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Volume 8, Issue 9, pp. 203 - 238, September 2021

Issue cover
Cover: The cover depicts Gloeotrichia echinulata, a large colonial diazotrophic cyanobacterium, under an epifluorescent microscope which emits ultraviolet light. Using ultraviolet light, the filaments glow red from chlorophyll, while other pigments give various hues of purple, which may be a hint about the health of the cells (image created by the US Geological Survey and retrieved via Flickr; the image was modified by MIC). The cover is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Enlarge issue cover


The long and winding road of reverse genetics in Trypanosoma cruzi

Miguel A. Chiurillo and Noelia Lander

page 203-207 | 10.15698/mic2021.09.758 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Trypanosomes are early divergent protists with distinctive features among eukaryotic cells. Together with Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma cruzi has been one of the most studied members of the group. This protozoan parasite is the causative agent of Chagas disease, a leading cause of heart disease in the Americas, for which there is no vaccine or satisfactory treatment available. Understanding T. cruzi biology is crucial to identify alternative targets for antiparasitic interventions. Genetic manipulation of T. cruzi has been historically challenging. However, the emergence of CRISPR/Cas9 technology has significantly improved the ability to generate genetically modified T. cruzi cell lines. Still, the system alone is not sufficient to answer all biologically relevant questions. In general, current genetic methods have limitations that should be overcome to advance in the study of this peculiar parasite. In this brief historic overview, we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the molecular strategies that have been developed to genetically modify T. cruzi, emphasizing the future directions of the field.


Understanding the pathogenesis of infectious diseases by single-cell RNA sequencing

Wanqiu Huang, Danni Wang and Yu-Feng Yao

page 208-222 | 10.15698/mic2021.09.759 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Infections are highly orchestrated and dynamic processes, which involve both pathogen and host. Transcriptional profiling at the single-cell level enables the analysis of cell diversity, heterogeneity of the immune response, and detailed molecular mechanisms underlying infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Herein, we highlight recent remarkable advances in single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technologies and their applications in the investigation of host-pathogen interactions, current challenges and potential prospects for disease treatment are discussed as well. We propose that with the aid of scRNA-seq, the mechanism of infectious diseases will be further revealed thus inspiring the development of novel interventions and therapies.

Research Articles

Landscapes and bacterial signatures of mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota in Chilean and Spanish patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Nayaret Chamorro, David A. Montero, Pablo Gallardo, Mauricio Farfán, Mauricio Contreras, Marjorie De la Fuente, Karen Dubois, Marcela A. Hermoso, Rodrigo Quera, Marjorie Pizarro-Guajardo, Daniel Paredes-Sabja, Daniel Ginard, Ramon Rosselló-Móra and Roberto Vidal

page 223-238 | 10.15698/mic2021.09.760 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), which include ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), cause chronic inflammation of the gut, affecting millions of people worldwide. IBDs have been frequently associated with an alteration of the gut microbiota, termed dysbiosis, which is generally characterized by an increase in abundance of Proteobacteria such as Escherichia coli, and a decrease in abundance of Firmicutes such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (an indicator of a healthy colonic microbiota). The mechanisms behind the development of IBDs and dysbiosis are incompletely understood. Using samples from colonic biopsies, we studied the mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota in Chilean and Spanish patients with IBD. In agreement with previous studies, microbiome comparison between IBD patients and non-IBD controls indicated that dysbiosis in these patients is characterized by an increase of pro-inflammatory bacteria (mostly Proteobacteria) and a decrease of commensal beneficial bacteria (mostly Firmicutes). Notably, bacteria typically residing on the mucosa of healthy individuals were mostly obligate anaerobes, whereas in the inflamed mucosa an increase of facultative anaerobe and aerobic bacteria was observed. We also identify potential co-occurring and mutually exclusive interactions between bacteria associated with the healthy and inflamed mucosa, which appear to be determined by the oxygen availability and the type of respiration. Finally, we identified a panel of bacterial biomarkers that allow the discrimination between eubiosis from dysbiosis with a high diagnostic performance (96% accurately), which could be used for the development of non-invasive diagnostic methods. Thus, this study is a step forward towards understanding the landscapes and alterations of mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota in patients with IBDs.

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