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Microbiology Spectrum

Madhukar Pai, Marcel Behr
The identification of individuals with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is useful for both fundamental understanding of the pathogenesis of disease and for clinical and public health interventions (i.e., to prevent progression to disease). Basic research suggests there is a pathogenetic continuum from exposure to infection to disease, and individuals may advance or reverse positions within the spectrum, depending on changes in the host immunity. Unfortunately, there is no diagnostic test that resolves the various stages within the spectrum of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Emily R Troemel
Microsporidia comprise a phylum of obligate intracellular pathogens related to fungi that infect virtually all animals. Recently, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been developed as a convenient model for studying microsporidia infection in a whole-animal host through the identification and characterization of a natural microsporidian pathogen of this commonly studied laboratory organism. The C. elegans natural microsporidian pathogen is named Nematocida parisii, and it causes a lethal intestinal infection in C...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Nicole Robbins, Gerard D Wright, Leah E Cowen
Invasive fungal infections are becoming an increasingly important cause of human mortality and morbidity, particularly for immunocompromised populations. The fungal pathogens Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Aspergillus fumigatus collectively contribute to over 1 million human deaths annually. Hence, the importance of safe and effective antifungal therapeutics for the practice of modern medicine has never been greater. Given that fungi are eukaryotes like their human host, the number of unique molecular targets that can be exploited for drug development remains limited...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Madhukar Pai, Mark P Nicol, Catharina C Boehme
Rapid and accurate diagnosis is critical for timely initiation of anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment, but many people with TB (or TB symptoms) do not have access to adequate initial diagnosis. In many countries, TB diagnosis is still reliant on sputum microscopy, a test with known limitations. However, new diagnostics are starting to change the landscape. Stimulated, in part, by the success and rollout of Xpert MTB/RIF, an automated, molecular test, there is now considerable interest in new technologies. The landscape looks promising with a pipeline of new tools, particularly molecular diagnostics, and well over 50 companies actively engaged in product development, and many tests have been reviewed by WHO for policy endorsement...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Timothy Lahey, C Fordham von Reyn
Tuberculosis infects millions of people worldwide and remains a leading global killer despite widespread neonatal administration of the tuberculosis vaccine, bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG). BCG has clear and sustained efficacy, but after 10 years, its efficacy appears to wane, at least in some populations. Fortunately, there are many new tuberculosis vaccines in development today, some in advanced stages of clinical trial testing. Here we review the epidemiological need for tuberculosis vaccination, including evolving standards for administration to at risk individuals in developing countries...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Ronit Weisman
All organisms can respond to the availability of nutrients by regulating their metabolism, growth, and cell division. Central to the regulation of growth in response to nutrient availability is the target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling that is composed of two structurally distinct complexes: TOR complex 1 (TORC1) and TOR complex 2 (TORC2). The TOR genes were first identified in yeast as target of rapamycin, a natural product of a soil bacterium, which proved beneficial as an immunosuppressive and anticancer drug and is currently being tested for a handful of other pathological conditions including diabetes, neurodegeneration, and age-related diseases...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Racquel Domingo-Gonzalez, Oliver Prince, Andrea Cooper, Shabaana A Khader
Chemokines and cytokines are critical for initiating and coordinating the organized and sequential recruitment and activation of cells into Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected lungs. Correct mononuclear cellular recruitment and localization are essential to ensure control of bacterial growth without the development of diffuse and damaging granulocytic inflammation. An important block to our understanding of TB pathogenesis lies in dissecting the critical aspects of the cytokine/chemokine interplay in light of the conditional role these molecules play throughout infection and disease development...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Tomas Ganz
Macrophages exert multiple important roles in iron metabolism. As scavengers, splenic and hepatic macrophages phagocytize and degrade senescent and damaged erythrocytes to recycle iron, predominantly for the production of hemoglobin in new erythrocytes. Splenic red pulp macrophages are specialized for iron recycling, with increased expression of proteins for the uptake of hemoglobin, breakdown of heme, and export of iron. Iron release from macrophages is closely regulated by the interaction of hepcidin, a peptide hormone produced by hepatocytes, with the macrophage iron exporter ferroportin...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Richard J Bennett, B Gillian Turgeon
This article provides an overview of sexual reproduction in the ascomycetes, a phylum of fungi that is named after the specialized sacs or "asci" that hold the sexual spores. They have therefore also been referred to as the Sac Fungi due to these characteristic structures that typically contain four to eight ascospores. Ascomycetes are morphologically diverse and include single-celled yeasts, filamentous fungi, and more complex cup fungi. The sexual cycles of many species, including those of the model yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe and the filamentous saprobes Neurospora crassa, Aspergillus nidulans, and Podospora anserina, have been examined in depth...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Kipp Weiskopf, Peter J Schnorr, Wendy W Pang, Mark P Chao, Akanksha Chhabra, Jun Seita, Mingye Feng, Irving L Weissman
The hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) is a multipotent stem cell that resides in the bone marrow and has the ability to form all of the cells of the blood and immune system. Since its first purification in 1988, additional studies have refined the phenotype and functionality of HSCs and characterized all of their downstream progeny. The hematopoietic lineage is divided into two main branches: the myeloid and lymphoid arms. The myeloid arm is characterized by the common myeloid progenitor and all of its resulting cell types...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Thomas J Scriba, Anna K Coussens, Helen A Fletcher
