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Nayak, A., Schüler, W., Seidel, S., Gomez, I., Meinke, A., Comstedt, P., Lundberg, U.
The development of vaccines for prevention of diseases caused by pathogenic species can encounter major obstacles if high sequence diversity is observed between individual strains. Therefore, the development might be restricted either to conserved antigens, which often are rare, or to multivalent vaccines, which renders the production more costly and cumbersome. In light of this complexity, we applied a structure-based surface shaping approach for the development of a Lyme borreliosis (LB) vaccine suitable for the USA and Europe. The surface of the C-terminal fragment of outer surface protein A (OspA) was divided into distinct regions mainly based on binding sites of monoclonal antibodies. In order to target the six clinically most relevant OspA serotypes (ST) in a single protein, exposed amino acids of the individual regions were exchanged to corresponding amino acids of a chosen OspA serotype. Six chimeric proteins were constructed and based on their immunogenicity four of these chimeras were tested in mouse challenge models. Significant protection could be demonstrated for all four proteins following challenge with infected ticks (OspA ST1, OspA ST2, and OspA ST4), as well as with in vitro grown spirochetes (OspA ST1 and OspA ST5). Two of the chimeric proteins were linked to form a fusion protein, which provided significant protection against in vitro grown spirochetes (OspA ST1) and infected ticks (OspA ST2). This article presents the proof-of-concept study for a multivalent OspA vaccine targeting a wide range of pathogenic LB Borrelia species with a single recombinant antigen for prevention of Lyme borreliosis.
Célia Scherelle Boumbanda Koyo, Sandrine Lydie Oyegue-Liabagui, Oleg Mediannikov, Sébastien Cortaredona, Lady Charlene Kouna, Didier Raoult, Jean Bernard Lekana-Douki and Florence Fenollar
The epidemiology of febrile illness etiologies is under-explored in resource-poor settings. Establishing a local repertory of microorganisms circulating in blood of febrile and afebrile people is important for physicians. Blood was collected from 428 febrile and 88 afebrile children in Makokou (Gabon) and analyzed using polymerase chain reaction. Plasmodium spp. were the pathogens, which were most detected in febrile children (69.6%; 298/428) and in afebrile children (31.8%; 28/88) (P < 0.0001). Plasmodium falciparum was the most prevalent species in both febrile and afebrile children (66.8% and 27.3%, respectively). No differences were observed between febrile and afebrile children for Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale (8.2% versus 10.2% and 3.3% versus 3.4%, respectively). Triple infection with P. falciparum, P. malariae, and P. ovale was also detected in 1% of febrile children (4/428). Filariasis due to Mansonella perstans was detected in 10 febrile patients (2.3%), whereas Loa loa was detected in both febrile and afebrile children (1.4% and 2.3%, respectively). Bacterial DNA was detected in only 4.4% (19/428) of febrile children, including 13 (68.4%) who were coinfected with at least one Plasmodium species. These were Haemophilus influenzae (1.6%, 7/428), Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus (1.2%, 5/428), and Rickettsia felis (0.9%, 4/428). Coxiella burnetii, Bartonella spp., Borrelia spp., Tropheryma whipplei, Anaplasma spp., Leptospira spp., Streptococcus pyogenes, and Salmonella spp. were not detected. This study also highlights the over-prescription and the overuse of antibiotics and antimalarials. Overall, malaria remains a major health problem in Makokou. Malaria control measures must be reconsidered in this region.
Ndeye Safietou Fall, Nafissatou Diagne, Oleg Mediannikov, Florence Fenollar, Philippe Parola, Cheikh Sokhna, Didier Raoult, Jean-Christophe Lagier
Kristin Boardman, Kyle Rosenke, David Safronetz, Heinz Feldmann and Tom G. Schwan
African multimammate rats, Mastomys natalensis, are widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and live in close association with humans. In West Africa, numerous field studies have shown these animals may be naturally infected with the relapsing fever spirochete Borrelia crocidurae, the primary cause of tick-borne relapsing fever in this region of the continent. However, naturally infected individual rats have never been examined over time; therefore, the true host competency of these rats for this spirochete is unknown. Therefore, using animals from an established laboratory colony of M. natalensis, rats were experimentally infected with B. crocidurae and their blood examined to 28 days postinoculation. These animals were highly susceptible to infection and displayed prolonged and cyclic spirochetemias. Our results demonstrate these peridomestic rodents are likely competent hosts for infecting argasid tick vectors and play a primary role in the enzootic cycle for B. crocidurae in West Africa.
