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1.  Loss of TLR3 aggravates CHIKV replication and pathology due to an altered virus-specific neutralizing antibody response 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2014;7(1):24-41.
RNA-sensing toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate innate immunity and regulate anti-viral response. We show here that TLR3 regulates host immunity and the loss of TLR3 aggravates pathology in Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection. Susceptibility to CHIKV infection is markedly increased in human and mouse fibroblasts with defective TLR3 signaling. Up to 100-fold increase in CHIKV load was observed in Tlr3−/− mice, alongside increased virus dissemination and pro-inflammatory myeloid cells infiltration. Infection in bone marrow chimeric mice showed that TLR3-expressing hematopoietic cells are required for effective CHIKV clearance. CHIKV-specific antibodies from Tlr3−/− mice exhibited significantly lower in vitro neutralization capacity, due to altered virus-neutralizing epitope specificity. Finally, SNP genotyping analysis of CHIKF patients on TLR3 identified SNP rs6552950 to be associated with disease severity and CHIKV-specific neutralizing antibody response. These results demonstrate a key role for TLR3-mediated antibody response to CHIKV infection, virus replication and pathology, providing a basis for future development of immunotherapeutics in vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC4309666  PMID: 25452586
Chikungunya virus; innate immunity; joint inflammation; neutralizing antibodies; TLR3
2.  Last Generation Triazoles for Imported Eumycetoma in Eleven Consecutive Adults 
Optimal management of eumycetoma, a severely debilitating chronic progressive fungal infection of skin, disseminating to bone and viscera, remains challenging. Especially, optimal antifungal treatment and duration are ill defined.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a monocentric retrospective study of 11 imported cases of eumycetoma treated by voriconazole or posaconazole for at least 6 months. Response to treatment was assessed through evolution of clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). (1→3) ß-D-glucan (BG) and positron emission tomography using [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose (PET/CT) results were also assessed. Identified species were Fusarium solani complex (n = 3); Madurella mycetomatis, (n = 3), and Exophiala jeanselmei, (n = 1). Moreover, two coelomycetes and one phaeohyphomycetes strains without species identification were retrieved. Serum BG and PET/CT were abnormal in 7/8 and 6/6 patients tested, respectively. Patients received last generation azoles for a mean duration of 25.9±18 months. Complete response (major clinical and MRI improvement) was observed in 5/11 patients, partial response (minor MRI improvement or stable MRI findings) in 5 and failure (MRI evidence of disease progression) in one, with a 73±39 [6–132] months mean follow-up. Relapse occurred in 2 patients after treatment discontinuation. Optimal outcome was associated with fungal species, initiation of last generation triazole therapy (<65 months since first symptoms), negative serum BG and PET/CT normalization.
MRI, PET/CT and serum BG appear as promising tools to assess optimal time of antifungal treatment for eumycetoma.
Author Summary
Eumycetoma is a severe chronic progressive fungal infection of skin and ultimately bone or viscera that affect mainly people with low economic status. Optimal treatment of this condition relies on medical and often surgical therapy and remains challenging because of lack of gold standard therapy and high rate of relapse after treatment discontinuation. In this retrospective study we assessed whether modern triazoles (voriconazole and posaconazole) suited to eumycetoma treatment and if tailored treatment duration, based on serial evaluation of a serum biomarker of fungal infection (Serum (1→3) ß-D-Glucan, (BD)), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography using [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose (PET/CT) would be useful. We found that modern triazoles were efficient treatments of eumycetoma, allowing complete or partial response in 10/11 of patients, without significant side effects. Moreover, patients with treatment discontinuation based on normalization of BD, MRI or PET/CT seemed to have better long-term outcome than those with clinical cure but still abnormal BD or imaging results.