Immunology is a central theme when it comes to tuberculosis (TB). The outcome of human infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis is dependent on the ability of the immune response to clear or contain the infection.In cases where this fails, the bacterium replicates, disseminates within the host, and elicits a pathologic inflammatory response, and disease ensues. Clinical presentation of TB disease is remarkably heterogenous, and the disease phenotype is largely dependent on host immune status. Onward transmission of M...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Mary E Torrence
This introductory article provides an overview of preharvest food safety activities and initiatives for the past 15 years. The section on traditional areas of preharvest food safety focuses on significant scientific advancements that are a culmination of collaborative efforts (both public health and agriculture) and significant research results. The highlighted advancements provide the foundation for exploring future preharvest areas and for improving and focusing on more specific intervention/control/prevention strategies...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Dominique Castex, Sacha Kacki
The analysis of biological parameters such as age and sex is particularly relevant to the interpretation of ancient skeletal assemblages related to abrupt mortality crises, and more particularly epidemics. In such a context, the mechanisms of selection within a population or part of a population differ according to the pathogen involved. They may also vary depending on the period and location in which the population lived. Here, we illustrate the specificity of plague mortality through the study of several European burial sites contemporary with the first and second plague pandemics...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Elitza S Theel, Bobbi S Pritt
Parasites are an important cause of human disease worldwide. The clinical severity and outcome of parasitic disease is often dependent on the immune status of the host. Specific parasitic diseases discussed in this chapter are amebiasis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, cyclosporiasis, cystoisosporiasis, microsporidosis, granulomatous amebic encephalitis, toxoplasmosis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, malaria, babesiosis, strongyloidiasis, and scabies.
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Juliet C Peña, Wen-Zhe Ho
Among the animal models of tuberculosis (TB), the non-human primates, particularly rhesus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and cynomolgus macaques (Macaca mulatta), share the greatest anatomical and physiological similarities with humans. Macaques are highly susceptible to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and manifest the complete spectrum of clinical and pathological manifestations of TB as seen in humans. Therefore, the macaque models have been used extensively for investigating the pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis infection and for preclinical testing of drugs and vaccines against TB...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Filip K Swirski, Matthias Nahrendorf, Peter Libby
Inflammation furnishes a series of pathogenic pathways that couple the risk factors for atherosclerosis with altered behavior of the intrinsic cells of the arterial wall, endothelium, and smooth muscle and promote the disease and its complications. Myeloid cells participate critically in all phases of atherosclerosis from initiation through progression, and ultimately the thrombotic consequences of this disease. Foam cells, lipid-laden macrophages, constitute the hallmark of atheromata. Much of the recent expansion in knowledge of the roles of myeloid cells in atherosclerosis revolves around the functional contributions of subsets of monocytes, precursors of macrophages, the most abundant myeloid cells in the atheroma...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Olivier Dutour
Paleopathology studies the traces of disease on human and animal remains from ancient times. Infectious diseases have been, for over a century, one of its main fields of interest. The applications of paleogenetics methods to microbial aDNA, that started in the 90s combined to the recent development of new sequencing techniques allowing 'paleogenomics' approaches, have completely renewed the issue of the infections in the past. These advances open up new challenges in the understanding of the evolution of human-pathogen relationships, integrated in "One Health" concept...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Anne Spichler Moffarah, Mayar Al Mohajer, Bonnie L Hurwitz, David G Armstrong
The skin is colonized by a diverse collection of microorganisms which, for the most part, peacefully coexist with their hosts. Skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) encompass a variety of conditions; in immunocompromised hosts, SSTIs can be caused by diverse microorganisms-most commonly bacteria, but also fungi, viruses, mycobacteria, and protozoa. The diagnosis of SSTIs is difficult because they may commonly masquerade as other clinical syndromes or can be a manifestation of systemic disease. In immunocompromised hosts, SSTI poses a major diagnostic challenge, and clinical dermatological assessment should be initially performed; to better identify the pathogen and to lead to appropriate treatment, etiology should include cultures of lesions and blood, biopsy with histology, specific microbiological analysis with special stains, molecular techniques, and antigen-detection methodologies...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Graham McBride, Brent Gilpin
In environmental microbial forensics, as in other pursuits, statistical calculations are sometimes inappropriately applied, giving rise to the appearance of support for a particular conclusion or failing to support an innately obvious conclusion. This is a reflection of issues related to dealing with sample sizes, the methodologies involved, and the difficulty of communicating uncertainties. In this brief review, we attempt to illustrate ways to minimize such problems. In doing so, we consider one of the most common applications of environmental microbial forensics-the use of genotyping in food and water and disease investigations...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Gillian M Griffiths
Many cells of the myeloid lineage use an unusual secretory organelle to deliver their effector mechanisms. In these cells, the lysosomal compartment is often modified not only to fulfill the degradative functions of a lysosome but also as a mechanism for secreting additional proteins that are found in the lysosomes of each specialized cell type. These extra proteins vary from one cell type to another according to the specialized function of the cell. For example, mast cells package histamine; cytotoxic T cells express perforin; azurophilic granules in neutrophils express antimicrobial peptides, and platelets von Willebrand factor...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
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