such viruses, filarial worms, or malaria parasites varies greatly amongst the ∼3500 recognised mosquito species. Applying omics technologies to sample this diversity and explore the biology underlying these variations is bringing increasingly greater resolution that enhances our understanding of mosquito evolution...
November 1, 2018: Trends in Parasitology
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