Cells of the Cryptococcus yeast responsible for one of the three most life-threatening infections that commonly attack HIV infected patients, causing cryptococcal meningitis, are using a previously unknown way to avoid detection, according to scientists from the University of Birmingham, UK.
"We have shown that these airborne yeast cells can hide inside our bodies' own white blood cells, called macrophages, and then use them as vehicles to travel around inside our bodies, using them just like a bus," said Miss Hansong Ma of the University of Birmingham. "The yeast cells then escape from inside the macrophages when they arrive at the right destination - but importantly, they do this without killing the macrophage, which would trigger alarm bells."
When a host's cells are invaded by bacteria, fungi or viruses the invaders usually use the opportunity to multiply inside the cells and escape by bursting out, killing the host and releasing thousands of copies of the pathogen to attack other cells. The death of the host cell releases debris and by-products which usually triggers our bodies into mounting an immune response, causing inflammation.
"This new method of remaining inside the host cells means that the pathogen can spread more efficiently round our bodies and is protected from the natural defences in our bloodstream that would normally kill the yeast or other invader," said Hansong Ma. "Yeast cells avoid killing or damaging the macrophages. They leave by a method that we call 'vomocytosis'; the yeast cells are acting like spies rather than terrorists, and go unnoticed, giving them more time to establish an infection."
Although the use of antiretroviral drugs is cutting the number of AIDS patients with Cryptococcus infections there is still a major epidemic in Southeast Asia and Africa. Up to 30% of AIDS patients there are infected, and up to 44% will die from the disease within 8 weeks. Even in the USA or European countries like France where antiretroviral drug treatments are readily available, one in ten infected patients will die.
"We badly need to better understand the interaction between hosts, viruses and attacking pathogens like the yeast fungus to help us find new drug targets and so design new ways to treat these patients," said Hansong Ma.
"We used time-lapse microscope photography to identify this new escape mechanism, and watched the yeast cells escaping into the fluid surrounding cells or, remarkably, directly into other host cells through cell-to-cell transmission, continuing to avoid detection by using this extremely rapid vomocytosis," said Hansong Ma. "Worryingly, this enables the cryptococci to avoid antifungal drugs and other treatments as well as our normal immune system, and may allow the yeast to become latent, achieving a long-term infectious state which could then be spread even further, to other individuals, without anyone realising."
Lucy Goodchild | alfa
World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering