Transcriptome profiles derived from the site of human disease have led to the identification of genes that contribute to pathogenesis, yet the complex mixture of cell types in these lesions has been an obstacle for defining specific mechanisms. Leprosy provides an outstanding model to study host defense and pathogenesis in a human infectious disease, given its clinical spectrum, which interrelates with the host immunologic and pathologic responses. Here, we investigated gene expression profiles derived from skin lesions for each clinical subtype of leprosy, analyzing gene coexpression modules by cell-type deconvolution. In lesions from tuberculoid leprosy patients, those with the self-limited form of the disease, dendritic cells were linked with
Megan S. Inkeles, Rosane M.B. Teles, Delila Pouldar, Priscila R. Andrade, Cressida A. Madigan, David Lopez, Mike Ambrose, Mahdad Noursadeghi, Euzenir N. Sarno, Thomas H. Rea, Maria T. Ochoa, M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe, William R. Swindell, Tom H.M. Ottenhoff, Annemieke Geluk, Barry R. Bloom, Matteo Pellegrini, Robert L. Modlin
Pirfenidone is a recently approved antifibrotic drug for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Because tuberculosis (TB) is characterized by granulomatous inflammation in conjunction with parenchymal destruction and replacement fibrosis, we sought to determine whether the addition of pirfenidone as an adjunctive, host-directed therapy provides a beneficial effect during antimicrobial treatment of TB. We hypothesized that pirfenidone’s antiinflammatory and antifibrotic properties would reduce inflammatory lung damage and increase antimicrobial drug penetration in granulomas to accelerate treatment response. The effectiveness of adjunctive pirfenidone during TB drug therapy was evaluated using a murine model of chronic TB. Mice treated with standard therapy 2HRZ/4HR (H, isoniazid; R, rifampin; and Z, pyrazinamide) were compared with 2 alternative regimens containing pirfenidone (Pf) (2HRZPf/4HRPf and 2HRZPf/4HR). Contrary to our hypothesis, adjunctive pirfenidone use leads to reduced bacterial clearance and increased relapse rates. This treatment failure is closely associated with the emergence of isoniazid monoresistant bacilli, increased cavitation, and significant lung pathology. While antifibrotic agents may eventually be used as part of adjunctive host-directed therapy of TB, this study clearly demonstrates that caution must be exercised. Moreover, as pirfenidone becomes more widely used in clinical practice, increased patient monitoring would be required in endemic TB settings.
Bintou A. Ahidjo, Mariama C. Maiga, Elizabeth A. Ihms, Mamoudou Maiga, Alvaro A. Ordonez, Laurene S. Cheung, Sarah Beck, Bruno B. Andrade, Sanjay Jain, William R. Bishai
A large portion of the global population carries latent herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can periodically reactivate, resulting in asymptomatic shedding or formation of ulcerative lesions. Current anti-HSV drugs do not eliminate latent virus from sensory neurons where HSV resides, and therefore do not eliminate the risk of transmission or recurrent disease. Here, we report the ability of HSV-specific endonucleases to induce mutations of essential HSV genes both in cultured neurons and in latently infected mice. In neurons, viral genomes are susceptible to endonuclease-mediated mutagenesis, regardless of the time of treatment after HSV infection, suggesting that both HSV lytic and latent forms can be targeted. Mutagenesis frequency after endonuclease exposure can be increased nearly 2-fold by treatment with a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. Using a mouse model of latent HSV infection, we demonstrate that a targeted endonuclease can be delivered to viral latency sites via an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, where it is able to induce mutation of latent HSV genomes. These data provide the first proof-of-principle to our knowledge for the use of a targeted endonuclease as an antiviral agent to treat an established latent viral infection in vivo.