PMCID: PMC4191942  PMID: 25299610
4.  Mucor irregularis-associated cutaneous mucormycosis: Case report and review 
Solid organ transplant recipients are at risk for invasive fungal diseases, and are also exposed to healthcare-associated mucormycosis. Mainly causing localized cutaneous mucormycosis, Mucor irregularis infection is reported for the first time in a kidney-transplant recipient. A healthcare-associated origin was highly suspected in this case. We performed a literature review and highlight the characteristics of this very rare fungus.
PMCID: PMC4216332  PMID: 25379401
Invasive fungal disease; Mucorales; Solid organ transplantation; Mucormycoses; Amphotericin B
5.  Iatrogenic Cushing's Syndrome Induced by Posaconazole 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(11):5727-5728.
Iatrogenic Cushing's syndrome is an undesirable outcome of glucocorticoids treatment. It can be increased by pharmacologic interactions. Glucocorticoid therapy, given in association with ritonavir, and some azole treatments are causes of iatrogenic Cushing's syndrome. We present a patient with common-variable immunodeficiency who received 7 years of itraconazole therapy for bronchial colonization with Aspergillus in combination with inhaled fluticasone without any Cushingoid symptoms. After a switch to posaconazole, the patient developed Cushingoid symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3811248  PMID: 23979730
6.  “Epidemic Clones” of Listeria monocytogenes Are Widespread and Ancient Clonal Groups 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3770-3779.
The food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is genetically heterogeneous. Although some clonal groups have been implicated in multiple outbreaks, there is currently no consensus on how “epidemic clones” should be defined. The objectives of this work were to compare the patterns of sequence diversity on two sets of genes that have been widely used to define L. monocytogenes clonal groups: multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and multi-virulence-locus sequence typing (MvLST). Further, we evaluated the diversity within clonal groups by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Based on 125 isolates of diverse temporal, geographical, and source origins, MLST and MvLST genes (i) had similar patterns of sequence polymorphisms, recombination, and selection, (ii) provided concordant phylogenetic clustering, and (iii) had similar discriminatory power, which was not improved when we combined both data sets. Inclusion of representative strains of previous outbreaks demonstrated the correspondence of epidemic clones with previously recognized MLST clonal complexes. PFGE analysis demonstrated heterogeneity within major clones, most of which were isolated decades before their involvement in outbreaks. We conclude that the “epidemic clone” denominations represent a redundant but largely incomplete nomenclature system for MLST-defined clones, which must be regarded as successful genetic groups that are widely distributed across time and space.
PMCID: PMC3889766  PMID: 24006010
7.  Comparison of Widely Used Listeria monocytogenes Strains EGD, 10403S, and EGD-e Highlights Genomic Differences Underlying Variations in Pathogenicity 
mBio  2014;5(2):e00969-14.
For nearly 3 decades, listeriologists and immunologists have used mainly three strains of the same serovar (1/2a) to analyze the virulence of the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. The genomes of two of these strains, EGD-e and 10403S, were released in 2001 and 2008, respectively. Here we report the genome sequence of the third reference strain, EGD, and extensive genomic and phenotypic comparisons of the three strains. Strikingly, EGD-e is genetically highly distinct from EGD (29,016 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) and 10403S (30,296 SNPs), and is more related to serovar 1/2c than 1/2a strains. We also found that while EGD and 10403S strains are genetically very close (317 SNPs), EGD has a point mutation in the transcriptional regulator PrfA (PrfA*), leading to constitutive expression of several major virulence genes. We generated an EGD-e PrfA* mutant and showed that EGD behaves like this strain in vitro, with slower growth in broth and higher invasiveness in human cells than those of EGD-e and 10403S. In contrast, bacterial counts in blood, liver, and spleen during infection in mice revealed that EGD and 10403S are less virulent than EGD-e, which is itself less virulent than EGD-e PrfA*. Thus, constitutive expression of PrfA-regulated virulence genes does not appear to provide a significant advantage to the EGD strain during infection in vivo, highlighting the fact that in vitro invasion assays are not sufficient for evaluating the pathogenic potential of L. monocytogenes strains. Together, our results pave the way for deciphering unexplained differences or discrepancies in experiments using different L. monocytogenes strains.
Over the past 3 decades, Listeria has become a model organism for host-pathogen interactions, leading to critical discoveries in a broad range of fields, including bacterial gene regulation, cell biology, and bacterial pathophysiology. Scientists studying Listeria use primarily three pathogenic strains: EGD, EGD-e, and 10403S. Despite many studies on EGD, it is the only one of the three strains whose genome has not been sequenced. Here we report the sequence of its genome and a series of important genomic and phenotypic differences between the three strains, in particular, a critical mutation in EGD’s PrfA, the main regulator of Listeria virulence. Our results show that the three strains display differences which may play an important role in the virulence differences observed between the strains. Our findings will be of critical relevance to listeriologists and immunologists who have used or may use Listeria as a tool to study the pathophysiology of listeriosis and immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3977354  PMID: 24667708
8.  Draft Genome Sequence of Campylobacter coli Strain IPSID-1 Isolated from a Patient with Immunoproliferative Small Intestinal Disease 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(2):e00079-14.
The genome sequence and annotation of Campylobacter coli strain IPSID-1 are reported here. This bacterial isolate is the first to be cultured from a patient with immunoproliferative small intestinal disease (IPSID). The draft genome sequence is 1.683 Mb long, comprises 64 contigs, and has 31.26% G+C content.
PMCID: PMC3953186  PMID: 24625865
9.  The diagnosis of infectious diseases by whole genome next generation sequencing: a new era is opening 
PMCID: PMC3944390  PMID: 24639952
next-generation sequencing; infectious disease medicine; microbiology; diagnostic tests; routine; virology; bacteriology
10.  Optimized Multilocus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Analysis Assay and Its Complementarity with Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis and Multilocus Sequence Typing for Listeria monocytogenes Clone Identification and Surveillance 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(6):1868-1880.
Populations of the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes are genetically structured into a small number of major clonal groups, some of which have been implicated in multiple outbreaks. The goal of this study was to develop and evaluate an optimized multilocus variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) subtyping scheme for strain discrimination and clonal group identification. We evaluated 18 VNTR loci and combined the 11 best ones into two multiplexed PCR assays (MLVA-11). A collection of 255 isolates representing the diversity of clonal groups within phylogenetic lineages I and II, including representatives of epidemic clones, were analyzed by MLVA-11, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). MLVA-11 had less discriminatory power than PFGE, except for some clones, and was unable to distinguish some epidemiologically unrelated isolates. Yet it distinguished all major MLST clones and therefore constitutes a rapid method to identify epidemiologically relevant clonal groups. Given its high reproducibility and high throughput, MLVA represents a very attractive first-line screening method to alleviate the PFGE workload in outbreak investigations and listeriosis surveillance.
PMCID: PMC3716049  PMID: 23576539
11.  Serum Aspergillus Galactomannan for the Management of Disseminated Histoplasmosis in AIDS 
Disseminated histoplasmosis is an emerging infection in patients with cellular immune deficiency in non-endemic countries, caused by the migration from endemic regions and the development of travels. Diagnosis can be challenging in this context because rapid diagnostic tools such as Histoplasma antigen detection or appropriate molecular tools are generally unavailable, serology is often negative in immunosuppressed patients, and isolation of the fungus from cultures often takes several weeks. Here, we report the contribution of galactomannan serum detection for the management of an HIV-infected patient with disseminated histoplasmosis.
PMCID: PMC3414568  PMID: 22855762
12.  Virus replicon particle based Chikungunya virus neutralization assay using Gaussia luciferase as readout 
Virology Journal  2013;10:235.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has been responsible for large epidemic outbreaks causing fever, headache, rash and severe arthralgia. So far, no specific treatment or vaccine is available. As nucleic acid amplification can only be used during the viremic phase of the disease, serological tests like neutralization assays are necessary for CHIKV diagnosis and for determination of the immune status of a patient. Furthermore, neutralization assays represent a useful tool to validate the efficacy of potential vaccines. As CHIKV is a BSL3 agent, neutralization assays with infectious virus need to be performed under BSL3 conditions. Our aim was to develop a neutralization assay based on non-infectious virus replicon particles (VRPs).
