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Latest PLoS Pathogens Stories

2014-04-18 12:07:29

Children in Mali (and many other regions where malaria is common) are infected with malaria parasites more than 100 times a year, but they get sick with malaria fever only a few times. To understand how the immune system manages to prevent malaria fever in most cases, Peter Crompton, from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and colleagues in the US and in Mali, analyzed immune cells from healthy children before the malaria season and from the same children after...

2014-04-18 12:06:02

Malaria-related complications remain a major cause of death for children in many parts of the world. Why some children develop these complications while others don't is still not understood. A multidisciplinary group of scientists and clinicians under the direction of Peter Nilsson (SciLifeLab and KTH, Sweden), Mats Wahlgren (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden), Delmiro Fernandez-Reyes (Brighton & Sussex Medical School, UK) and Olugbemiro Sodeinde (College of Medicine, University of Ibadan,...

2014-04-04 10:29:01

When cannibals ate brains of people who died from prion disease, many of them fell ill with the fatal neurodegenerative disease as well. Likewise, when cows were fed protein contaminated with bovine prions, many of them developed mad cow disease. On the other hand, transmission of prions between species, for example from cows, sheep, or deer to humans, is—fortunately—inefficient, and only a small proportion of exposed recipients become sick within their lifetimes. A study published on...

2014-03-28 09:26:17

A combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors is believed to cause autoimmune (type 1) diabetes. A study published on March 27th in PLOS Pathogens gets at the mechanisms by which rotavirus infection contributes to autoimmune diabetes in a mouse model of the disease. NOD (for non-obese diabetic) mice are prone to develop diabetes, and infection with rotavirus accelerates onset of the disease. Barbara Coulson and colleagues, from The University of Melbourne, Australia,...

2014-02-14 11:15:45

Newborns are more susceptible to infections, presumably because of their immature and inexperienced immune systems. The most common dangerous condition in newborns and infants are lower respiratory tract infections caused by viruses, especially respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). A study published on February 13th in PLOS Pathogens shows how the immune system in the lungs during early life differs from the one in older children and adults. Ideally, newborns could be protected against RSV by...

2014-02-07 13:09:09

Production of an exceptionally large surface protein prevents bacteria from forming clumps and reduces their ability to cause disease A genetic mechanism that controls the production of a large spike-like protein on the surface of Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria alters the ability of the bacteria to form clumps and to cause disease, according to a new University of Iowa study. The new study is the first to link this genetic mechanism to the production of the giant surface protein...

2014-02-07 12:55:29

Viruses mutate fast, which means they can quickly become resistant to anti-viral drugs. But viruses also depend on proteins and nutrients provided by their hosts, and therefore one strategy to identify new anti-viral drugs is to identify and target such host-cell components. A paper published on February 6th in PLOS Pathogens reports that proteins involved in the regulation of cholesterol are essential for hantavirus entry into human host cells. There are only about 30 known human cases of...

2014-01-31 10:44:45

HIV infection has many unhealthy consequences on the body, but in particular it messes up the gut. The human intestine has the highest concentration of HIV target cells, the majority of which are destroyed within days of infection, and before CD4 T cell counts drop measurably in the blood. A study published on January 30th in PLOS Pathogens reports the first three-dimensional ultra-structural study of HIV infection in vivo. Not only does it reveal details on how the virus quickly infects...

2014-01-24 11:28:51

Currently approved flu vaccines are less effective in the elderly, yet an estimated 90% of influenza-related deaths occur in people over 65. A paper published on January 23rd in PLOS Pathogens reports on the challenges scientists encountered when they were trying to develop a better flu vaccine. Because immune systems in older people are generally less responsive to vaccination, Jay Evans and colleagues from GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines in Hamilton, USA, were testing so-called...

2014-01-17 11:22:44

Schistosoma mansoni and its close relatives are parasitic flatworms that affect millions worldwide and kill an estimated 250,000 people a year. A study published on January 16 in PLOS Pathogens identifies a new part of the molecular pathway that controls parasite movement. And because coordinated movement is essential for the schistosome life cycle in its human host, this protein is a promising new drug target. "We know that many anti-parasitic drugs act on the worm's nervous system", says...


Word of the Day
omphalos
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.
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