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Volume 3 Issue 5, May 2018

Leishmania goes retro

Sand flies acquire Leishmania during blood meals. Subsequent blood meals, even from uninfected hosts, trigger dedifferentiation of non-replicating metacyclic promastigotes to a replicative form, termed the retroleptomonad promastigote, which amplifies parasite numbers in the flies

See Serafim et al.

Image: Elizabeth Fischer, Stacy Ricklefs. Cover Design: Samantha Whitham.


  • Travelling to a conference can be financially and environmentally costly, researchers should take careful decisions on which meetings to attend and put in place a strategy to extract as much benefit from the event as possible.



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Comment & Opinion

  • Faecal microbiota richness is considered a hallmark of gut health and stability. However, in healthy hosts, richness would primarily reflect the stage of ecosystem development through the gut, rather than community resilience. This Comment discusses the need to rethink microbiome biomarkers in the context of gut ecology.

    • Gwen Falony
    • Sara Vieira-Silva
    • Jeroen Raes


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News & Views

  • A study of blood-feeding female sand flies has shown how successive blood meals amplify Leishmania infections in the vector’s gut and enhance transmission of the tropical disease leishmaniasis.

    • Paul A. Bates
    News & Views
  • Topical administration of aminoglycoside antibiotics has been shown to induce expression of interferon-stimulated genes in dendritic cells, inducing an antiviral state in the vaginal and lung mucosa that increases resistance to infection with herpes simplex virus 1, influenza and Zika viruses.

    • Jeffrey I. Cohen
    News & Views
  • The bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus secretes a high-affinity insulin-binding protein that mediates insulin resistance, a major driver of obesity and type 2 diabetes, in a mouse model of infection.

    • Christopher Weidenmaier
    News & Views
  • Bacteria encode many strategies to prevent or escape infection. Through the analysis of metagenomic dark matter, several novel defence systems were identified, some of which were engineered and characterized in vivo, showing that they provide resistance against viruses and plasmids.

    • Rodolphe Barrangou
    • John van der Oost
    News & Views
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