VRPs were produced by cotransfecting baby hamster kidney-21 cells with a CHIKV replicon expressing Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) and two helper RNAs expressing the CHIKV capsid protein or the remaining structural proteins, respectively. The resulting single round infectious particles were used in CHIKV neutralization assays using secreted Gluc as readout.
Upon cotransfection of a CHIKV replicon expressing Gluc and the helper RNAs VRPs could be produced efficiently under optimized conditions at 32°C. Infection with VRPs could be measured via Gluc secreted into the supernatant. The successful use of VRPs in CHIKV neutralization assays was demonstrated using a CHIKV neutralizing monoclonal antibody or sera from CHIKV infected patients. Comparison of VRP based neutralization assays in 24- versus 96-well format using different amounts of VRPs revealed that in the 96-well format a high multiplicity of infection is favored, while in the 24-well format reliable results are also obtained using lower infection rates. Comparison of different readout times revealed that evaluation of the neutralization assay is already possible at the same day of infection.
A VRP based CHIKV neutralization assay using Gluc as readout represents a fast and useful method to determine CHIKV neutralizing antibodies without the need of using infectious CHIKV.
PMCID: PMC3718613  PMID: 23855906
Chikungunya virus; Virus replicon particles; Neutralization assay; Gaussia luciferase
13.  Murinization of Internalin Extends Its Receptor Repertoire, Altering Listeria monocytogenes Cell Tropism and Host Responses 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(5):e1003381.
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is an invasive foodborne pathogen that leads to severe central nervous system and maternal-fetal infections. Lm ability to actively cross the intestinal barrier is one of its key pathogenic properties. Lm crosses the intestinal epithelium upon the interaction of its surface protein internalin (InlA) with its host receptor E-cadherin (Ecad). InlA-Ecad interaction is species-specific, does not occur in wild-type mice, but does in transgenic mice expressing human Ecad and knock-in mice expressing humanized mouse Ecad. To study listeriosis in wild-type mice, InlA has been “murinized” to interact with mouse Ecad. Here, we demonstrate that, unexpectedly, murinized InlA (InlAm) mediates not only Ecad-dependent internalization, but also N-cadherin-dependent internalization. Consequently, InlAm-expressing Lm targets not only goblet cells expressing luminally-accessible Ecad, as does Lm in humanized mice, but also targets villous M cells, which express luminally-accessible N-cadherin. This aberrant Lm portal of entry results in enhanced innate immune responses and intestinal barrier damage, both of which are not observed in wild-type Lm-infected humanized mice. Murinization of InlA therefore not only extends the host range of Lm, but also broadens its receptor repertoire, providing Lm with artifactual pathogenic properties. These results challenge the relevance of using InlAm-expressing Lm to study human listeriosis and in vivo host responses to this human pathogen.
Author Summary
Co-evolution of microbes with their hosts can select stringently specific host-microbe interactions at the cell, tissue and species levels. Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a foodborne pathogen that causes a deadly systemic infection in humans. Lm crosses the intestinal epithelium upon the interaction of its surface protein InlA with E-cadherin (Ecad). InlA-Ecad interaction is species-specific, does not occur in wild-type mice, but does in transgenic mice expressing human Ecad and knock-in mice expressing humanized mouse Ecad. To study listeriosis in wild-type mice, InlA has been “murinized” to interact with mouse Ecad. Here, we demonstrate that in addition to interacting with mouse Ecad, InlAm also uses N-cadherin as a receptor, whereas InlA does not. This artifactual InlAm-N-cadherin interaction promotes bacterial translocation across villous M cells, a cell type which is not targeted by InlA-expressing bacteria. This leads to intestinal inflammation and intestinal barrier damage, both of which are not seen in humans and humanized mouse models permissive to InlA-Ecad interaction. These results challenge the relevance of using InlAm-expressing Lm as a model to study human listeriosis and host responses to this pathogen. They also illustrate that caution must be exercised before using “murinized” pathogens to study human infectious diseases.
