To examine the impact of regional and seasonal variations on the incidence and severity of sheath rot, a major seed-borne disease of rice caused by Sarocladium oryzae, data on incidence and severity were collected from 27 selected fields in the Gazipur, Rangpur, Bogra, Chittagong, Comilla, Gopalgonj, Jessore, Manikgonj, and Bhola districts of Bangladesh in rain-fed and irrigated conditions. Cultural variability of 29 pathogen isolates obtained from 8 different locations was studied on potato dextrose agar (PDA) and genetic variability was determined by DNA fingerprinting using variable number tandem repeat-polymerase chain reaction markers. Overall, disease incidence and severity were higher in irrigated rice. Disease incidence and severity were highest in the Bhola district in rain-fed rice and lowest in irrigated rice. Mycelial growth of 29 representative isolates was found to vary on PDA and the isolates were divided into 6 groups. The range of the overall size of conidia of the selected isolates was 2.40-7.20 x 1.20-2.40 μm. Analysis of the DNA fingerprint types of the 29 isolates of S. oryzae, obtained from the amplification reactions, revealed 10 fingerprinting types (FPTs) that were 80% similar. FPT-1 was the largest group and included 13 isolates (44.8%), while FPT-2 was the third largest group and included 3 isolates. Each of FPT-3, 4, 5, and 6 included only 1 isolate. We observed no relationship between cultural and genetic groupings.
The rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is a serious pathogen that jeopardises the world's most important food-security crop. Ten common Malaysian rice varieties were examined for their morphological, physiological and genomic responses to this rice blast pathogen. qPCR quantification was used to assess the growth of the pathogen population in resistant and susceptible rice varieties. The chlorophyll content and photosynthesis were also measured to further understand the disruptive effects that M. oryzae has on infected plants of these varieties. Real-time PCR was used to explore the differential expression of eight blast resistance genes among the ten local varieties. Blast disease has destructive effects on the growth of rice, and the findings of our study provide evidence that the Pikh, Pi9, Pi21, and Osw45 genes are involved in defence responses in the leaves of Malaysian rice at 31 h after inoculation with M. oryzae pathotype P7.2. Both the chlorophyll content and photosynthesis were reduced, but the levels of Pikh gene expression remained constant in susceptible varieties, with a developed pathogen population and mild or severe symptoms. The Pi9, Pi21, and Osw45 genes, however, were simultaneously upregulated in infected rice plants. Therefore, the presence of the Pikh, Pi9, Pi21, and Osw45 genes in the germplasm is useful for improving the resistance of rice varieties.
The detection and identification of two endocytobiotic bacterial strains, one affiliated to the "Candidatus Caedibacter acanthamoebae"/"Ca. Paracaedimonas acanthamoeba", and another to the endosymbiont of Acanthamoeba UWC8 and "Ca. Jidaibacter acanthamoeba" are described. For endocytobiont screening, we developed a PCR method with a set of broad-range bacterial 16S rRNA primers to substitute the commonly used but technically demanding fluorescent in situ hybridization technique. Our PCR test alone without sequencing failed to discriminate the endocytobiont-containing and endocytobiont-free Acanthamoeba sp. due to the presence of mismatched primers to host mitochondrial DNA. We highlighted the need to perform bacterial primer checking against the Acanthamoeba genome to avoid false positive detection in PCR. Although the genetic aspect of "Ca. Caedibacter acanthamoebae"/"Ca. Paracaedimonas acanthamoeba" and the endosymbiont of Acanthamoeba UWC8/"Ca. Jidaibacter acanthamoeba" are well studied, knowledge pertaining to their morphologies are quite vague. Hence, we used transmission electron microscopy to examine our endocytobionts which are affiliated to previously described intracellular bacteria of Acanthamoeba sp. We used good-quality TEM images for the localization and the fate of the current endocytobionts inside different life stages of the hosts. Furthermore, to the best of our knowledge, our TEM findings are the first to provide morphological evidence for the clearance of defective Acanthamoeba endocytobionts via an autophagic-like process.
Transposable elements (TEs) are agents of genetic variability in phytopathogens as they are a source of adaptive evolution through genome diversification. Although many studies have uncovered information on TEs, the exact mechanism behind TE-induced changes within the genome remains poorly understood. Furthermore, convergent trends towards bigger genomes, emergence of novel genes and gain or loss of genes implicate a TE-regulated genome plasticity of fungal phytopathogens. TEs are able to alter gene expression by revamping the cis-regulatory elements or recruiting epigenetic control. Recent findings show that TEs recruit epigenetic control on the expression of effector genes as part of the coordinated infection strategy. In addition to genome plasticity and diversity, fungal pathogenicity is an area of economic concern. A survey of TE distribution suggests that their proximity to pathogenicity genes TEs may act as sites for emergence of novel pathogenicity factors via nucleotide changes and expansion or reduction of the gene family. Through a systematic survey of literature, we were able to conclude that the role of TEs in fungi is wide: ranging from genome plasticity, pathogenicity to adaptive behavior in evolution. This review also identifies the gaps in knowledge that requires further elucidation for a better understanding of TEs' contribution to genome architecture and versatility.
