|Id||Title▲||Authors||Abstract||Picture||Thematic fields||Recommender||Reviewers||Submission date|
27 Feb 2023
African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forestMatthieu Fritz, Berenice Reggiardo, Denis Filloux, Lisa Claude, Emmanuel Fernandez, Frederic Mahe, Simona Kraberger, Joy M. Custer, Pierre Becquart, Telstar Ndong Mebaley, Linda Bohou Kombila, Leadisaelle H. Lenguiya, Larson Boundenga, Illich M. Mombo, Gael Darren Maganga, Fabien R. Niama, Jean-Sylvain Koumba, Mylene Ogliastro, Michel Yvon, Darren Martin, Stephane Blanc, Arvind Varsani, Eric Leroy, Philippe Roumagnac https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.12.13.520061
A groundbreaking study using ants revealed a spectacular diversity of viruses in hardly accessible ecosystems like tropical forestsRecommended by Sebastien Massart based on reviews by Mart Krupovic and 1 anonymous reviewer
Deciphering the virome (the set or assemblage of viruses) of the Earth, from individual organisms to entire ecosystems, has become a key priority. The first step to better understanding the impact of viruses on the ecology and functions of ecosystems is to describe their diversity. Such knowledge opens the gates to a better assessment of global nutrient cycling or of the threat that viruses represent to individual health. This explains the increasing number of pioneering studies that are currently sequencing the complete or partial genome of thousands of new viruses .
In their exciting study, Fritz and collaborators , authors sampled 209 army ants (Genus Dorylus) to investigate the virus diversity in dense forests that researchers cannot easily access. Indeed, these ants live in colonies (21 were sampled) that can move 1 km per day, covering a significant area and attacking many invertebrate and vertebrate preys. Each sample was sequenced by a protocol called VANA sequencing and allowing the enrichment of the sample in viral sequences , so improving the detection of viruses present at low abundance in the ant (and more specifically in its gut for viruses infecting preys).
Around 45,000 contigs presented homologies with bacterial, plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate infecting viruses. Half could be assigned to 56 families and 157 genera of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Beyond this amazing harvest of new and known virus sequences using an original methodology, the results significantly improve the current frontiers of known viral taxonomy and diversity and raise exciting research tracks to expand them.
As a preprint, several blogs or news of leading scientists and journals have already highlighted this study. For example, in the news section of Science magazine, Jon Cohen underlined the originality of the approach for virus hunting on Earth with the title “Armed with air samplers, rope tricks, and—yes—ants, virus hunters spot threats in new ways”. Another example is the mention of the publication by Elisabeth Bik in her Microbiome Digest: she wrote, “An amazing read is a fresh preprint from Fritz and collaborator describing an exciting method of sampling in difficult-to-reach environments“ .
The paper from Fritz et al  thus represents a significant advance in virus ecology, as already recognized by early readers, and this is why I strongly recommend its publication in PCI Infections.
1. Edgar RC, Taylor J, Lin V, Altman T, Barbera P, Meleshko D, Lohr D, Novakovsky G, Buchfink B, Al-Shayeb B, Banfield JF, de la Peña M, Korobeynikov A, Chikhi R, Babaian A (2022) Petabase-scale sequence alignment catalyses viral discovery. Nature, 602, 142–147. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04332-2
2. Fritz M, Reggiardo B, Filloux D, Claude L, Fernandez E, Mahé F, Kraberger S, Custer JM, Becquart P, Mebaley TN, Kombila LB, Lenguiya LH, Boundenga L, Mombo IM, Maganga GD, Niama FR, Koumba J-S, Ogliastro M, Yvon M, Martin DP, Blanc S, Varsani A, Leroy E, Roumagnac P (2023) African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest. bioRxiv, 2022.12.13.520061, ver. 4 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.12.13.520061
3. François S, Filloux D, Fernandez E, Ogliastro M, Roumagnac P (2018) Viral Metagenomics Approaches for High-Resolution Screening of Multiplexed Arthropod and Plant Viral Communities. In: Viral Metagenomics: Methods and Protocols Methods in Molecular Biology. (eds Pantaleo V, Chiumenti M), pp. 77–95. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-7683-6_7
4. Cohen J (2023) Virus hunters test new surveillance tools. Science, 379, 16–17. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.adg5292
5. Ponsero A (2023) February 18th, 2023. Microbiome Digest - Bik’s Picks. https://microbiomedigest.com/2023/02/18/february-18th-2023/
|African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest||Matthieu Fritz, Berenice Reggiardo, Denis Filloux, Lisa Claude, Emmanuel Fernandez, Frederic Mahe, Simona Kraberger, Joy M. Custer, Pierre Becquart, Telstar Ndong Mebaley, Linda Bohou Kombila, Leadisaelle H. Lenguiya, Larson Boundenga, Illich M. M...||<p style="text-align: justify;">In this study, we used a predator-enabled metagenomics strategy to sample the virome of a remote and difficult-to-access densely forested African tropical region. Specifically, we focused our study on the use of arm...||Ecohealth, Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, One Health, Reservoirs, Viruses||Sebastien Massart||2022-12-14 11:57:40||View|
08 Aug 2023
A global Corynebacterium diphtheriae genomic framework sheds light on current diphtheria reemergenceMelanie Hennart, Chiara Crestani, Sebastien Bridel, Nathalie Armatys, Sylvie Brémont, Annick Carmi-Leroy, Annie Landier, Virginie Passet, Laure Fonteneau, Sophie Vaux, Julie Toubiana, Edgar Badell, Sylvain Brisse https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.20.529124
DIPHTOSCAN : A new tool for the genomic surveillance of diphtheriaRecommended by Rodolfo García-Contreras based on reviews by Ankur Mutreja and 2 anonymous reviewers
One of the greatest achievements of health sciences is the eradication of infectious diseases such as smallpox that in the past imposed a severe burden on humankind, through global vaccination campaigns. Moreover, progress towards the eradication of others such as poliomyelitis, dracunculiasis, and yaws is being made.
In contrast, other infections that were previously contained are reemerging, due to several factors, including lack of access to vaccines due to geopolitical reasons, the rise of anti-vaccine movements, and the constant mobility of infected persons from the endemic sites.
One of such disease is diphtheria, caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae and a few other related species such as C. ulcerans and C. pseudotuberculosis. Importantly, in France, diphtheria cases reported in 2022 increased 7-fold from the average of previously recorded cases per year in the previous 4 years and the situation in other European countries is similar.
Hence, as reported here, Hennart et al. (2023) developed DIPHTOSCAN, a free access bioinformatics tool with user-friendly interphase, aimed to easily identify, extract and interpret important genomic features such as the sublineage of the strain, the presence of the tox gene (as a string predictor for toxigenic disease) as well as genes coding other virulence factors such as fimbriae, and the presence of know resistant mechanisms towards antibiotics like penicillin and erythromycin currently used in the clinic to treat this infection.
The authors validated the performance of their tool with a large collection of genomes, including those obtained from the isolates of the 2022 outbreak in France, more than 1,200 other genomes isolated from France, Algeria, and Yemen, and more than 500 genomes from several countries from Europe, America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania that are available through the NCBI site.
DIPHTOSCAN will allow the rapid identification and surveillance of potentially dangerous strains such as those being tox-positive isolates and resistant to multiple drugs and/or first-line treatments and a better understanding of the epidemiology and evolution of this important reemerging disease.
|A global *Corynebacterium diphtheriae* genomic framework sheds light on current diphtheria reemergence||Melanie Hennart, Chiara Crestani, Sebastien Bridel, Nathalie Armatys, Sylvie Brémont, Annick Carmi-Leroy, Annie Landier, Virginie Passet, Laure Fonteneau, Sophie Vaux, Julie Toubiana, Edgar Badell, Sylvain Brisse||<p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Background</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Diphtheria, caused by <em>Corynebacterium diphtheriae</em>, reemerges in Europe since 2022. Genomic sequencing can inform on transmission routes and g...||Drug resistance, tolerance and persistence, Epidemiology, Evolution of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Genomics, functional genomics of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Microbiology of infections, Population genetics of hosts, infectiou...||Rodolfo García-Contreras||Ankur Mutreja||2023-03-09 16:02:27||View|
19 Jul 2023
A soft tick vector of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis) nestsClaire Bonsergent, Marion Vittecoq, Carole Leray, Maggy Jouglin, Marie Buysse, Karen D. McCoy, Laurence Malandrin https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.24.534071
A four-year study reveals the potential role of the soft tick Ornithodoros maritimus in the transmission and circulation of Babesia sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull colonies.Recommended by Thomas Pollet based on reviews by Hélène Jourdan and Tahar Kernif
Worldwide, ticks and tick-borne diseases are a persistent example of problems at the One Health interface between humans, wildlife, and environment (1, 2). The management and prevention of ticks and tick-borne diseases require a better understanding of host, tick and pathogen interactions and thus get a better view of the tick-borne pathosystems.
In this study (3), the tick-borne pathosystem included three component species: first a seabird host, the Yellow-legged gull (YLG - Larus michahellis, Laridae), second a soft nidicolous tick (Ornithodoros maritimus, Argasidae, syn. Alectorobius maritimus) known to infest this host and third a blood parasite (Babesia sp. YLG, Piroplasmidae). In this pathosystem, authors investigated the role of the soft tick, Ornithodoros maritimus, as a potential vector of Babesia sp. YLG. They analyzed the transmission of Babesia sp. YLG by collecting different tick life stages from YLG nests during 4 consecutive years on the islet of Carteau (Gulf of Fos, Camargue, France). Ticks were dissected and organs were analyzed separately to detect the presence of Babesia sp DNA and to evaluate different transmission pathways.
While the authors detected Babesia sp. YLG DNA in the salivary glands of nymphs, females and males, this result reveals a strong suspicion of transmission of the parasite by the soft tick. Babesia sp. YLG DNA was also found in tick ovaries, which could indicate possible transovarial transmission. Finally, the authors detected Babesia sp. YLG DNA in several male testes and in endospermatophores, and notably in a parasite-free female (uninfected ovaries and salivary glands). These last results raise the interesting possibility of sexual transmission from infected males to uninfected females.
As pointed out by both reviewers, this is a nice study, well written and easy to read. All the results are new and allow to better understand the role of the soft tick, Ornithodoros maritimus, as a potential vector of Babesia sp. YLG. They finally question about the degree to which the parasite can be maintained locally by ticks and the epidemiological consequences of infection for both O. maritimus and its avian host. For all these reasons, I chose to recommend this article for Peer Community In Infections.
|A soft tick vector of *Babesia* sp. YLG in Yellow-legged gull (*Larus michahellis*) nests||Claire Bonsergent, Marion Vittecoq, Carole Leray, Maggy Jouglin, Marie Buysse, Karen D. McCoy, Laurence Malandrin||<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Babesia </em>sp. YLG has recently been described in Yellow-legged gull (<em>Larus michahellis</em>) chicks and belongs to the Peircei clade in the new classification of Piroplasms. Here, we studied <em>Babesia <...||Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Eukaryotic pathogens/symbionts, Interactions between hosts and infectious agents/vectors, Parasites, Vectors||Thomas Pollet||2023-03-29 14:33:40||View|
21 Sep 2023
Chikungunya intra-vector dynamics in Aedes albopictus from Lyon (France) upon exposure to a human viremia-like dose range reveals vector barrier permissiveness and supports local epidemic potentialBarbara Viginier, Lucie Cappuccio, Celine Garnier, Edwige Martin, Carine Maisse, Claire Valiente Moro, Guillaume Minard, Albin Fontaine, Sebastian Lequime, Maxime Ratinier, Frederick Arnaud, Vincent Raquin https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.11.06.22281997
Fill in one gap in our understanding of CHIKV intra-vector dynamicsRecommended by Sara Moutailler based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Mosquitoes are first vector of pathogen worldwide and transmit several arbovirus, most of them leading to major outbreaks (1). Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a perfect example of the “explosive type” of arbovirus, as observed in La Réunion Island in 2005-2006 (2-6) and also in the outbreak of 2007 in Italy (7), both vectorized by Ae. albopictus. Being able to better understand CHIKV intra-vector dynamics is still of major interest since not all chikungunya strain are explosive ones (8).
In this study (9), the authors have evaluated the vector competence of a local strain of Aedes albopictus (collected in Lyon, France) for CHIKV. They evaluated infection, dissemination and transmission dynamics of CHIKV using different dose of virus in individual mosquitoes from day 2 to day 20 post exposure, by titration and quantification of CHIKV RNA load in the saliva. As highlighted by both reviewers, the most innovative idea in this study was the use of three different oral doses trying to span human viraemia detected in two published studies (10-11), doses that were estimated through their model of human CHIKV viremia in the blood. They have found that CHIKV dissemination from the Ae. albopictus midgut depends on the interaction between time post-exposure and virus dose (already highlighted by other international publications). Then their results were implemented in the agent-based model nosoi to estimate the epidemic potential of CHIKV in a French population of Ae. albopictus, using realistic vectorial capacity parameters.
To conclude, the authors have discussed the importance of other parameters that could influence vector competence as mosquito microbiota and temperature, parameters that need also to be estimated in local mosquito population to improve the risk assessment through modelling.
As pointed out by both reviewers, this is a nice study, well written and easy to read. These results allow filling in another gap of our understanding of CHIKV intra-vector dynamics and highlight the epidemic potential of CHIKV upon transmission by Aedes albopictus in mainland France. For all these reasons, I chose to recommend this article for Peer Community In Infections.
1. Marine Viglietta, Rachel Bellone, Adrien Albert Blisnick, Anna-Bella Failloux. (2021). Vector Specificity of Arbovirus Transmission. Front Microbiol Dec 9;12:773211. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.773211
2. Schuffenecker I, Iteman I, Michault A, Murri S, Frangeul L, Vaney M-C, Lavenir R, Pardigon N, Reynes J-M, Pettinelli F, Biscornet L, Diancourt L, Michel S, Duquerroy S, Guigon G, Frenkiel M-P, Bréhin A-C, Cubito N, Desprès P, Kunst F, Rey FA, Zeller H, Brisse S. (2006). Genome Microevolution of Chikungunya viruses Causing the Indian Ocean Outbreak. 2006. PLoS Medicine, 3, e263. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030263
3. Bonilauri P, Bellini R, Calzolari M, Angelini R, Venturi L, Fallacara F, Cordioli P, 687 Angelini P, Venturelli C, Merialdi G, Dottori M. (2008). Chikungunya Virus in Aedes albopictus, Italy. Emerging Infectious 689 Diseases, 14, 852–854. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1405.071144
4. Pagès F, Peyrefitte CN, Mve MT, Jarjaval F, Brisse S, Iteman I, Gravier P, Tolou H, Nkoghe D, Grandadam M. (2009). Aedes albopictus Mosquito: The Main Vector of the 2007 Chikungunya Outbreak in Gabon. PLoS ONE, 4, e4691. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0004691
5. Paupy C, Kassa FK, Caron M, Nkoghé D, Leroy EM (2012) A Chikungunya Outbreak Associated with the Vector Aedes albopictus in Remote Villages of Gabon. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 12, 167–169. https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2011.0736
6. Mombouli J-V, Bitsindou P, Elion DOA, Grolla A, Feldmann H, Niama FR, Parra H-J, Munster VJ. (2013). Chikungunya Virus Infection, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 2011. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19, 1542–1543. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1909.130451
7. Venturi G, Luca MD, Fortuna C, Remoli ME, Riccardo F, Severini F, Toma L, Manso MD, Benedetti E, Caporali MG, Amendola A, Fiorentini C, Liberato CD, Giammattei R, Romi R, Pezzotti P, Rezza G, Rizzo C. (2017). Detection of a chikungunya outbreak in Central Italy, August to September 2017. Eurosurveillance, 22, 17–00646. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.es.2017.22.39.17-00646
8. de Lima Cavalcanti, T.Y.V.; Pereira, M.R.; de Paula, S.O.; Franca, R.F.d.O. (2022). A Review on Chikungunya Virus Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Current Vaccine Development. Viruses 2022, 14, 969. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14050969
9. Barbara Viginier, Lucie Cappuccio, Celine Garnier, Edwige Martin, Carine Maisse, Claire Valiente Moro, Guillaume Minard, Albin Fontaine, Sebastian Lequime, Maxime Ratinier, Frederick Arnaud, Vincent Raquin. (2023). Chikungunya intra-vector dynamics in Aedes albopictus from Lyon (France) upon exposure to a human viremia-like dose range reveals vector barrier permissiveness and supports local epidemic potential. medRxiv, ver.3, peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.11.06.22281997
10. Appassakij H, Khuntikij P, Kemapunmanus M, Wutthanarungsan R, Silpapojakul K (2013) Viremic profiles in CHIKV-infected cases. Transfusion, 53, 2567–2574. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03960.x
11. Riswari SF, Ma’roef CN, Djauhari H, Kosasih H, Perkasa A, Yudhaputri FA, Artika IM, Williams M, Ven A van der, Myint KS, Alisjahbana B, Ledermann JP, Powers AM, Jaya UA (2015) Study of viremic profile in febrile specimens of chikungunya in Bandung, Indonesia. Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, 74, 61–5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2015.11.017
|Chikungunya intra-vector dynamics in *Aedes albopictus* from Lyon (France) upon exposure to a human viremia-like dose range reveals vector barrier permissiveness and supports local epidemic potential||Barbara Viginier, Lucie Cappuccio, Celine Garnier, Edwige Martin, Carine Maisse, Claire Valiente Moro, Guillaume Minard, Albin Fontaine, Sebastian Lequime, Maxime Ratinier, Frederick Arnaud, Vincent Raquin||<p>Arbovirus emergence and epidemic potential, as approximated by the vectorial capacity formula, depends on host and vector parameters, including the vector intrinsic ability to replicate then transmit the pathogen known as vector competence. Vec...||Epidemiology, Vectors, Viruses||Sara Moutailler||2023-06-17 15:59:17||View|
28 Oct 2022
Development of nine microsatellite loci for Trypanosoma lewisi, a potential human pathogen in Western Africa and South-East Asia, and preliminary population genetics analysesAdeline Ségard, Audrey Romero, Sophie Ravel, Philippe Truc, Gauthier Dobigny, Philippe Gauthier, Jonas Etougbetche, Henri-Joel Dossou, Sylvestre Badou, Gualbert Houéménou, Serge Morand, Kittipong Chaisiri, Camille Noûs, Thierry deMeeûs https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6460010
Preliminary population genetic analysis of Trypanosoma lewisiRecommended by Annette MacLeod based on reviews by Gabriele Schönian and 1 anonymous reviewer
Trypanosoma lewisi is an atypical trypanosome species. Transmitted by fleas, it has a high prevalence and worldwide distribution in small mammals, especially rats . Although not typically thought to infect humans, there has been a number of reports of human infections by T. lewisi in Asia including a case of a fatal infection in an infant . The fact that the parasite is resistant to lysis by normal human serum  suggests that many people, especially immunocompromised individuals, may be at risk from zoonotic infections by this pathogen, particularly in regions where there is close contact with T. lewisi-infected rat fleas. Indeed, it is also possible that cryptic T. lewisi infections exist but have hitherto gone undetected. Such asymptomatic infections have been detected for a number of parasitic infections including the related parasite T. b. gambiense .
 Truc P, Büscher P, Cuny G, Gonzatti MI, Jannin J, Joshi P, Juyal P, Lun Z-R, Mattioli R, Pays E, Simarro PP, Teixeira MMG, Touratier L, Vincendeau P, Desquesnes M (2013) Atypical Human Infections by Animal Trypanosomes. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7, e2256. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002256
 Lun Z-R, Wen Y-Z, Uzureau P, Lecordier L, Lai D-H, Lan Y-G, Desquesnes M, Geng G-Q, Yang T-B, Zhou W-L, Jannin JG, Simarro PP, Truc P, Vincendeau P, Pays E (2015) Resistance to normal human serum reveals Trypanosoma lewisi as an underestimated human pathogen. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 199, 58–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2015.03.007
 Büscher P, Bart J-M, Boelaert M, Bucheton B, Cecchi G, Chitnis N, Courtin D, Figueiredo LM, Franco J-R, Grébaut P, Hasker E, Ilboudo H, Jamonneau V, Koffi M, Lejon V, MacLeod A, Masumu J, Matovu E, Mattioli R, Noyes H, Picado A, Rock KS, Rotureau B, Simo G, Thévenon S, Trindade S, Truc P, Reet NV (2018) Do Cryptic Reservoirs Threaten Gambiense-Sleeping Sickness Elimination? Trends in Parasitology, 34, 197–207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2017.11.008
 Ségard A, Roméro A, Ravel S, Truc P, Gauthier D, Gauthier P, Dossou H-J, Sylvestre B, Houéménou G, Morand S, Chaisiri K, Noûs C, De Meeûs T (2022) Development of nine microsatellite loci for Trypanosoma lewisi, a potential human pathogen in Western Africa and South-East Asia, and preliminary population genetics analyses. Zenodo, 6460010, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6460010
|Development of nine microsatellite loci for Trypanosoma lewisi, a potential human pathogen in Western Africa and South-East Asia, and preliminary population genetics analyses||Adeline Ségard, Audrey Romero, Sophie Ravel, Philippe Truc, Gauthier Dobigny, Philippe Gauthier, Jonas Etougbetche, Henri-Joel Dossou, Sylvestre Badou, Gualbert Houéménou, Serge Morand, Kittipong Chaisiri, Camille Noûs, Thierry deMeeûs||<p><em>Trypanosoma lewisi</em> belongs to the so-called atypical trypanosomes that occasionally affect humans. It shares the same hosts and flea vector of other medically relevant pathogenic agents as Yersinia pestis, the agent of plague. Increasi...||Animal diseases, Disease Ecology/Evolution, Ecology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Eukaryotic pathogens/symbionts, Evolution of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Microbiology of infections, Parasites, Population genetics of hosts, in...||Annette MacLeod||2022-04-21 17:04:37||View|
14 Nov 2022
Ehrlichia ruminantium uses its transmembrane protein Ape to adhere to host bovine aortic endothelial cellsValérie Pinarello, Elena Bencurova, Isabel Marcelino, Olivier Gros, Carinne Puech, Mangesh Bhide, Nathalie Vachiery, Damien F. Meyer https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.15.447525