PMCID: PMC3667765  PMID: 23737746
15.  Chikungunya Virus-associated Long-term Arthralgia: A 36-month Prospective Longitudinal Study 
Arthritogenic alphaviruses, including Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), are responsible for acute fever and arthralgia, but can also lead to chronic symptoms. In 2006, a Chikungunya outbreak occurred in La Réunion Island, during which we constituted a prospective cohort of viremic patients (n = 180) and defined the clinical and biological features of acute infection. Individuals were followed as part of a longitudinal study to investigate in details the long-term outcome of Chikungunya.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Patients were submitted to clinical investigations 4, 6, 14 and 36 months after presentation with acute CHIKV infection. At 36 months, 22 patients with arthralgia and 20 patients without arthralgia were randomly selected from the cohort and consented for blood sampling. During the 3 years following acute infection, 60% of patients had experienced symptoms of arthralgia, with most reporting episodic relapse and recovery periods. Long-term arthralgias were typically polyarthralgia (70%), that were usually symmetrical (90%) and highly incapacitating (77%). They were often associated with local swelling (63%), asthenia (77%) or depression (56%). The age over 35 years and the presence of arthralgia 4 months after the disease onset are risk factors of long-term arthralgia. Patients with long-term arthralgia did not display biological markers typically found in autoimmune or rheumatoid diseases. These data helped define the features of CHIKV-associated chronic arthralgia and permitted an estimation of the economic burden associated with arthralgia.
This study demonstrates that chronic arthralgia is a frequent complication of acute Chikungunya disease and suggests that it results from a local rather than systemic inflammation.
Author Summary
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted to human by mosquitoes. It is a re-emerging virus that has a risk to spread globally, given the expanding dissemination of its mosquito vectors. Chikungunya disease is characterized by acute transient febrile arthralgic illness, but can also lead to chronic incapacitating arthralgia. We have conducted a prospective longitudinal study to investigate in details long-term outcome of CHIKV infection. We found that 60% of patients experienced arthralgia 36 months after the onset of acute disease. Arthralgia affected most often multiple sites and were usually incapacitating. In addition to arthralgia, many patients suffered from myalgia and cutaneous lesions and several cognitive dysfunctions. We also showed that age over 35 years and the presence of arthralgia 4 months after the onset of disease are risk factors for long-term arthralgia. Patients with long-term arthralgia did not display biological markers typically found in autoimmune or rheumatoid diseases. This study demonstrates that chronic arthralgia is a frequent complication of acute Chikungunya disease and suggests that it results from a local rather than systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3605278  PMID: 23556021
16.  ActA Promotes Listeria monocytogenes Aggregation, Intestinal Colonization and Carriage 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(1):e1003131.
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a ubiquitous bacterium able to survive and thrive within the environment and readily colonizes a wide range of substrates, often as a biofilm. It is also a facultative intracellular pathogen, which actively invades diverse hosts and induces listeriosis. So far, these two complementary facets of Lm biology have been studied independently. Here we demonstrate that the major Lm virulence determinant ActA, a PrfA-regulated gene product enabling actin polymerization and thereby promoting its intracellular motility and cell-to-cell spread, is critical for bacterial aggregation and biofilm formation. We show that ActA mediates Lm aggregation via direct ActA-ActA interactions and that the ActA C-terminal region, which is not involved in actin polymerization, is essential for aggregation in vitro. In mice permissive to orally-acquired listeriosis, ActA-mediated Lm aggregation is not observed in infected tissues but occurs in the gut lumen. Strikingly, ActA-dependent aggregating bacteria exhibit an increased ability to persist within the cecum and colon lumen of mice, and are shed in the feces three order of magnitude more efficiently and for twice as long than bacteria unable to aggregate. In conclusion, this study identifies a novel function for ActA and illustrates that in addition to contributing to its dissemination within the host, ActA plays a key role in Lm persistence within the host and in transmission from the host back to the environment.
