[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pyruvate kinase (PKLR) is a critical erythrocyte enzyme that is required for glycolysis and
production of ATP. We have shown that Pklr deficiency in mice reduces the severity
(reduced parasitemia, increased survival) of blood stage malaria induced by infection with
Plasmodium chabaudi AS. Likewise, studies in human erythrocytes infected ex vivo with P.
falciparum show that presence of host PK-deficiency alleles reduces infection phenotypes.
We have characterized the genetic diversity of the PKLR gene, including haplotype structure
and presence of rare coding variants in two populations from malaria endemic areas of
Thailand and Senegal. We investigated the effect of PKLR genotypes on rich longitudinal
datasets including haematological and malaria-associated phenotypes. A coding and possibly
damaging variant (R41Q) was identified in the Thai population with a minor allele frequency
of ~4.7%. Arginine 41 (R41) is highly conserved in the pyruvate kinase family and
its substitution to Glutamine (R41Q) affects protein stability. Heterozygosity for R41Q is
shown to be associated with a significant reduction in the number of attacks with Plasmodium
falciparum, while correlating with an increased number of Plasmodium vivax infections.
These results strongly suggest that PKLR protein variants may affect the frequency,
and the intensity of malaria episodes induced by different Plasmodium parasites in humans
living in areas of endemic malaria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus responsible for life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). The viral replication machinery containing the core non-structural protein 5 (NS5) is implicated in severe dengue symptoms but molecular details remain obscure. To date, studies seeking to catalog and characterize interaction networks between viral NS5 and host proteins have been limited to the yeast two-hybrid system, computational prediction, and co-immunoprecipitation (IP) of ectopically expressed NS5. However, these traditional approaches do not reproduce a natural course of infection in which a number of DENV NS proteins colocalize and tightly associate during the replication process. Here, we demonstrate the development of a recombinant DENV that harbors a TAP tag in NS5 to study host-virus interactions in vivo. We show that our engineered DENV was infective in several human cell lines and the tags were stable over multiple viral passages, suggesting negligible structural and functional disturbance of NS5. We further provide proof-of-concept for the use of rationally tagged virus by revealing a high confidence NS5 interaction network in human hepatic cells. Our analysis uncovered previously unrecognized hnRNP complexes and several low-abundance fatty acid metabolism genes, which have been implicated in viral life cycle. This study sets a new standard for investigation of host-flavivirus interaction.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of General Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Three-quarters of the estimated 390 million dengue virus (DENV) infections each year are clinically inapparent. People with inapparent dengue virus infections are generally considered dead-end hosts for transmission because they do not reach sufficiently high viremia levels to infect mosquitoes. Here, we show that, despite their lower average level of viremia, asymptomatic people can be infectious to mosquitoes. Moreover, at a given level of viremia, DENV-infected people with no detectable symptoms or before the onset of symptoms are significantly more infectious to mosquitoes than people with symptomatic infections. Because DENV viremic people without clinical symptoms may be exposed to more mosquitoes through their undisrupted daily routines than sick people and represent the bulk of DENV infections, our data indicate that they have the potential to contribute significantly more to virus transmission to mosquitoes than previously recognized.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Dengue laboratory diagnosis is essentially based on detection of the virus, its components or antibodies directed against the virus in blood samples. Blood, however, may be difficult to draw in some patients, especially in children, and sampling during outbreak investigations or epidemiological studies may face logistical challenges or limited compliance to invasive procedures from subjects. The aim of this study was to assess the possibility of using saliva and urine samples instead of blood for dengue diagnosis.
Serial plasma, urine and saliva samples were collected at several time-points between the day of admission to hospital until three months after the onset of fever in children with confirmed dengue disease. Quantitative RT-PCR, NS1 antigen capture and ELISA serology for anti-DENV antibody (IgG, IgM and IgA) detection were performed in parallel on the three body fluids. RT-PCR and NS1 tests demonstrated an overall sensitivity of 85.4%/63.4%, 41.6%/14.5% and 39%/28.3%, in plasma, urine and saliva specimens, respectively. When urine and saliva samples were collected at the same time-points and tested concurrently, the diagnostic sensitivity of RNA and NS1 detection assays was 69.1% and 34.4%, respectively. IgG/IgA detection assays had an overall sensitivity of 54.4%/37.4%, 38.5%/26.8% and 52.9%/28.6% in plasma, urine and saliva specimens, respectively. IgM were detected in 38.1% and 36% of the plasma and saliva samples but never in urine.
Although the performances of the different diagnostic methods were not as good in saliva and urine as in plasma specimens, the results obtained by qRT-PCR and by anti-DENV antibody ELISA could well justify the use of these two body fluids to detect dengue infection in situations when the collection of blood specimens is not possible.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Many studies report associations between human genetic factors and immunity to malaria but few have been reliably replicated. These studies are usually country-specific, use small sample sizes and are not directly comparable due to differences in methodologies. This study brings together samples and data collected from multiple sites across Africa and Asia to use standardized methods to look for consistent genetic effects on anti-malarial antibody levels.
Sera, DNA samples and clinical data were collected from 13,299 individuals from ten sites in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka using standardized methods. DNA was extracted and typed for 202 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms with known associations to malaria or antibody production, and antibody levels to four clinical grade malarial antigens [AMA1, MSP1, MSP2, and (NANP)4] plus total IgE were measured by ELISA techniques. Regression models were used to investigate the associations of clinical and genetic factors with antibody levels.
Malaria infection increased levels of antibodies to malaria antigens and, as expected, stable predictors of anti-malarial antibody levels included age, seasonality, location, and ethnicity. Correlations between antibodies to blood-stage antigens AMA1, MSP1 and MSP2 were higher between themselves than with antibodies to the (NANP)4 epitope of the pre-erythrocytic circumsporozoite protein, while there was little or no correlation with total IgE levels. Individuals with sickle cell trait had significantly lower antibody levels to all blood-stage antigens, and recessive homozygotes for CD36 (rs321198) had significantly lower anti-malarial antibody levels to MSP2.
Although the most significant finding with a consistent effect across sites was for sickle cell trait, its effect is likely to be via reducing a microscopically positive parasitaemia rather than directly on antibody levels. However, this study does demonstrate a framework for the feasibility of combining data from sites with heterogeneous malaria transmission levels across Africa and Asia with which to explore genetic effects on anti-malarial immunity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The World Allergy Organization estimates that 40 % of the world's population is affected by allergic diseases. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood has completed Phase III and it has now become clear that these diseases have increased in developing countries, especially Africa, where prevalence rates were formerly low. Despite an increase in studies in Africa, few sub-Saharan West African countries are represented; the focus has remained on urban populations and little attention has been paid to rural sub-Saharan Africa.
We performed an allergy survey in a birth cohort of children aged less than 15 years in rural Senegal and implemented an ISAAC questionnaire. We carried out a complete blood count and serological analyses for IgE levels against common allergens and mosquito saliva.
The prevalence rates of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis (RC) and atopic dermatitis (AD) were 12.8, 12.5 and 12.2 % respectively. Specific IgE (sIgE) levels against mosquito spp. salivary gland antigens were significantly associated with AD; sIgE levels against selected true grasses (Poaceae) were significantly associated with RC. sIgE levels against house dust mite spp. were not associated with asthma, but were significantly correlated with mosquito IgE levels. Such cross-reactivity may blur the association between HDM sIgE and asthma. Consumption of seafood, storing whey cream, using plant fibre bedding and presence of carpet were significantly associated with increased risk of RC. The association of seafood may be the result of histamine intoxication from molluscs prepared by putrefaction. Cat presence and dog contact were associated with increased risk of asthma. Cow contact was associated with increased risk of AD.
Our allergy study in rural West Africa revealed lower prevalence rates than the majority of African urban settings. Although several associated known risk factors were identified, there were associations specific to the region. The identification of probable artefactual dietary phenomena is a challenge for robust diagnosis of allergic disease. The association AD with mosquito saliva, a common allergen in rural settings, warrants specific attention. Further studies in rural Africa are needed to address the aetiology of allergy in a non-urban environment.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Allergy Asthma and Clinical Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Over 2.5 billion people are exposed to the risk of contracting dengue fever (DF). Early diagnosis of DF helps to diminish its burden on public health. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase amplification assays (RT-PCR) are the standard method for molecular detection of the dengue virus (DENV). Real-time RT-PCR analysis is not suitable for on-site screening since mobile devices are large, expensive, and complex. In this study, two RT-recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) assays were developed to detect DENV1-4.
Using two quantitative RNA molecular standards, the analytical sensitivity of a RT-RPA targeting the 3´non-translated region of DENV1-4 was found to range from 14 (DENV4) to 241 (DENV1-3) RNA molecules detected. The assay was specific and did not cross detect other Flaviviruses. The RT-RPA assay was tested in a mobile laboratory combining magnetic-bead based total nucleic acid extraction and a portable detection device in Kedougou (Senegal) and in Bangkok (Thailand). In Kedougou, the RT-RPA was operated at an ambient temperature of 38°C with auxiliary electricity tapped from a motor vehicle and yielded a clinical sensitivity and specificity of 98% (n=31) and 100% (n=23), respectively. While in the field trial in Bangkok, the clinical sensitivity and specificity were 72% (n=90) and 100%(n=41), respectively.
During the first 5 days of infection, the developed DENV1-4 RT-RPA assays constitute a suitable accurate and rapid assay for DENV diagnosis. Moreover, the use of a portable fluorescence-reading device broadens its application potential to the point-of-care for outbreak investigations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria transmission intensity is highly heterogeneous even at a very small scale. Implementing targeted intervention in malaria transmission hotspots offers the potential to reduce the burden of disease both locally and in adjacent areas. Transmission of malaria parasites from man to mosquito requires the production of gametocyte stage parasites. Cluster analysis of a 19-year long cohort study for gametocyte carriage revealed spatially defined game-tocyte hotspots that occurred during the time when chloroquine was the drug used for clinical case treatment. In addition to known risk factors for gametocyte carriage, notably young age (<15 years old) and associated with a clinical episode, blood groups B and O increased risk compared to groups A and AB. A hotspot of clinical P. falciparum clinical episodes that overlapped the gametocyte hotspots was also identified. Gametocyte positivity was found to be increased in individuals who had been treated with chloroquine, as opposed to other drug treatment regimens, for a clinical P. falciparum episode up to 30 days previously. It seems likely the hotspots were generated by a vicious circle of ineffective treatment of clinical cases and concomitant gametocyte production in a sub-population characterized by an increased prevalence of all the identified risk factors. While rapid access to treatment with an effective anti-malarial can reduce the duration of gametocyte carriage and onward parasite transmission, localised hotspots represent a challenge to malaria control and eventual eradication.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria remains a major worldwide public health problem with ~207 million cases and ~627,000 deaths per year, mainly affecting children under five years of age in Africa. Recent efforts at elaborating a genetic architecture of malaria have focused on severe malaria, leading to the identification of two new genes and confirmation of previously known variants in HBB, ABO and G6PD, by exploring the whole human genome in genome-wide association (GWA) studies. Molecular pathways controlling phenotypes representing effectiveness of host immunity, notably parasitemia and IgG levels, are of particular interest given the current lack of an efficacious vaccine and the need for new treatment options.
We propose a global causal framework of malaria phenotypes implicating progression from the initial infection with Plasmodium spp. to the development of the infection through liver and blood-stage multiplication cycles (parasitemia as a quantitative trait), to clinical malaria attack, and finally to severe malaria. Genetic polymorphism may control any of these stages, such that preceding stages act as mediators of subsequent stages. A biomarker of humoral immunity, IgG levels, can also be integrated into the framework, potentially mediating the impact of polymorphism by limiting parasitemia levels. Current knowledge of the genetic basis of parasitemia levels and IgG levels is reviewed through key examples including the hemoglobinopathies, showing that the protective effect of HBB variants on malaria clinical phenotypes may partially be mediated through parasitemia and cytophilic IgG levels. Another example is the IgG receptor FcγRIIa, encoded by FCGR2A, such that H131 homozygotes displayed higher IgG2 levels and were protective against high parasitemia and onset of malaria symptoms as shown in a causal diagram.
We thus underline the value of parasitemia and IgG levels as phenotypes in the understanding of the human genetic architecture of malaria, and the need for applying GWA approaches to these phenotypes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Deciphering the genetic architecture of complex traits is still a major challenge for human genetics. In most cases, genome-wide association studies have only partially explained the heritability of traits and diseases. Epistasis, one potentially important cause of this missing heritability, is difficult to explore at the genome-wide level. Here, we develop and assess a tool based on interactive odds ratios (IOR), Fast Odds Ratio-based sCan for Epistasis (FORCE), as a novel approach for exhaustive genome-wide epistasis search. IOR is the ratio between the multiplicative term of the odds ratio (OR) of having each variant over the OR of having both of them. By definition, an IOR that significantly deviates from 1 suggests the occurrence of an interaction (epistasis). As the IOR is fast to calculate, we used the IOR to rank and select pairs of interacting polymorphisms for P value estimation, which is more time consuming.
FORCE displayed power and accuracy similar to existing parametric and non-parametric methods, and is fast enough to complete a filter-free genome-wide epistasis search in a few days on a standard computer. Analysis of psoriasis data uncovered novel epistatic interactions in the HLA region, corroborating the known major and complex role of the HLA region in psoriasis susceptibility.
Our systematic study revealed the ability of FORCE to uncover novel interactions, highlighted the importance of exhaustiveness, as well as its specificity for certain types of interactions that were not detected by existing approaches. We therefore believe that FORCE is a valuable new tool for decoding the genetic basis of complex diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-015-0174-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Models describing dengue epidemics are parametrized on disease incidence data and therefore high-quality data are essential. For Thailand, two different sources of long-term dengue data are available, the hard copy data from 1980 to 2005, where hospital admission cases were notified, and the electronic files, from 2003 to the present, where clinically classified forms of disease, i.e. dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever, and dengue shock syndrome, are notified using separate files. The official dengue notification data, provided by the Bureau of Epidemiology, Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, were cross-checked with dengue data used in recent publications, where an inexact continuous time-series was observed to be consistently used since 2003, affecting considerably the model dynamics and its correct application. In this paper, numerical analysis and simulation techniques giving insights on predictability are performed to show the effects of model parametrization by using different datasets.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Epidemiology and Infection
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An expert conference on Dengue in Africa was held in Accra, Ghana, in February 2013 to consider key questions regarding the possible expansion of dengue in Africa. Four key action points were highlighted to advance our understanding of the epidemiology of dengue in Africa. First, dengue diagnostic tools must be made more widely available in the healthcare setting in Africa. Second, representative data need to be collected across Africa to uncover the true burden of dengue. Third, established networks should collaborate to produce these types of data. Fourth, policy needs to be informed so the necessary steps can be taken to provide dengue vector control and health services.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Emerging Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dengue is a major international public health concern and the number of outbreaks has escalated greatly. Human migration, international trade and travel are constantly introducing new vectors and pathogens into novel geographic areas. Of particular interest is the extent to which dengue virus (DENV) infections are subclinical or inapparent. Not only may such infections contribute to the global spread of DENV by human migration, but also seroprevalence rates in naïve populations may be initially high despite minimal numbers of detectable clinical cases. As the probability of severe disease is increased in secondary infections, populations may thus be primed, with serious public health consequences following introduction of a new serotype. In addition, pre-existing immunity from inapparent infections may affect vaccine uptake and the ratio of clinically apparent to inapparent infection could affect the interpretation of vaccine trials. We performed a literature search for inapparent DENV infections and provide an analytical review of their frequency and associated risk factors. Inapparent rates were highly variable, but “inapparent” was the major outcome of infection in all prospective studies. Differences in the epidemiological context and type of surveillance account for much of the variability in inapparent infection rates. However, one particular epidemiological pattern was shared by four longitudinal cohort studies: the rate of inapparent DENV infections was positively correlated with the incidence of disease the previous year, strongly supporting an important role for short-term heterotypic immunity in determining the outcome of infection. Primary and secondary infections were equally likely to be inapparent. Knowledge of the extent to which viruses from inapparent infections are transmissible to mosquitoes is urgently needed. Inapparent infections need to be considered for their impact on disease severity, transmission dynamics, and vaccine efficacy and uptake.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Frontiers in Immunology