Adhesion process of Ehrlichia ruminantium to its host cell: the role of the protein ERGACDS01230 elucidatedRecommended by Thomas Pollet based on reviews by Rodolfo García-Contreras and Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz
As recently reported by the world organisation for animal health, 60% of infectious diseases are zoonotic with a significant part associated to ticks. Ticks can transmit various pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Among pathogens known to be transmitted by ticks, Ehrlichia ruminantium is an obligate intracellular Gram-negative bacterium responsible for the fatal heartwater disease of domestic and wild ruminants (Allsopp, 2010). E. ruminantium is transmitted by ticks of the genus Amblyomma in the tropical and sub-Saharan areas, as well as in the Caribbean islands. It constitutes a major threat for the American livestock industries since a suitable tick vector is already present in the American mainland and potential introduction of infected A. variegatum through migratory birds or uncontrolled movement of animals from Caribbean could occur (i.e. Deem, 1998 ; Kasari et al 2010). The disease is also a major obstacle to the introduction of animals from heartwater-free to heartwater-infected areas into sub-Saharan Africa and thus restrains breeding programs aiming at upgrading local stocks (Allsopp, 2010).
In this context, it is essential to develop control strategies against heartwater, as developing effective vaccines, for instance. Such an objective requires a better understanding of the early interaction of E. ruminantium and its host cells and of the mechanisms associated with bacterial adhesion to the host-cell. In this study, the authors. studied the role of E. ruminantium membrane protein ERGA_CDS_01230 in the adhesion process to host bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC).
After successfully producing the recombinant version of the protein, Pinarello et al (2022) followed the in vitro culture of E. ruminantium in BAEC and observed that the expression of the protein peaked at the extracellular infectious elementary body stages. This result would suggest the likely involvement of the protein in the early interaction of E. ruminantium with its host cells. The authors then showed using flow cytometry, and scanning electron microscopy, that beads coated with the recombinant protein adhered to BAEC. In addition, they also observed that the adhesion protein of E. ruminantium interacted with proteins of the cell's lysate, membrane and organelle fractions. Additionally, enzymatic treatment, degrading dermatan and chondroitin sulfates on the surface of BAEC, was associated with a 50% reduction in the number of bacteria in the host cell after a development cycle, indicating that glycosaminoglycans might play a role in the adhesion of E. ruminantium to the host-cell. Finally, the authors observed that the adhesion protein of E. ruminantium induced a humoral response in vaccinated animals, making this protein a possible vaccine candidate.
As rightly pointed out by both reviewers, the results of this study represent a significant advance (i) in the understanding of the role of the E. ruminantium membrane protein ERGA_CDS_01230 in the adhesion process to the host-cell and (ii) in the development of new control strategies against heartwater as this protein might potentially be used as an immunogen for the development of future vaccines.
Allsopp, B.A. (2010). Natural history of Ehrlichia ruminantium. Vet Parasitol 167, 123-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.09.014
Deem, S.L. (1998). A review of heartwater and the threat of introduction of Cowdria ruminantium and Amblyomma spp. ticks to the American mainland. J Zoo Wildl Med 29, 109-113.
Kasari, T.R. et al (2010). Recognition of the threat of Ehrlichia ruminantium infection in domestic and wild ruminants in the continental United States. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 237:520-30. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.237.5.520
Pinarello V, Bencurova E, Marcelino I, Gros O, Puech C, Bhide M, Vachiery N, Meyer DF (2022) Ehrlichia ruminantium uses its transmembrane protein Ape to adhere to host bovine aortic endothelial cells. bioRxiv, 2021.06.15.447525, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.15.447525
|*Ehrlichia ruminantium* uses its transmembrane protein Ape to adhere to host bovine aortic endothelial cells||Valérie Pinarello, Elena Bencurova, Isabel Marcelino, Olivier Gros, Carinne Puech, Mangesh Bhide, Nathalie Vachiery, Damien F. Meyer||<p><em>Ehrlichia ruminantium</em> is an obligate intracellular bacterium, transmitted by ticks of the genus <em>Amblyomma</em> and responsible for heartwater, a disease of domestic and wild ruminants. High genetic diversity of <em>E. ruminantium</...||Interactions between hosts and infectious agents/vectors, Microbiology of infections||Thomas Pollet||Rodolfo García-Contreras, Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz||2021-10-14 16:54:54||View|
06 Apr 2023
Evolution within a given virulence phenotype (pathotype) is driven by changes in aggressiveness: a case study of French wheat leaf rust populationsCécilia FONTYN, Kevin JG MEYER, Anne-Lise BOIXEL, Ghislain DELESTRE, Emma PIAGET, Corentin PICARD, Frédéric SUFFERT, Thierry C MARCEL, Henriette GOYEAU https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.08.29.505401
Changes in aggressiveness in pathotypes of wheat leaf rustRecommended by Pierre Gladieux based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Understanding the ecological and evolutionary factors underlying the spread of new fungal pathogen populations can inform the development of more effective management strategies. In plant pathology, pathogenicity is generally presented as having two components: ‘virulence’ (qualitative pathogenicity) and aggressiveness (quantitative pathogenicity). Changes in virulence in response to the deployment of new resistant varieties are a major driver of the spread of new populations (called pathotypes, or races) in modern agrosystems, and the genomic (i.e. proximal) and eco-evolutionary (i.e. ultimate) factors underlying these changes are well-documented [1,2,3]. By contrast, the role of changes in aggressiveness in the spread of pathotypes remains little known .
The study by Cécilia Fontyn and collaborators  set out to characterize changes in aggressiveness for isolates of two pathotypes of the wheat leaf rust (Puccinia triticina) that have been dominant in France during the 2005-2016 period. Isolates were genetically characterized using multilocus microsatellite typing and phenotypically characterized for three components of aggressiveness on wheat varieties: infection efficiency, latency period, and sporulation capacity. Using experiments that represent quite a remarkable amount of work and effort, Fontyn et al. showed that each dominant pathotype consisted of several genotypes, including common genotypes whose frequency changed over time. For each pathotype, the genotypes that were more common initially were replaced by a more aggressive genotype. Together, these results show that changes in the genetic composition of populations of fungal plant pathogens can be associated with, and may be caused by, changes in the quantitative components of pathogenicity. This study also illustrates how extensive, decade-long monitoring of fungal pathogen populations, such as the one conducted for wheat leaf rust in France, represents a very valuable resource for research.
 Brown, J. K. (1994). Chance and selection in the evolution of barley mildew. Trends in Microbiology, 2(12), 470-475. https://doi.org/10.1016/0966-842x(94)90650-5
 Daverdin, G., Rouxel, T., Gout, L., Aubertot, J. N., Fudal, I., Meyer, M., Parlange, F., Carpezat, J., & Balesdent, M. H. (2012). Genome structure and reproductive behaviour influence the evolutionary potential of a fungal phytopathogen. PLoS Pathogens, 8(11), e1003020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003020
 Gladieux, P., Feurtey, A., Hood, M. E., Snirc, A., Clavel, J., Dutech, C., Roy, M., & Giraud, T. (2015). The population biology of fungal invasions.Molecular Ecology, 24(9), 1969-86. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.13028
 Fontyn, C., Zippert, A. C., Delestre, G., Marcel, T. C., Suffert, F., & Goyeau, H. (2022). Is virulence phenotype evolution driven exclusively by Lr gene deployment in French Puccinia triticina populations?. Plant Pathology, 71(7), 1511-1524. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppa.13599
 Fontyn, C., Meyer, K. J., Boixel, A. L., Delestre, G., Piaget, E., Picard, C., Suffer, F., Marcel, T.C., & Goyeau, H. (2022). Evolution within a given virulence phenotype (pathotype) is driven by changes in aggressiveness: a case study of French wheat leaf rust populations. bioRxiv, 2022.08.29.505401, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.08.29.505401
|Evolution within a given virulence phenotype (pathotype) is driven by changes in aggressiveness: a case study of French wheat leaf rust populations||Cécilia FONTYN, Kevin JG MEYER, Anne-Lise BOIXEL, Ghislain DELESTRE, Emma PIAGET, Corentin PICARD, Frédéric SUFFERT, Thierry C MARCEL, Henriette GOYEAU||<p style="text-align: justify;">Plant pathogens are constantly evolving and adapting to their environment, including their host. Virulence alleles emerge, and then increase, and sometimes decrease in frequency within pathogen populations in respon...||Coevolution, Epidemiology, Evolution of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Interactions between hosts and infectious agents/vectors, Pathogenic/Symbiotic Fungi, Phytopathology, Plant diseases, Population dynamics of hosts, infectious agents, or...||Pierre Gladieux||, Jacqui Shykoff, ,||2022-09-29 20:01:57||View|
07 Oct 2022
Guidelines for the reliable use of high throughput sequencing technologies to detect plant pathogens and pestsS. Massart, I. Adams, M. Al Rwahnih, S. Baeyen, G. J. Bilodeau, A. G. Blouin, N. Boonham, T. Candresse, A. Chandelier, K. De Jonghe, A. Fox, Y.Z.A. Gaafar, P. Gentit, A. Haegeman, W. Ho, O. Hurtado-Gonzales, W. Jonkers, J. Kreuze, D. Kutjnak, B. B. Landa, M. Liu, F. Maclot, M. Malapi-Wight, H. J. Maree, F. Martoni, N. Mehle, A. Minafra, D. Mollov, A. G. Moreira, M. Nakhla, F. Petter, A.M. Piper, J. P. Ponchart, R. Rae, B. Remenant, Y. Rivera, B. Rodoni, M. Botermans, J.W. Roenhorst, J. Rollin , ... https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7142136
High-throughput sequencing for the diagnostic of plant pathologies and identification of pests: recommendations and challengesRecommended by Olivier Schumpp based on reviews by Denise Altenbach and David Roquis
High-throughput sequencing (HTS) has revealed an incredible diversity of microorganisms in ecosystems and is also changing the monitoring of macroorganism biodiversity (Deiner et al. 2017; Piper et al. 2019).
The diagnostic of plant pathogens and the identification of pests is gradually integrating the use of these techniques, but there are still obstacles. Most of them are related to the reliability of these analyses, which have long been considered insufficient because of their dependence on a succession of sophisticated operations involving parameters that are sometimes difficult to adapt to complex matrices or certain diagnostic contexts. The need to validate HTS approaches is gradually being highlighted in recent work but remains poorly documented (Bester et al. 2022).
In this paper, a large community of experts presents and discusses the key steps for optimal control of HTS performance and reliability in a diagnostic context (Massart et al. 2022). It also addresses the issue of costs. The article provides recommendations that closely combine the quality control requirements commonly used in conventional diagnostics with newer or HTS-specific control elements and concepts that are not yet widely used. It discusses the value of these for the use of the various techniques currently covered by the terms "High Throughput Sequencing" in diagnostic activities. The elements presented are intended to limit false positive or false negative results but will also optimise the interpretation of contentious results close to the limits of analytical sensitivity or unexpected results, both of which appear to be frequent when using HTS.
Furthermore, the need for risk analysis, verification and validation of methods is well illustrated with numerous examples for each of the steps considered crucial to ensure reliable use of HTS. The clear contextualisation of the proposals made by the authors complements and clarifies the need for user expertise according to the experimental objectives. Some unanswered questions that will require further development and validation are also presented.
This article should benefit a large audience including researchers with some level of expertise in HTS but unfamiliar with the recent concepts of controls common in the diagnostic world as well as scientists with strong diagnostic expertise but less at ease with the numerous and complex procedures associated with HTS.
Bester R, Steyn C, Breytenbach JHJ, de Bruyn R, Cook G, Maree HJ (2022) Reproducibility and Sensitivity of High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS)-Based Detection of Citrus Tristeza Virus and Three Citrus Viroids. Plants, 11, 1939. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11151939
Deiner K, Bik HM, Mächler E, Seymour M, Lacoursière-Roussel A, Altermatt F, Creer S, Bista I, Lodge DM, de Vere N, Pfrender ME, Bernatchez L (2017) Environmental DNA metabarcoding: Transforming how we survey animal and plant communities. Molecular Ecology, 26, 5872–5895. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14350
Massart, S et al. (2022) Guidelines for the reliable use of high throughput sequencing technologies to detect plant pathogens and pests. Zenodo, 6637519, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6637519
Piper AM, Batovska J, Cogan NOI, Weiss J, Cunningham JP, Rodoni BC, Blacket MJ (2019) Prospects and challenges of implementing DNA metabarcoding for high-throughput insect surveillance. GigaScience, 8, giz092. https://doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giz092
|Guidelines for the reliable use of high throughput sequencing technologies to detect plant pathogens and pests||S. Massart, I. Adams, M. Al Rwahnih, S. Baeyen, G. J. Bilodeau, A. G. Blouin, N. Boonham, T. Candresse, A. Chandelier, K. De Jonghe, A. Fox, Y.Z.A. Gaafar, P. Gentit, A. Haegeman, W. Ho, O. Hurtado-Gonzales, W. Jonkers, J. Kreuze, D. Kutjnak, B. B...||<p style="text-align: justify;">High-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies have the potential to become one of the most significant advances in molecular diagnostics. Their use by researchers to detect and characterize plant pathogens and pests...||Diagnosis, Pest management, Phytopathology, Plant diseases||Olivier Schumpp||2022-06-13 11:26:18||View|
28 Sep 2023
Influence of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the tick Ornithodoros moubataTaraveau Florian, Pollet Thomas, Duhayon Maxime, Gardès Laëtitia, Jourdan-Pineau Hélène https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.05.09.539061
The cost of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubataRecommended by Angélique Gobet based on reviews by Luciana Raggi Hoyos and Tuomas Aivelo
Ticks are amongst the most important pathogen vectors in medical and veterinary clinical settings worldwide (Dantas-Torres et al., 2012). Like other holobionts, ticks live in association with a diverse microbiota. It includes tick-borne pathogens (TBP) and other microorganisms that have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the physiology of the host and can also affect the transmission of TBP to animals or humans. In this microbiota, primary endosymbionts, which are obligatory and inheritable, play a role in tick reproduction, the host defense and adaptation to varying environmental conditions (Duron et al., 2018). However, the effect of the microbiota structure and of the endosymbionts on tick fitness and reproduction is not well known. The soft tick Ornithodoros moubata, a parasite known to transmit African swine fever virus (Vial, 2009), is known to host Francisella-like and Rickettsia endosymbionts (Duron et al., 2018). These endosymbionts carry genes involved in B vitamin synthesis which may be supplemented to the host (Bonnet & Pollet, 2021).
Here, the authors investigated the role of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of Ornithodoros moubata by conducting two experiments (Taraveau et al., 2023). First, they tested the effect of antibiotic treatment of 366 first-stage nymphs on the main endosymbionts Francisella-like and Rickettsia, and measured the endosymbionts presence overtime by qPCR. Second, they surveyed the effect of antibiotic treatment with or without the addition of B vitamins on the survival and reproductive fitness of 132 females over 50 days. This second experiment intended to identify whether the endosymbionts have an effect on the host reproduction or on its nutrition. The supplementation of B vitamin did not have a drastic effect on tick fitness or reproductive traits. However, antibiotic treatments reduced the presence of endosymbionts while increasing tick survival, suggesting a potential cost of hosting endosymbionts on the tick fitness.