Author Summary
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a ubiquitous bacterium that survives and thrives within the environment, and a facultative intracellular pathogen that induces listeriosis. So far, these two complementary facets of Lm biology have been studied independently. Here we identify ActA, which is a major Lm virulence determinant mediating actin-based motility, as critical for bacterial aggregation and biofilm formation. ActA promotes Lm aggregation via direct ActA-ActA interaction and ActA C-terminal region, which is not involved in actin polymerization, is essential for aggregation. Whereas ActA-mediated Lm aggregation is not observed in infected tissues, it occurs in the gut lumen. Strikingly, ActA-dependent aggregating bacteria exhibit an increased ability to persist within the gut lumen, and are shed in the feces three order of magnitude more and for twice as long than bacteria unable to aggregate. This study identifies a novel function for ActA, which plays a key role in Lm persistence within the host and transmission.
PMCID: PMC3561219  PMID: 23382675
17.  Mapping of Chikungunya Virus Interactions with Host Proteins Identified nsP2 as a Highly Connected Viral Component 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(6):3121-3134.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus that has been responsible for an epidemic outbreak of unprecedented magnitude in recent years. Since then, significant efforts have been made to better understand the biology of this virus, but we still have poor knowledge of CHIKV interactions with host cell components at the molecular level. Here we describe the extensive use of high-throughput yeast two-hybrid (HT-Y2H) assays to characterize interactions between CHIKV and human proteins. A total of 22 high-confidence interactions, which essentially involved the viral nonstructural protein nsP2, were identified and further validated in protein complementation assay (PCA). These results were integrated to a larger network obtained by extensive mining of the literature for reports on alphavirus-host interactions. To investigate the role of cellular proteins interacting with nsP2, gene silencing experiments were performed in cells infected by a recombinant CHIKV expressing Renilla luciferase as a reporter. Collected data showed that heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP-K) and ubiquilin 4 (UBQLN4) participate in CHIKV replication in vitro. In addition, we showed that CHIKV nsP2 induces a cellular shutoff, as previously reported for other Old World alphaviruses, and determined that among binding partners identified by yeast two-hybrid methods, the tetratricopeptide repeat protein 7B (TTC7B) plays a significant role in this activity. Altogether, this report provides the first interaction map between CHIKV and human proteins and describes new host cell proteins involved in the replication cycle of this virus.
PMCID: PMC3302312  PMID: 22258240
18.  Activation of Type III Interferon Genes by Pathogenic Bacteria in Infected Epithelial Cells and Mouse Placenta 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39080.
Bacterial infections trigger the expression of type I and II interferon genes but little is known about their effect on type III interferon (IFN-λ) genes, whose products play important roles in epithelial innate immunity against viruses. Here, we studied the expression of IFN-λ genes in cultured human epithelial cells infected with different pathogenic bacteria and in the mouse placenta infected with Listeria monocytogenes. We first showed that in intestinal LoVo cells, induction of IFN-λ genes by L. monocytogenes required bacterial entry and increased further during the bacterial intracellular phase of infection. Other Gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Enterococcus faecalis, also induced IFN-λ genes when internalized by LoVo cells. In contrast, Gram-negative bacteria Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, Shigella flexneri and Chlamydia trachomatis did not substantially induce IFN-λ. We also found that IFN-λ genes were up-regulated in A549 lung epithelial cells infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and in HepG2 hepatocytes and BeWo trophoblastic cells infected with L. monocytogenes. In a humanized mouse line permissive to fetoplacental listeriosis, IFN-λ2/λ3 mRNA levels were enhanced in placentas infected with L. monocytogenes. In addition, the feto-placental tissue was responsive to IFN-λ2. Together, these results suggest that IFN-λ may be an important modulator of the immune response to Gram-positive intracellular bacteria in epithelial tissues.
PMCID: PMC3375250  PMID: 22720036
19.  Induction of GADD34 Is Necessary for dsRNA-Dependent Interferon-β Production and Participates in the Control of Chikungunya Virus Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(5):e1002708.
Nucleic acid sensing by cells is a key feature of antiviral responses, which generally result in type-I Interferon production and tissue protection. However, detection of double-stranded RNAs in virus-infected cells promotes two concomitant and apparently conflicting events. The dsRNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) phosphorylates translation initiation factor 2-alpha (eIF2α) and inhibits protein synthesis, whereas cytosolic DExD/H box RNA helicases induce expression of type I-IFN and other cytokines. We demonstrate that the phosphatase-1 cofactor, growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible protein 34 (GADD34/Ppp1r15a), an important component of the unfolded protein response (UPR), is absolutely required for type I-IFN and IL-6 production by mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) in response to dsRNA. GADD34 expression in MEFs is dependent on PKR activation, linking cytosolic microbial sensing with the ATF4 branch of the UPR. The importance of this link for anti-viral immunity is underlined by the extreme susceptibility of GADD34-deficient fibroblasts and neonate mice to Chikungunya virus infection.
Author Summary
Nucleic acids detection by multiple molecular sensors results in type-I interferon production, which protects cells and tissues from viral infections. At the intracellular level, the detection of double-stranded RNA by one of these sensors, the dsRNA-dependent protein kinase also leads to the profound inhibition of protein synthesis. We describe here that the inducible phosphatase 1 co-factor Ppp1r15a/GADD34, a well known player in the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response (UPR), is activated during double-stranded RNA detection and is absolutely necessary to allow cytokine production in cells exposed to poly I:C or Chikungunya virus. Our data shows that the cellular response to nucleic acids can reveal unanticipated connections between innate immunity and fundamental stress pathways, such as the ATF4 branch of the UPR.
PMCID: PMC3355096  PMID: 22615568
20.  Transcytosis of Listeria monocytogenes across the intestinal barrier upon specific targeting of goblet cell accessible E-cadherin 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2011;208(11):2263-2277.
Listeria monocytogenes targets accessible E-cadherin expressed on mucus-producing goblet cells to invade the intestinal tissue.
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a foodborne pathogen that crosses the intestinal barrier upon interaction between its surface protein InlA and its species-specific host receptor E-cadherin (Ecad). Ecad, the key constituent of adherens junctions, is typically situated below tight junctions and therefore considered inaccessible from the intestinal lumen. In this study, we investigated how Lm specifically targets its receptor on intestinal villi and crosses the intestinal epithelium to disseminate systemically. We demonstrate that Ecad is luminally accessible around mucus-expelling goblet cells (GCs), around extruding enterocytes at the tip and lateral sides of villi, and in villus epithelial folds. We show that upon preferential adherence to accessible Ecad on GCs, Lm is internalized, rapidly transcytosed across the intestinal epithelium, and released in the lamina propria by exocytosis from where it disseminates systemically. Together, these results show that Lm exploits intrinsic tissue heterogeneity to access its receptor and reveal transcytosis as a novel and unanticipated pathway that is hijacked by Lm to breach the intestinal epithelium and cause systemic infection.
PMCID: PMC3201198  PMID: 21967767
21.  Evaluation of High-Throughput Sequencing for Identifying Known and Unknown Viruses in Biological Samples▿† 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3268-3275.
High-throughput sequencing furnishes a large number of short sequence reads from uncloned DNA and has rapidly become a major tool for identifying viruses in biological samples, and in particular when the target sequence is undefined. In this study, we assessed the analytical sensitivity of a pipeline for detection of viruses in biological samples based on either the Roche-454 genome sequencer or Illumina genome analyzer platforms. We sequenced biological samples artificially spiked with a wide range of viruses with genomes composed of single or double-stranded DNA or RNA, including linear or circular single-stranded DNA. Viruses were added at a very low concentration most often corresponding to 3 or 0.8 times the validated level of detection of quantitative reverse transcriptase PCRs (RT-PCRs). For the viruses represented, or resembling those represented, in public nucleotide sequence databases, we show that the higher output of Illumina is associated with a much greater sensitivity, approaching that of optimized quantitative (RT-)PCRs. In this blind study, identification of viruses was achieved without incorrect identification. Nevertheless, at these low concentrations, the number of reads generated by the Illumina platform was too small to facilitate assembly of contigs without the use of a reference sequence, thus precluding detection of unknown viruses. When the virus load was sufficiently high, de novo assembly permitted the generation of long contigs corresponding to nearly full-length genomes and thus should facilitate the identification of novel viruses.
PMCID: PMC3165575  PMID: 21715589
22.  Targeting of the central nervous system by Listeria monocytogenes 
Virulence  2012;3(2):213-221.
Among bacteria that reach the central nervous system (CNS), Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is one of deadliest, in human and ruminant. This facultative intracellular bacterium has the particularity to induce meningitis, meningoencephalitis and rhombencephalitis. Mechanisms by which Lm accesses the CNS remain poorly understood, but two major routes of infection have been proposed, based on clinical, in vitro and in vivo observations. A retrograde neural route is likely to occur in ruminants upon crossing of the oral epithelium, and this probably accounts for the observation that Lm induces almost exclusively rhombencephalitis in these animals. In contrast, the hematogenous route is likely the most frequent in human, in whom bacteria circulating in the blood, either free or associated with leukocytes are thought to breach the blood-brain barrier. New animal models that faithfully reproduce the hallmarks of human neurolisterisosis will allow addressing the molecular mechanisms underlying Lm ability to induce CNS disease, and improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of this deadly infection.
PMCID: PMC3396700  PMID: 22460636
23.  Identification of the First Human Gyrovirus, a Virus Related to Chicken Anemia Virus ▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(15):7948-7950.
We have identified in a skin swab sample from a healthy donor a new virus that we have named human gyrovirus (HGyV) because of its similarity to the chicken anemia virus (CAV), the only previously known member of the Gyrovirus genus. In particular, this virus encodes a homolog of the CAV apoptin, a protein that selectively induces apoptosis in cancer cells. By PCR screening, HGyV was found in 5 of 115 other nonlesional skin specimens but in 0 of 92 bronchoalveolar lavages or nasopharyngeal aspirates and in 0 of 92 fecal samples.
PMCID: PMC3147908  PMID: 21632766
24.  Mycobacterium genavense as a cause of subacute pneumonia in patients with severe cellular immunodeficiency 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:311.
Mycobacterium genavense is a rare nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Human infections are mostly disseminated in the setting of the AIDS epidemic or the use of aggressive immunosuppressive treatments. M. genavense culture is fastidious, requiring supplemented media. Pulmonary involvement rarely occurs as a primary localization.
Cases presentation
We report here two patients with pneumonia as the predominant manifestation of M. genavense infection: one kidney transplanted patient and one HIV-infected patient. Both patients were initially treated with anti-tuberculous drugs before the identification of M. genavense on sputum or broncho-alveolar lavage fluid culture. A four-drug regimen including clarithromycin and rifabutin was started. Gamma interferon has been helpful in addition to antimycobacterial treatment for one patient.
Clinicians should be aware that M. genavense could be the etiologic agent of sub-acute pneumonia mimicking tuberculosis in patients with cellular immunodeficiency status.
PMCID: PMC3232426  PMID: 22054169
25.  Emergence of Disseminated Infections Due to Geosmithia argillacea in Patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease Receiving Long-Term Azole Antifungal Prophylaxis▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(4):1681-1683.
We report two cases of invasive infections due to Geosmithia argillacea, an emerging mold, in patients with chronic granulomatous disease receiving prolonged azole antifungal prophylaxis. One patient died despite receiving a combination of four antifungals, and the other developed cerebral and medullary lesions under a combination of caspofungin, posaconazole, terbinafine, and gamma interferon.
PMCID: PMC3122873  PMID: 21270214

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