Bista S, Singh P, Bernard Q, et al.
AbstractBorrelia burgdorferi conserved gene-products BB0406 and BB0405, members of a common B. burgdorferi paralogous gene family, share 59% similarity. While both gene-products can function as potential porins, only BB0405 is essential for infection. Here we show that, despite sequence homology and co-expression from the same operon, both proteins differ in their membrane localization attributes, antibody accessibility, and immunogenicity in mice. BB0406 is required for spirochete survival in mammalian hosts, particularly for the disseminated infection in distant organs. We identified that BB0406 interacts with laminin, one of the major constituents of the vascular basement membrane, and facilitates spirochete transmigration across host endothelial cell barriers. A better understanding of how B. burgdorferi transmigrates through dermal and tissue vascular barriers and establishes disseminated infections will contribute to the development of novel therapeutics to combat early infection.
Gomes-Solecki M, Arnaboldi P, Backenson P, et al.
AbstractLyme disease, caused by some Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is the most common tick-borne illness in the Northern Hemisphere and the number of cases, and geographic spread, continue to grow. Previously identified B. burgdorferi proteins, lipid immunogens, and live mutants lead the design of canonical vaccines aimed at disrupting infection in the host. Discovery of the mechanism of action of the first vaccine catalyzed the development of new strategies to control Lyme disease that bypassed direct vaccination of the human host. Thus, novel prevention concepts center on proteins produced by B. burgdorferi during tick transit and on tick proteins that mediate feeding and pathogen transmission. A burgeoning area of research is tick immunity as it can unlock mechanistic pathways that could be targeted for disruption. Studies that shed light on the mammalian immune pathways engaged during tick-transmitted B. burgdorferi infection would further development of vaccination strategies against Lyme disease.
The aim of the study is to assess anti-Coxiella burnetii antibodies presence in inhabitants of north-eastern Poland, to assess the risk of Q fever after tick bite and to assess the percentage of co-infection with other pathogens.
The serological study included 164 foresters and farmers with a history of tick bite. The molecular study included 540 patients, hospitalized because of various symptoms after tick bite. The control group consisted of 20 honorary blood donors. Anti-Coxiella burnetii antibodies titers were determined by Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) Phase 1 IgG ELISA (DRG International Inc. USA). PCR was performed to detect DNA of C. burnetii, Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
Anti-C. burnetii IgG was detected in six foresters (7.3%). All foresters with the anti-C. burnetii IgG presence were positive toward anti-B. burgdorferi IgG and anti-TBE (tick-borne encephalitis). Anti-C. burnetii IgG was detected in five farmers (6%). Four farmers with anti-C. burnetii IgG presence were positive toward anti-B. burgdorferi IgG and two with anti-TBE. Among them one was co-infected with B. burgdorferi and TBEV. Correlations between anti-C. burnetii IgG and anti-B. burgdorferi IgG presence and between anti-C. burnetii IgG presence and symptoms of Lyme disease were observed. C. burnetii DNA was not detected in any of the 540 (0%) patients.
C. burnetii is rarely transmitted by ticks, but we proved that it is present in the environment, so it may be a danger to humans. The most common co-occurrence after tick bite concerns C. burnetii and B. burgdorferi.
A. J. Henningsson et al.
Lyme borreliosis (LB) is a tick-borne disease caused by spirochetes belonging to the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato species. Due to a variety of clinical manifestations, diagnosing LB can be challenging, and laboratory work-up is usually required in case of disseminated LB. However, the current standard of diagnostics is serology, which comes with several shortcomings. Antibody formation may be absent in the early phase of the disease, and once IgG-seroconversion has occurred, it can be difficult to distinguish between a past (cured or self-cleared) LB and an active infection. It has been postulated that novel cellular tests for LB may have both higher sensitivity earlier in the course of the disease, and may be able to discriminate between a past and active infection.
VICTORY is a prospective two-gate case-control study. We strive to include 150 patients who meet the European case definitions for either localized or disseminated LB. In addition, we aim to include 225 healthy controls without current LB and 60 controls with potentially cross-reactive conditions. We will perform four different cellular tests in all of these participants, which will allow us to determine sensitivity and specificity. In LB patients, we will repeat cellular tests at 6 weeks and 12 weeks after start of antibiotic treatment to assess the usefulness as ‘test-of-cure’. Furthermore, we will investigate the performance of the different cellular tests in a cohort of patients with persistent symptoms attributed to LB.
This article describes the background and design of the VICTORY study protocol. The findings of our study will help to better appreciate the utility of cellular tests in the diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis.
NL7732 (Netherlands Trial Register, trialregister.nl).
Joris Koetsveld, Alexander E. Platonov, Konstantin Kuleshov, Alex Wagemakers, Dieuwertje Hoornstra, Wim Ang, Sandor Szekeres, Gilian L.A. van Duijvendijk, Erol Fikrig, Monica E. Embers, Hein Sprong, Joppe W. Hovius
Borrelia miyamotoi is a relapsing fever Borrelia, transmitted by hard (Ixodes) ticks, which are also the main vector for Borrelia burgdorferi. A widely used test for serodiagnosis of Lyme borreliosis is an EIA based on the C6 peptide of the B. burgdorferi sl VlsE protein. We set out to study C6 reactivity upon infection with B. miyamotoi in a large well-characterized set of Borrelia miyamotoi disease (BMD) patient sera and in experimental murine infection.
Hodzic, E., Imai, D. M., Escobar, E.
A basic feature of infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiological agent of Lyme borreliosis, is that persistent infection is the rule in its many hosts. The ability to persist and evade host immune clearance poses a challenge to effective antimicrobial treatment. A link between therapy failure and the presence of persister cells has started to emerge. There is growing experimental evidence that viable, but non-cultivable spirochetes persist following treatment with several different antimicrobial agents. The current study utilized the mouse model to evaluate if persistence occurs following antimicrobial treatment in a disease-susceptible (C3H/HeJ) and disease-resistant (C57BL/6) mouse strain infected with B. burgdorferi strains N40 and B31, to confirm the generality of this phenomena as well as to assess the persisters' clinical relevance. The status of infection was evaluated at 12 and 18-months after treatment. The results demonstrated that persistent spirochetes remain viable for up to 18 months following treatment, as well as being non-cultivable. The phenomenon of persistence in disease-susceptible C3H mice is equally evident in disease-resistant B6 mice, and not unique to any particular B. burgdorferi strain. Results also demonstrate that following antimicrobial treatment, both strains of B. burgdorferi, N40 and B31, lose one or more plasmids. The study demonstrated that non-cultivable spirochetes can persist in a host following antimicrobial treatment for a long time but did not demonstrate their clinical relevance in a mouse model of chronic infection. The clinical relevance of persistent spirochetes beyond 18 months following antimicrobial treatment require further studies in other animal models.
Alice Raffetin, Aurélie Saunier, Kevin Bouiller, Pauline Caraux-Paz, Carole Eldin, Sébastien Gallien, Romain Jouenne, Anna Belkacem, Jérôme Salomon, Olivier Patey, Emilie Talagrand-Reboul, Benoît Jaulhac, Antoine Grillon
Lyme borreliosis (LB) diagnosis currently relies mainly on serological tests and sometimes polymerase chain reaction or culture. However, other biological assays are being developed to try to improve Borrelia-infection diagnosis and/or monitoring.
Basma El Hamzaoui, Maureen Laroche, Yassina Bechah, Jean Michel Bérenger and Philippe Parola
In recent years, bed bugs have reappeared in greater numbers, more frequently, and are biting humans in many new geographic areas. Infestations by these hematophagous insects are rapidly increasing worldwide. Borrelia recurrentis, a spirochete bacterium, is the etiologic agent of louse-borne relapsing fever. The known vectors are body lice, Pediculus humanus humanus. However, previous studies have suggested that bed bugs might also be able to transmit this bacterium. Adult Cimex lectularius were artificially infected with a blood meal mixed with bacterial suspension of B. recurrentis. They were subsequently fed with pathogen-free human blood until the end of the experiment. Bed bugs and feces were collected every 5 days to evaluate the capacity of bed bugs to acquire and excrete viable B. recurrentis using molecular biology, cultures, fluorescein diacetate and immunofluorescence assays. The feces collected on the day 5 and 10 postinfection contained viable bacteria. Immunofluorescence analysis of exposed bed bugs showed the presence of B. recurrentis in the digestive tract, even in bed bugs collected on day 20 after infection. Like human body lice, bed bugs can acquire, maintain, and excrete viable B. recurrentis that might infect humans through skin lesions. This preliminary work suggests that bed bugs might be competent vectors of B. recurrentis. Because bed bugs and body lice may share the same ecological niches, the role of bed bugs in transmitting recurrent fevers deserves further study.
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