The authors did a lot of work to thoroughly follow the propositions from Dr Raggi, Dr Aivelo and myself to reconstruct and to revise the manuscript. I believe that the manuscript now reads very well and the answers to the reviews also add some value to the manuscript. As Dr Aivelo pointed out, “this study follows the traditional path of so-called population perturbation studies, where ecologists have administered antibiotics or antihelminths to different animals and seen how the community changes and what effects this has on the host fitness and survival”. As both reviewers stated, results from this study are valuable and provide important basic knowledge that will likely help conduct future experiments on tick microbiota. This recommendation is the result of the thorough reviewing work of Dr Aivelo and Dr Raggi which I warmly thank.
Bonnet, S. I., & Pollet, T. (2021). Update on the intricate tango between tick microbiomes and tick‐borne pathogens. Parasite Immunology, 43(5), e12813. https://doi.org/10.1111/pim.12813
Dantas-Torres, F., Chomel, B. B., & Otranto, D. (2012). Ticks and tick-borne diseases: A One Health perspective. Trends in Parasitology, 28(10), 437–446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2012.07.003
Duron, O., Morel, O., Noël, V., Buysse, M., Binetruy, F., Lancelot, R., Loire, E., Ménard, C., Bouchez, O., Vavre, F., & Vial, L. (2018). Tick-Bacteria Mutualism Depends on B Vitamin Synthesis Pathways. Current Biology, 28(12), 1896-1902.e5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.038
Taraveau, F., Pollet, T., Duhayon, M., Gardès, L., & Jourdan-Pineau, H. (2023). Influence of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the tick Ornithodoros moubata. bioRxiv, ver.3, peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.05.09.539061
Vial, L. (2009). Biological and ecological characteristics of soft ticks (Ixodida: Argasidae) and their impact for predicting tick and associated disease distribution. Parasite, 16(3), 191–202. https://doi.org/10.1051/parasite/2009163191
|Influence of endosymbionts on the reproductive fitness of the tick *Ornithodoros moubata*||Taraveau Florian, Pollet Thomas, Duhayon Maxime, Gardès Laëtitia, Jourdan-Pineau Hélène||<p style="text-align: justify;">Over the past decade, many studies have demonstrated the crucial role of the tick microbiome in tick biology. The soft tick <em>Ornithodoros moubata</em> is a hematophagous ectoparasite of <em>Suidae</em>, best know...||Mutualistic symbionts, Parasites, Pathogenic/Symbiotic Bacteria, Physiology of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Vectors||Angélique Gobet||2023-05-25 19:00:33||View|
03 Nov 2023
Longitudinal Survey of Astrovirus infection in different bat species in Zimbabwe: Evidence of high genetic Astrovirus diversityVimbiso Chidoti, Helene De Nys, Malika Abdi, Getrudre Mashura, Valerie Pinarello, Ngoni Chiweshe, Gift Matope, Laure Guerrini, Davies Pfulenyi, Julien Cappelle, Ellen Mwandiringana, Dorothee Misse, Gori Elizabeth, Mathieu Bourgarel, Florian Liegeois https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.04.14.536987
High diversity and evidence for inter-species transmission in astroviruses surveyed from bats in ZibabwaeRecommended by Tim James based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Most infectious diseases of humans are zoonoses, and many of these come from particularly species diverse reservoir taxa, such as bats, birds, and rodents (1). Because of our changing landscape, there is increased exposure of humans to wildlife diseases reservoirs, yet we have little basic information about prevalence, hotspots, and transmission factors of most zoonotic pathogens. Viruses are particularly worrisome as a public health risk due to their fast mutation rates and well-known cross-species transmission abilities. There is a global push to better survey wildlife for viruses (2), but these studies are difficult, and the problem is vast. Astroviruses (AstVs) comprise a diverse family of ssRNA viruses known from mammals and birds. Astroviruses can cause gastroenteritis in humans and are more common in elderly and young children, but the relationship of human to non-human Astroviridae as well as transmission routes are unclear. AstVs have been detected at high prevalence in bats in multiple studies (3,4), but it is unclear what factors, such as co-infecting viruses and bat reproductive phenology, influence viral shedding and prevalence.
1. Mollentze N, Streicker DG. Viral zoonotic risk is homogenous among taxonomic orders of mammalian and avian reservoir hosts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020 Apr 28;117(17):9423-30. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919176117
|Longitudinal Survey of Astrovirus infection in different bat species in Zimbabwe: Evidence of high genetic Astrovirus diversity||Vimbiso Chidoti, Helene De Nys, Malika Abdi, Getrudre Mashura, Valerie Pinarello, Ngoni Chiweshe, Gift Matope, Laure Guerrini, Davies Pfulenyi, Julien Cappelle, Ellen Mwandiringana, Dorothee Misse, Gori Elizabeth, Mathieu Bourgarel, Florian Liegeois||<p>Astroviruses (AstVs) have been discovered in over 80 animal species including diverse bat species and avian species. A study on Astrovirus circulation and diversity in different insectivorous and frugivorous chiropteran species roosting in tree...||Animal diseases, Epidemiology, Molecular genetics of hosts, infectious agents, or vectors, Reservoirs, Viruses, Zoonoses||Tim James||2023-04-18 14:58:43||View|