Martine Aubert, Emily A. Madden, Michelle Loprieno, Harshana S. DeSilva Feelixge, Laurence Stensland, Meei-Li Huang, Alexander L. Greninger, Pavitra Roychoudhury, Nixon Niyonzima, Thuy Nguyen, Amalia Magaret, Roman Galleto, Daniel Stone, Keith R. Jerome
Since 2011, over 300 human cases of infection, especially in exposed children, with the influenza A H3N2 variant (H3N2v) virus that circulates in swine in the US have been reported. The structural and genetic basis for the lack of protection against H3N2v induced by vaccines containing seasonal H3N2 antigens is poorly understood. We isolated 17 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralized H3N2v virus from subjects experimentally immunized with an H3N2v candidate vaccine. Six mAbs exhibited very potent neutralizing activity (IC50 < 200 ng/ml) against the H3N2v virus but not against current human H3N2 circulating strains. Fine epitope mapping and structural characterization of antigen-antibody complexes revealed that H3N2v specificity was attributable to amino acid polymorphisms in the 150-loop and the 190-helix antigenic sites on the hemagglutinin protein. H3N2v-specific antibodies also neutralized human H3N2 influenza strains naturally circulating between 1995 and 2005. These results reveal a high level of antigenic relatedness between the swine H3N2v virus and previously circulating human strains, consistent with the fact that early human H3 seasonal strains entered the porcine population in the 1990s and reentered the human population, where they had not been circulating, as H3N2v about a decade later. The data also explain the increased susceptibility to H3N2v viruses in young children, who lack prior exposure to human seasonal strains from the 1990s.
Sandhya Bangaru, Travis Nieusma, Nurgun Kose, Natalie J. Thornburg, Jessica A. Finn, Bryan S. Kaplan, Hannah G. King, Vidisha Singh, Rebecca M. Lampley, Gopal Sapparapu, Alberto Cisneros III, Kathryn M. Edwards, James C. Slaughter, Srilatha Edupuganti, Lilin Lai, Juergen A. Richt, Richard J. Webby, Andrew B. Ward, James E. Crowe Jr.
Necrotizing fasciitis caused by group A streptococcus (GAS) is a life-threatening, rapidly progressing infection. At present, biofilm is not recognized as a potential problem in GAS necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTI), as it is typically linked to chronic infections or associated with foreign devices. Here, we present a case of a previously healthy male presenting with NSTI caused by GAS. The infection persisted over 24 days, and the surgeon documented the presence of a “thick layer biofilm” in the fascia. Subsequent analysis of NSTI patient tissue biopsies prospectively included in a multicenter study revealed multiple areas of biofilm in 32% of the patients studied. Biopsies associated with biofilm formation were characterized by massive bacterial load, a pronounced inflammatory response, and clinical signs of more severe tissue involvement. In vitro infections of a human skin tissue model with GAS NSTI isolates also revealed multilayered fibrous biofilm structures, which were found to be under the control of the global Nra gene regulator. The finding of GAS biofilm formation in NSTIs emphasizes the urgent need for biofilm to be considered as a potential complicating microbiological feature of GAS NSTI and, consequently, emphasizes reconsideration of antibiotic treatment protocols.
Nikolai Siemens, Bhavya Chakrakodi, Srikanth Mairpady Shambat, Marina Morgan, Helena Bergsten, Ole Hyldegaard, Steinar Skrede, Per Arnell, Martin B. Madsen, Linda Johansson, INFECT Study Group, Julius Juarez, Lidija Bosnjak, Matthias Mörgelin, Mattias Svensson, Anna Norrby-Teglund
BACKGROUND. Children treated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts to manage hydrocephalus frequently develop shunt failure and/or infections, conditions that present with overlapping symptoms. The potential life-threatening nature of shunt infections requires rapid diagnosis; however, traditional microbiology is time consuming, expensive, and potentially unreliable. We set out to identify a biomarker that would identify shunt infection.
METHODS. CSF was assayed for the soluble membrane attack complex (sMAC) by ELISA in patients with suspected shunt failure or infection. CSF was obtained at the time of initial surgical intervention. Statistical analysis was performed to assess the diagnostic potential of sMAC in pyogenic-infected versus noninfected patients.
RESULTS. Children with pyogenic shunt infection had significantly increased sMAC levels compared with noninfected patients (3,211 ± 1,111 ng/ml vs. 26 ± 3.8 ng/ml,
CONCLUSION. Elevated CSF sMAC levels are both sensitive and specific for diagnosing pyogenic shunt infection and may serve as a useful prognostic biomarker during recovery from infection.
FUNDING. This work was supported in part by the Impact Fund of Children’s of Alabama.
Theresa N. Ramos, Anastasia A. Arynchyna, Tessa E. Blackburn, Scott R. Barnum, James M. Johnston
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