The macaque parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a significant concern in Malaysia where cases of human infection are increasing. Parasites infecting humans originate from genetically distinct subpopulations associated with the long-tailed (Macaca fascicularis (Mf)) or pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina (Mn)). We used a new high-quality reference genome to re-evaluate previously described subpopulations among human and macaque isolates from Malaysian-Borneo and Peninsular-Malaysia. Nuclear genomes were dimorphic, as expected, but new evidence of chromosomal-segment exchanges between subpopulations was found. A large segment on chromosome 8 originating from the Mn subpopulation and containing genes encoding proteins expressed in mosquito-borne parasite stages, was found in Mf genotypes. By contrast, non-recombining organelle genomes partitioned into 3 deeply branched lineages, unlinked with nuclear genomic dimorphism. Subpopulations which diverged in isolation have re-connected, possibly due to deforestation and disruption of wild macaque habitats. The resulting genomic mosaics reveal traits selected by host-vector-parasite interactions in a setting of ecological transition.
Zika virus (ZIKV) causes no-to-mild symptoms or severe neurological disorders. To investigate the importance of viral and host genetic variations in determining ZIKV infection outcomes, we created three full-length infectious cDNA clones as bacterial artificial chromosomes for each of three spatiotemporally distinct and genetically divergent ZIKVs: MR-766 (Uganda, 1947), P6-740 (Malaysia, 1966), and PRVABC-59 (Puerto Rico, 2015). Using the three molecularly cloned ZIKVs, together with 13 ZIKV region-specific polyclonal antibodies covering nearly the entire viral protein-coding region, we made three conceptual advances: (i) We created a comprehensive genome-wide portrait of ZIKV gene products and their related species, with several previously undescribed gene products identified in the case of all three molecularly cloned ZIKVs. (ii) We found that ZIKV has a broad cell tropism in vitro, being capable of establishing productive infection in 16 of 17 animal cell lines from 12 different species, although its growth kinetics varied depending on both the specific virus strain and host cell line. More importantly, we identified one ZIKV-non-susceptible bovine cell line that has a block in viral entry but fully supports the subsequent post-entry steps. (iii) We showed that in mice, the three molecularly cloned ZIKVs differ in their neuropathogenicity, depending on the particular combination of viral and host genetic backgrounds, as well as in the presence or absence of type I/II interferon signaling. Overall, our findings demonstrate the impact of viral and host genetic variations on the replication kinetics and neuropathogenicity of ZIKV and provide multiple avenues for developing and testing medical countermeasures against ZIKV.
Chitinases play a vital role during the pathogenic invasion and immunosuppression in various organisms including invertebrates and vertebrates. In this study, we have investigated the participation of MrChit-3 (Macrobrachium rosenbergii Chitinase-3) during host-pathogenic interaction in freshwater prawn, M. rosenbergii. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that the expression of MrChit-3 was up-regulated during bacterial, viral and laminarin challenge. Moreover, to understand the antimicrobial role of the GH18 domain, a putative membrane-targeting antimicrobial peptide (MrVG) was identified from the GH18 domain region of the protein and it was chemically synthesized. Physico-chemical features of the GH18 derived antimicrobial peptide (AMP) was assessed by various in silico tools and the antimicrobial property of the peptide was confirmed from in vitro studies. The membrane targeting mechanism of the peptide was determined by flow cytometry (FACS) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis. Interestingly, the peptide was able to inhibit the growth of a chitinolytic fungal pathogen, Aspergillus niger, which was isolated from the shells of M. rosenbergii. The toxicity studies such as hemolysis activity on human blood erythrocytes and cell viability assay with primary kidney cells, HEK293 of MrVG revealed that the peptide was not involved in inducing any toxicity.
At present, very little is known about how Burkholderia pseudomallei (B. pseudomallei) interacts with its host to elicit melioidosis symptoms. We established a murine acute-phase melioidosis model and used DNA microarray technology to investigate the global host/pathogen interaction. We compared the transcriptome of infected liver and spleen with uninfected tissues over an infection period of 42 hr to identify genes whose expression is altered in response to an acute infection.
BACKGROUND: Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is established as one of the causative agents of respiratory tract infections. To date, there are limited reports that describe the effect of HMPV genotypes and/or viral load on disease pathogenesis in adults. This study aims to determine the role of HMPV genetic diversity and nasopharyngeal viral load on symptom severity in outpatient adults with acute respiratory tract infections.
METHODS: Severity of common cold symptoms of patients from a teaching hospital was assessed by a four-category scale and summed to obtain the total symptom severity score (TSSS). Association between the fusion and glycoprotein genes diversity, viral load (quantified using an improved RT-qPCR assay), and symptom severity were analyzed using bivariate and linear regression analyses.
RESULTS: Among 81/3706 HMPV-positive patients, there were no significant differences in terms of demographics, number of days elapsed between symptom onset and clinic visit, respiratory symptoms manifestation and severity between different HMPV genotypes/sub-lineages. Surprisingly, elderly patients (≥65 years old) had lower severity of symptoms (indicated by TSSS) than young and middle age adults (p = 0.008). Nasopharyngeal viral load did not correlate with nor predict symptom severity of HMPV infection. Interestingly, at 3-5 days after symptom onset, genotype A-infected patients had higher viral load compared to genotype B (4.4 vs. 3.3 log10 RNA copies/μl) (p = 0.003).
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, HMPV genetic diversity and viral load did not impact symptom severity in adults with acute respiratory tract infections. Differences in viral load dynamics over time between genotypes may have important implications on viral transmission.
Study site: Primary Care Clinic, University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia