Publications by authors named "Paul M Sharp"

86 Publications

CD4 receptor diversity represents an ancient protection mechanism against primate lentiviruses.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Mar;118(13)

Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba Project, BP 2012, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Infection with human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV/SIV) requires binding of the viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) to the host protein CD4 on the surface of immune cells. Although invariant in humans, the Env binding domain of the chimpanzee CD4 is highly polymorphic, with nine coding variants circulating in wild populations. Here, we show that within-species CD4 diversity is not unique to chimpanzees but found in many African primate species. Characterizing the outermost (D1) domain of the CD4 protein in over 500 monkeys and apes, we found polymorphic residues in 24 of 29 primate species, with as many as 11 different coding variants identified within a single species. D1 domain amino acid replacements affected SIV Env-mediated cell entry in a single-round infection assay, restricting infection in a strain- and allele-specific fashion. Several identical CD4 polymorphisms, including the addition of -linked glycosylation sites, were found in primate species from different genera, providing striking examples of parallel evolution. Moreover, seven different guenons ( spp.) shared multiple distinct D1 domain variants, pointing to long-term trans-specific polymorphism. These data indicate that the HIV/SIV Env binding region of the primate CD4 protein is highly variable, both within and between species, and suggest that this diversity has been maintained by balancing selection for millions of years, at least in part to confer protection against primate lentiviruses. Although long-term SIV-infected species have evolved specific mechanisms to avoid disease progression, primate lentiviruses are intrinsically pathogenic and have left their mark on the host genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2025914118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8020793PMC
March 2021

Heightened resistance to host type 1 interferons characterizes HIV-1 at transmission and after antiretroviral therapy interruption.

Sci Transl Med 2021 01;13(576)

Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Type 1 interferons (IFN-I) are potent innate antiviral effectors that constrain HIV-1 transmission. However, harnessing these cytokines for HIV-1 cure strategies has been hampered by an incomplete understanding of their antiviral activities at later stages of infection. Here, we characterized the IFN-I sensitivity of 500 clonally derived HIV-1 isolates from the plasma and CD4 T cells of 26 individuals sampled longitudinally after transmission or after antiretroviral therapy (ART) and analytical treatment interruption. We determined the concentration of IFNα2 and IFNβ that reduced viral replication in vitro by 50% (IC) and found consistent changes in the sensitivity of HIV-1 to IFN-I inhibition both across individuals and over time. Resistance of HIV-1 isolates to IFN-I was uniformly high during acute infection, decreased in all individuals in the first year after infection, was reacquired concomitant with CD4 T cell loss, and remained elevated in individuals with accelerated disease. HIV-1 isolates obtained by viral outgrowth during suppressive ART were relatively IFN-I sensitive, resembling viruses circulating just before ART initiation. However, viruses that rebounded after treatment interruption displayed the highest degree of IFNα2 and IFNβ resistance observed at any time during the infection course. These findings indicate a dynamic interplay between host innate responses and the evolving HIV-1 quasispecies, with the relative contribution of IFN-I to HIV-1 control affected by both ART and analytical treatment interruption. Although elevated at transmission, host innate pressures are the highest during viral rebound, limiting the viruses that successfully become reactivated from latency to those that are IFN-I resistant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abd8179DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7923595PMC
January 2021

Ape Origins of Human Malaria.

Annu Rev Microbiol 2020 09;74:39-63

Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA; email:

African apes harbor at least twelve species, some of which have been a source of human infection. It is now well established that emerged following the transmission of a gorilla parasite, perhaps within the last 10,000 years, while emerged earlier from a parasite lineage that infected humans and apes in Africa before the Duffy-negative mutation eliminated the parasite from humans there. Compared to their ape relatives, both human parasites have greatly reduced genetic diversity and an excess of nonsynonymous mutations, consistent with severe genetic bottlenecks followed by rapid population expansion. A putative new species widespread in chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos places the origin of in Africa. Here, we review what is known about the origins and evolutionary history of all human-infective species, the time and circumstances of their emergence, and the diversity, host specificity, and zoonotic potential of their ape counterparts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-micro-020518-115628DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7643433PMC
September 2020

Chemically directed structure evolution for crystal structure prediction.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2020 Aug;22(32):18205-18218

Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, L69 7ZD Liverpool, UK.

We present a new method of evolving crystal structures for crystal structure prediction. The method of chemically directed structure evolution uses chemical models to quantify the environment of atoms and vacancy sites in a crystal structure, with that information used to inform how to modify the structure to make a move on the potential energy surface. We have developed a method of chemically directed swapping, where we swap atoms in the least favourable chemical environments. This method has been implemented in the crystal structure prediction code ChemDASH (Chemically Directed Atom Swap Hopping), which explores the potential energy surface using a basin-hopping approach, and evaluates chemical environments using either the bond valence sum or electrostatic site potential. ChemDASH has a variety of methods of initialising structures, optimising structures, and swapping atoms. This gives ChemDASH the flexibility to be applied to a wide range of systems. We used ChemDASH to examine the effectiveness of the directed swapping method. Directed swapping finds the ground states of TiO2 and SrTiO3 faster than random (non-directed) swapping, but is less effective than random swapping for Y2Ti2O7.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0cp02206cDOI Listing
August 2020

Computationally Guided Discovery of the Sulfide LiAlS in the Li-Al-S Phase Field: Structure and Lithium Conductivity.

Chem Mater 2019 Dec 23;31(23):9699-9714. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, L69 7ZD Liverpool, U.K.

With the goal of finding new lithium solid electrolytes by a combined computational-experimental method, the exploration of the Li-Al-O-S phase field resulted in the discovery of a new sulfide LiAlS. The structure of the new phase was determined through an approach combining synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction with Li and Al magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and revealed to be a highly ordered cationic polyhedral network within a sulfide anion -type sublattice. The originality of the structure relies on the presence of AlS repeating dimer units consisting of two edge-shared Al tetrahedra. We find that, in this structure type consisting of alternating tetrahedral layers with Li-only polyhedra layers, the formation of these dimers is constrained by the Al/S ratio of 1/3. Moreover, by comparing this structure to similar phases such as LiAlS and LiAlGeS ((Al + Ge)/S = 1/4), we discovered that the AlS dimers not only influence atomic displacements and Li polyhedral distortions but also determine the overall Li polyhedral arrangement within the lattice, leading to the presence of highly ordered vacancies in both the tetrahedral and Li-only layer. AC impedance measurements revealed a low lithium mobility, which is strongly impacted by the presence of ordered vacancies. Finally, a composition-structure-property relationship understanding was developed to explain the extent of lithium mobility in this structure type.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.9b03230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7011735PMC
December 2019

Ancient Introgression between Two Ape Malaria Parasite Species.

Genome Biol Evol 2019 11;11(11):3269-3274

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, and Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

The Laverania clade comprises the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum as well as at least seven additional parasite species that infect wild African apes. A recent analysis of Laverania genome sequences (Otto TD, et al. 2018. Genomes of all known members of a Plasmodium subgenus reveal paths to virulent human malaria. Nat Microbiol. 3: 687-697) reported three instances of interspecies gene transfer, one of which had previously been described. Generating gene sequences from additional ape parasites and re-examining sequencing reads generated in the Otto et al. study, we identified one of the newly described gene transfers as an assembly artifact of sequences derived from a sample coinfected by two parasite species. The second gene transfer between ancestors of two divergent chimpanzee parasite lineages was confirmed, but involved a much larger number of genes than originally described, many of which encode exported proteins that remodel, or bind to, erythrocytes. Because successful hybridization between Laverania species is very rare, it will be important to determine to what extent these gene transfers have shaped their host interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evz244DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145702PMC
November 2019

Adaptation of Plasmodium falciparum to humans involved the loss of an ape-specific erythrocyte invasion ligand.

Nat Commun 2019 10 4;10(1):4512. Epub 2019 Oct 4.

Malaria Programme, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge, CB10 1SA, UK.

Plasmodium species are frequently host-specific, but little is currently known about the molecular factors restricting host switching. This is particularly relevant for P. falciparum, the only known human-infective species of the Laverania sub-genus, all other members of which infect African apes. Here we show that all tested P. falciparum isolates contain an inactivating mutation in an erythrocyte invasion associated gene, PfEBA165, the homologues of which are intact in all ape-infective Laverania species. Recombinant EBA165 proteins only bind ape, not human, erythrocytes, and this specificity is due to differences in erythrocyte surface sialic acids. Correction of PfEBA165 inactivating mutations by genome editing yields viable parasites, but is associated with down regulation of both PfEBA165 and an adjacent invasion ligand, which suggests that PfEBA165 expression is incompatible with parasite growth in human erythrocytes. Pseudogenization of PfEBA165 may represent a key step in the emergence and evolution of P. falciparum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12294-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6778099PMC
October 2019

Metabarcoding reveals a high diversity of woody host-associated spp. in soils at public gardens and amenity woodlands in Britain.

PeerJ 2019 16;7:e6931. Epub 2019 May 16.

Forest Research, Roslin, Midlothian, UK.

Forests and woodlands worldwide are being severely impacted by invasive species, with initial outbreaks in some cases occurring on host trees located in public parks and gardens. These highly disturbed sites with diverse planting practices may indeed act as harbours for invasive pathogens which are particularly well adapted to surviving in soil. High throughput Illumina sequencing was used to analyse species diversity in soil samples collected from 14 public garden/amenity woodland sites in northern Britain. Bioinformatic analyses revealed some limitations to using internal transcribed spacer as the barcode region; namely reporting of false positives and ambiguous species matches. Taking this into account, 35 distinct sequences were amplified across the sites, corresponding to 23 known species as well as twelve oomycete sequences with no match to any known species. and , both of which cause serious damage to trees and are regarded as fairly recent introductions to Britain, were the two most abundant species detected. There was no evidence that any of the detected species were more associated with any one type of host, healthy or otherwise. This study has demonstrated the ubiquity and diversity of species endemic in highly managed, extensively planted soil environments in Britain. Suggested improvements to the methodology and the practical implications of the findings in terms of mitigating spread and impact are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6931DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6526010PMC
May 2019

CD4 receptor diversity in chimpanzees protects against SIV infection.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 02 4;116(8):3229-3238. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, In Defense of Animals-Africa, Portland, OR 97204.

Human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV/SIVs) use CD4 as the primary receptor to enter target cells. Here, we show that the chimpanzee CD4 is highly polymorphic, with nine coding variants present in wild populations, and that this diversity interferes with SIV envelope (Env)-CD4 interactions. Testing the replication fitness of SIVcpz strains in CD4 T cells from captive chimpanzees, we found that certain viruses were unable to infect cells from certain hosts. These differences were recapitulated in CD4 transfection assays, which revealed a strong association between CD4 genotypes and SIVcpz infection phenotypes. The most striking differences were observed for three substitutions (Q25R, Q40R, and P68T), with P68T generating a second N-linked glycosylation site (N66) in addition to an invariant N32 encoded by all chimpanzee CD4 alleles. In silico modeling and site-directed mutagenesis identified charged residues at the CD4-Env interface and clashes between CD4- and Env-encoded glycans as mechanisms of inhibition. CD4 polymorphisms also reduced Env-mediated cell entry of monkey SIVs, which was dependent on at least one D1 domain glycan. CD4 allele frequencies varied among wild chimpanzees, with high diversity in all but the western subspecies, which appeared to have undergone a selective sweep. One allele was associated with lower SIVcpz prevalence rates in the wild. These results indicate that substitutions in the D1 domain of the chimpanzee CD4 can prevent SIV cell entry. Although some SIVcpz strains have adapted to utilize these variants, CD4 diversity is maintained, protecting chimpanzees against infection with SIVcpz and other SIVs to which they are exposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1821197116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6386711PMC
February 2019

CHIIMP: An automated high-throughput microsatellite genotyping platform reveals greater allelic diversity in wild chimpanzees.

Ecol Evol 2018 Aug 16;8(16):7946-7963. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Departments of Microbiology and Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

Short tandem repeats (STRs), also known as microsatellites, are commonly used to noninvasively genotype wild-living endangered species, including African apes. Until recently, capillary electrophoresis has been the method of choice to determine the length of polymorphic STR loci. However, this technique is labor intensive, difficult to compare across platforms, and notoriously imprecise. Here we developed a MiSeq-based approach and tested its performance using previously genotyped fecal samples from long-term studied chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Using data from eight microsatellite loci as a reference, we designed a bioinformatics platform that converts raw MiSeq reads into locus-specific files and automatically calls alleles after filtering stutter sequences and other PCR artifacts. Applying this method to the entire Gombe population, we confirmed previously reported genotypes, but also identified 31 new alleles that had been missed due to sequence differences and size homoplasy. The new genotypes, which increased the allelic diversity and heterozygosity in Gombe by 61% and 8%, respectively, were validated by replicate amplification and pedigree analyses. This demonstrated inheritance and resolved one case of an ambiguous paternity. Using both singleplex and multiplex locus amplification, we also genotyped fecal samples from chimpanzees in the Greater Mahale Ecosystem in Tanzania, demonstrating the utility of the MiSeq-based approach for genotyping nonhabituated populations and performing comparative analyses across field sites. The new automated high-throughput analysis platform (available at https://github.com/ShawHahnLab/chiimp) will allow biologists to more accurately and effectively determine wildlife population size and structure, and thus obtain information critical for conservation efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4302DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145012PMC
August 2018

Evolutionary history of human revealed by genome-wide analyses of related ape parasites.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 09 20;115(36):E8450-E8459. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104;

Wild-living African apes are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human , a leading cause of malaria outside Africa. This finding suggests that the origin of was in Africa, even though the parasite is now rare in humans there. To elucidate the emergence of human and its relationship to the ape parasites, we analyzed genome sequence data of strains infecting six chimpanzees and one gorilla from Cameroon, Gabon, and Côte d'Ivoire. We found that ape and human parasites share nearly identical core genomes, differing by only 2% of coding sequences. However, compared with the ape parasites, human strains of exhibit about 10-fold less diversity and have a relative excess of nonsynonymous nucleotide polymorphisms, with site-frequency spectra suggesting they are subject to greatly relaxed purifying selection. These data suggest that human has undergone an extreme bottleneck, followed by rapid population expansion. Investigating potential host-specificity determinants, we found that ape parasites encode intact orthologs of three reticulocyte-binding protein genes (, , and ), which are pseudogenes in all human strains. However, binding studies of recombinant RBP2e and RBP3 proteins to human, chimpanzee, and gorilla erythrocytes revealed no evidence of host-specific barriers to red blood cell invasion. These data suggest that, from an ancient stock of parasites capable of infecting both humans and apes, a severely bottlenecked lineage emerged out of Africa and underwent rapid population growth as it spread globally.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810053115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130405PMC
September 2018

Investigating zoonotic infection barriers to ape Plasmodium parasites using faecal DNA analysis.

Int J Parasitol 2018 06 21;48(7):531-542. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:

African apes are endemically infected with numerous Plasmodium spp. including close relatives of human Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae. Although these ape parasites are not believed to pose a zoonotic threat, their ability to colonise humans has not been fully explored. In particular, it remains unknown whether ape parasites are able to initiate exo-erythrocytic replication in human hepatocytes following the bite of an infective mosquito. Since animal studies have shown that liver stage infection can result in the excretion of parasite nucleic acids into the bile, we screened faecal samples from 504 rural Cameroonians for Plasmodium DNA. Using pan-Laverania as well as P. malariae- and P. vivax-specific primer sets, we amplified human P. falciparum (n = 14), P. malariae (n = 1), and P. ovale wallikeri (n = 1) mitochondrial sequences from faecal DNA of 15 individuals. However, despite using an intensified PCR screening approach we failed to detect ape Laverania, ape P. vivax or ape P. malariae parasites in these same subjects. One faecal sample from a hunter-gatherer contained a sequence closely related to the porcupine parasite Plasmodium atheruri. Since this same faecal sample also contained porcupine mitochondrial DNA, but a matching blood sample was Plasmodium-negative, it is likely that this hunter-gatherer consumed Plasmodium-infected bushmeat. Faecal Plasmodium detection was not secondary to intestinal bleeding and/or infection with gastrointestinal parasites, but indicative of blood parasitaemia. Quantitative PCR identified 26-fold more parasite DNA in the blood of faecal Plasmodium-positive than faecal Plasmodium-negative individuals (P = 0.01). However, among blood-positive individuals only 10% - 20% had detectable Plasmodium sequences in their stool. Thus, faecal screening of rural Cameroonians failed to uncover abortive ape Plasmodium infections, but detected infection with human parasites, albeit with reduced sensitivity compared with blood analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2017.12.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5971147PMC
June 2018

Adaptive Evolution of RH5 in Ape species of the Subgenus.

mBio 2018 01 23;9(1). Epub 2018 Jan 23.

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

, the major cause of malaria morbidity and mortality in humans, has been shown to have emerged after cross-species transmission of one of six host-specific parasites (subgenus ) infecting wild chimpanzees () and western gorillas (). Binding of the parasite-encoded ligand RH5 to the host protein basigin is essential for erythrocyte invasion and has been implicated in host specificity. A recent study claimed to have found two amino acid changes in RH5 that "drove the host shift leading to the emergence of as a human pathogen." However, the ape data available at that time, which included only a single distantly related chimpanzee parasite sequence, were inadequate to justify any such conclusion. Here, we have investigated gene evolution using sequences from all six ape parasite species. Searching for gene-wide episodic selection across the entire phylogeny, we found eight codons to be under positive selection, including three that correspond to contact residues known to form hydrogen bonds between RH5 and human basigin. One of these sites (residue 197) has changed subsequent to the transmission from apes to humans that gave rise to , suggesting a possible role in the adaptation of the gorilla parasite to the human host. We also found evidence that the patterns of nucleotide polymorphisms in are not typical of species and likely reflect the recent demographic history of the human parasite. A number of closely related, host-specific malaria parasites infecting wild chimpanzees and gorillas have recently been described. The most important cause of human malaria, , is now known to have resulted from a cross-species transmission of one of the gorilla parasites. Overcoming species-specific interactions between a parasite ligand, RH5, and its receptor on host cells, basigin, was likely an important step in the origin of the human parasite. We have investigated the evolution of the gene and found evidence of adaptive changes during the diversification of the ape parasite species at sites that are known to form bonds with human basigin. One of these changes occurred at the origin of , implicating it as an important adaptation to the human host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02237-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784257PMC
January 2018

Wild bonobos host geographically restricted malaria parasites including a putative new Laverania species.

Nat Commun 2017 11 21;8(1):1635. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Malaria parasites, though widespread among wild chimpanzees and gorillas, have not been detected in bonobos. Here, we show that wild-living bonobos are endemically Plasmodium infected in the eastern-most part of their range. Testing 1556 faecal samples from 11 field sites, we identify high prevalence Laverania infections in the Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba (TL2) area, but not at other locations across the Congo. TL2 bonobos harbour P. gaboni, formerly only found in chimpanzees, as well as a potential new species, Plasmodium lomamiensis sp. nov. Rare co-infections with non-Laverania parasites were also observed. Phylogenetic relationships among Laverania species are consistent with co-divergence with their gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo hosts, suggesting a timescale for their evolution. The absence of Plasmodium from most field sites could not be explained by parasite seasonality, nor by bonobo population structure, diet or gut microbiota. Thus, the geographic restriction of bonobo Plasmodium reflects still unidentified factors that likely influence parasite transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01798-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5696340PMC
November 2017

Morphological and Genetic Analyses of the Invasive Forest Pathogen Phytophthora austrocedri Reveal that Two Clonal Lineages Colonized Britain and Argentina from a Common Ancestral Population.

Phytopathology 2017 12 26;107(12):1532-1540. Epub 2017 Oct 26.

First, third, and fifth authors: Forest Research, Northern Research Station, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9SY, United Kingdom; second author: Forest Research, Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH, United Kingdom; and fourth author: Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3FL, United Kingdom.

Phytophthora austrocedri is causing widespread mortality of Austrocedrus chilensis in Argentina and Juniperus communis in Britain. The pathogen has also been isolated from J. horizontalis in Germany. Isolates from Britain, Argentina, and Germany are homothallic, with no clear differences in the dimensions of sporangia, oogonia, or oospores. Argentinian and German isolates grew faster than British isolates across a range of media and had a higher temperature tolerance, although most isolates, regardless of origin, grew best at 15°C and all isolates were killed at 25°C. Argentinian and British isolates caused lesions when inoculated onto both A. chilensis and J. communis; however, the Argentinian isolate caused longer lesions on A. chilensis than on J. communis and vice versa for the British isolate. Genetic analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial loci showed that all British isolates are identical. Argentinian isolates and the German isolate are also identical but differ from the British isolates. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms are shared between the British and Argentinian isolates. We concluded that British isolates and Argentinian isolates conform to two distinct clonal lineages of P. austrocedri founded from the same as-yet-unidentified source population. These lineages should be recognized and treated as separate risks by international plant health legislation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-03-17-0126-RDOI Listing
December 2017

Effective treatment of SIVcpz-induced immunodeficiency in a captive western chimpanzee.

Retrovirology 2017 06 2;14(1):35. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

Department of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Simian immunodeficiency virus of chimpanzees (SIVcpz), the progenitor of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), is associated with increased mortality and AIDS-like immunopathology in wild-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Surprisingly, however, similar findings have not been reported for chimpanzees experimentally infected with SIVcpz in captivity, raising questions about the intrinsic pathogenicity of this lentivirus.

Findings: Here, we report progressive immunodeficiency and clinical disease in a captive western chimpanzee (P. t. verus) infected twenty years ago by intrarectal inoculation with an SIVcpz strain (ANT) from a wild-caught eastern chimpanzee (P. t. schweinfurthii). With sustained plasma viral loads of 10 to 10 RNA copies/ml for the past 15 years, this chimpanzee developed CD4+ T cell depletion (220 cells/μl), thrombocytopenia (90,000 platelets/μl), and persistent soft tissue infections refractory to antibacterial therapy. Combination antiretroviral therapy consisting of emtricitabine (FTC), tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), and dolutegravir (DTG) decreased plasma viremia to undetectable levels (<200 copies/ml), improved CD4+ T cell counts (509 cell/μl), and resulted in the rapid resolution of all soft tissue infections. However, initial lack of adherence and/or differences in pharmacokinetics led to low plasma drug concentrations, which resulted in transient rebound viremia and the emergence of FTC resistance mutations (M184V/I) identical to those observed in HIV-1 infected humans.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that SIVcpz can cause immunodeficiency and other hallmarks of AIDS in captive chimpanzees, including P. t. verus apes that are not naturally infected with this virus. Moreover, SIVcpz-associated immunodeficiency can be effectively treated with antiretroviral therapy, although sufficiently high plasma concentrations must be maintained to prevent the emergence of drug resistance. These findings extend a growing body of evidence documenting the immunopathogenicity of SIVcpz and suggest that experimentally infected chimpanzees may benefit from clinical monitoring and therapeutic intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12977-017-0359-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5457593PMC
June 2017

Resistance to type 1 interferons is a major determinant of HIV-1 transmission fitness.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 01 9;114(4):E590-E599. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104;

Sexual transmission of HIV-1 is an inefficient process, with only one or few variants of the donor quasispecies establishing the new infection. A critical, and as yet unresolved, question is whether the mucosal bottleneck selects for viruses with increased transmission fitness. Here, we characterized 300 limiting dilution-derived virus isolates from the plasma, and in some instances genital secretions, of eight HIV-1 donor and recipient pairs. Although there were no differences in the amount of virion-associated envelope glycoprotein, recipient isolates were on average threefold more infectious (P = 0.0001), replicated to 1.4-fold higher titers (P = 0.004), were released from infected cells 4.2-fold more efficiently (P < 0.00001), and were significantly more resistant to type I IFNs than the corresponding donor isolates. Remarkably, transmitted viruses exhibited 7.8-fold higher IFNα2 (P < 0.00001) and 39-fold higher IFNβ (P < 0.00001) half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC) than did donor isolates, and their odds of replicating in CD4 T cells at the highest IFNα2 and IFNβ doses were 35-fold (P < 0.00001) and 250-fold (P < 0.00001) greater, respectively. Interestingly, pretreatment of CD4 T cells with IFNβ, but not IFNα2, selected donor plasma isolates that exhibited a transmitted virus-like phenotype, and such viruses were also detected in the donor genital tract. These data indicate that transmitted viruses are phenotypically distinct, and that increased IFN resistance represents their most distinguishing property. Thus, the mucosal bottleneck selects for viruses that are able to replicate and spread efficiently in the face of a potent innate immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1620144114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5278458PMC
January 2017

Out of Africa: origins and evolution of the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax.

Int J Parasitol 2017 02 2;47(2-3):87-97. Epub 2016 Jul 2.

Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Department of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:

Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax account for more than 95% of all human malaria infections, and thus pose a serious public health challenge. To control and potentially eliminate these pathogens, it is important to understand their origins and evolutionary history. Until recently, it was widely believed that P. falciparum had co-evolved with humans (and our ancestors) over millions of years, whilst P. vivax was assumed to have emerged in southeastern Asia following the cross-species transmission of a parasite from a macaque. However, the discovery of a multitude of Plasmodium spp. in chimpanzees and gorillas has refuted these theories and instead revealed that both P. falciparum and P. vivax evolved from parasites infecting wild-living African apes. It is now clear that P. falciparum resulted from a recent cross-species transmission of a parasite from a gorilla, whilst P. vivax emerged from an ancestral stock of parasites that infected chimpanzees, gorillas and humans in Africa, until the spread of the protective Duffy-negative mutation eliminated P. vivax from human populations there. Although many questions remain concerning the biology and zoonotic potential of the P. falciparum- and P. vivax-like parasites infecting apes, comparative genomics, coupled with functional parasite and vector studies, are likely to yield new insights into ape Plasmodium transmission and pathogenesis that are relevant to the treatment and prevention of human malaria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.05.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5205579PMC
February 2017

Multigenomic Delineation of Plasmodium Species of the Laverania Subgenus Infecting Wild-Living Chimpanzees and Gorillas.

Genome Biol Evol 2016 07 2;8(6):1929-39. Epub 2016 Jul 2.

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, and Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Plasmodium falciparum, the major cause of malaria morbidity and mortality worldwide, is only distantly related to other human malaria parasites and has thus been placed in a separate subgenus, termed Laverania Parasites morphologically similar to P. falciparum have been identified in African apes, but only one other Laverania species, Plasmodium reichenowi from chimpanzees, has been formally described. Although recent studies have pointed to the existence of additional Laverania species, their precise number and host associations remain uncertain, primarily because of limited sampling and a paucity of parasite sequences other than from mitochondrial DNA. To address this, we used limiting dilution polymerase chain reaction to amplify additional parasite sequences from a large number of chimpanzee and gorilla blood and fecal samples collected at two sanctuaries and 30 field sites across equatorial Africa. Phylogenetic analyses of more than 2,000 new sequences derived from the mitochondrial, nuclear, and apicoplast genomes revealed six divergent and well-supported clades within the Laverania parasite group. Although two of these clades exhibited deep subdivisions in phylogenies estimated from organelle gene sequences, these sublineages were geographically defined and not present in trees from four unlinked nuclear loci. This greatly expanded sequence data set thus confirms six, and not seven or more, ape Laverania species, of which P. reichenowi, Plasmodium gaboni, and Plasmodium billcollinsi only infect chimpanzees, whereas Plasmodium praefalciparum, Plasmodium adleri, and Pladmodium blacklocki only infect gorillas. The new sequence data also confirm the P. praefalciparum origin of human P. falciparum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evw128DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943199PMC
July 2016

Comparative genomics reveals genes significantly associated with woody hosts in the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae.

Mol Plant Pathol 2016 12 15;17(9):1409-1424. Epub 2016 Jul 15.

Centre for Ecosystems, Society and Biosecurity, Forest Research, Midlothian EH25 9SY, UK.

The diversification of lineages within Pseudomonas syringae has involved a number of adaptive shifts from herbaceous hosts onto various species of tree, resulting in the emergence of highly destructive diseases such as bacterial canker of kiwi and bleeding canker of horse chestnut. This diversification has involved a high level of gene gain and loss, and these processes are likely to play major roles in the adaptation of individual lineages onto their host plants. In order to better understand the evolution of P. syringae onto woody plants, we have generated de novo genome sequences for 26 strains from the P. syringae species complex that are pathogenic on a range of woody species, and have looked for statistically significant associations between gene presence and host type (i.e. woody or herbaceous) across a phylogeny of 64 strains. We have found evidence for a common set of genes associated with strains that are able to colonize woody plants, suggesting that divergent lineages have acquired similarities in genome composition that may form the genetic basis of their adaptation to woody hosts. We also describe in detail the gain, loss and rearrangement of specific loci that may be functionally important in facilitating this adaptive shift. Overall, our analyses allow for a greater understanding of how gene gain and loss may contribute to adaptation in P. syringae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12423DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5132102PMC
December 2016

Genomes of cryptic chimpanzee Plasmodium species reveal key evolutionary events leading to human malaria.

Nat Commun 2016 Mar 22;7:11078. Epub 2016 Mar 22.

Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104 Pennsylvania, USA.

African apes harbour at least six Plasmodium species of the subgenus Laverania, one of which gave rise to human Plasmodium falciparum. Here we use a selective amplification strategy to sequence the genome of chimpanzee parasites classified as Plasmodium reichenowi and Plasmodium gaboni based on the subgenomic fragments. Genome-wide analyses show that these parasites indeed represent distinct species, with no evidence of cross-species mating. Both P. reichenowi and P. gaboni are 10-fold more diverse than P. falciparum, indicating a very recent origin of the human parasite. We also find a remarkable Laverania-specific expansion of a multigene family involved in erythrocyte remodelling, and show that a short region on chromosome 4, which encodes two essential invasion genes, was horizontally transferred into a recent P. falciparum ancestor. Our results validate the selective amplification strategy for characterizing cryptic pathogen species, and reveal evolutionary events that likely predisposed the precursor of P. falciparum to colonize humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4804174PMC
March 2016

Ape parasite origins of human malaria virulence genes.

Nat Commun 2015 Oct 12;6:8368. Epub 2015 Oct 12.

Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Antigens encoded by the var gene family are major virulence factors of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, exhibiting enormous intra- and interstrain diversity. Here we use network analysis to show that var architecture and mosaicism are conserved at multiple levels across the Laverania subgenus, based on var-like sequences from eight single-species and three multi-species Plasmodium infections of wild-living or sanctuary African apes. Using select whole-genome amplification, we also find evidence of multi-domain var structure and synteny in Plasmodium gaboni, one of the ape Laverania species most distantly related to P. falciparum, as well as a new class of Duffy-binding-like domains. These findings indicate that the modular genetic architecture and sequence diversity underlying var-mediated host-parasite interactions evolved before the radiation of the Laverania subgenus, long before the emergence of P. falciparum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633637PMC
October 2015

RNA-mediated degradation of microRNAs: A widespread viral strategy?

RNA Biol 2015 ;12(6):579-85

a Institute of Immunology and Infection Research; School of Biological Sciences; University of Edinburgh ; Edinburgh , UK.

Regulation of small RNAs by other non-coding RNAs is a ubiquitous feature of gene regulatory systems that can be exploited by viruses. Examples of this have been described in 3 different herpesviruses, where viral non-coding RNAs bind to highly abundant cellular (miRNAs), mediating their degradation: miR-27 is targeted by both murine cytomegalovirus and herpesvirus saimiri, while the miR-17 family is targeted by human cytomegalovirus. We review what is known about RNA-mediated regulation of miRNA stability and propose 3 potential roles that viral non-coding RNAs might assume to initiate the destruction of a miRNA, acting as "recruiters," "localizers" or "exposers." Whereas the miRNAs (miR-17 and miR-27) appear to be ancient and pre-date the common ancestor of all mammalian herpesviruses, comparative analyses of herpesvirus genomes indicate that the 3 known viral regulators of miRNA each evolved independently, and much more recently. Noting that the anti-viral activity of miRNAs might be countered by a variety of mechanisms, we propose that (i) there has been continual turnover of these mechanisms during herpesvirus evolution, and (ii) there may be many other, as yet undescribed, anti-miRNA activities encoded by other herpesviruses and indeed by viruses from other families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2015.1034912DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615357PMC
October 2015

Origin of the HIV-1 group O epidemic in western lowland gorillas.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 Mar 2;112(11):E1343-52. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Unité Mixte Internationale 233, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, INSERM U1175, and University of Montpellier, 34394 Montpellier, France; Computational Biology Institute, 34095 Montpellier, France

HIV-1, the cause of AIDS, is composed of four phylogenetic lineages, groups M, N, O, and P, each of which resulted from an independent cross-species transmission event of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) infecting African apes. Although groups M and N have been traced to geographically distinct chimpanzee communities in southern Cameroon, the reservoirs of groups O and P remain unknown. Here, we screened fecal samples from western lowland (n = 2,611), eastern lowland (n = 103), and mountain (n = 218) gorillas for gorilla SIV (SIVgor) antibodies and nucleic acids. Despite testing wild troops throughout southern Cameroon (n = 14), northern Gabon (n = 16), the Democratic Republic of Congo (n = 2), and Uganda (n = 1), SIVgor was identified at only four sites in southern Cameroon, with prevalences ranging from 0.8-22%. Amplification of partial and full-length SIVgor sequences revealed extensive genetic diversity, but all SIVgor strains were derived from a single lineage within the chimpanzee SIV (SIVcpz) radiation. Two fully sequenced gorilla viruses from southwestern Cameroon were very closely related to, and likely represent the source population of, HIV-1 group P. Most of the genome of a third SIVgor strain, from central Cameroon, was very closely related to HIV-1 group O, again pointing to gorillas as the immediate source. Functional analyses identified the cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G as a barrier for chimpanzee-to-gorilla, but not gorilla-to-human, virus transmission. These data indicate that HIV-1 group O, which spreads epidemically in west central Africa and is estimated to have infected around 100,000 people, originated by cross-species transmission from western lowland gorillas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1502022112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371950PMC
March 2015

Nef proteins of epidemic HIV-1 group O strains antagonize human tetherin.

Cell Host Microbe 2014 Nov 12;16(5):639-50. Epub 2014 Nov 12.

Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081 Ulm, Germany. Electronic address:

Most simian immunodeficiency viruses use their Nef protein to antagonize the host restriction factor tetherin. A deletion in human tetherin confers Nef resistance, representing a hurdle to successful zoonotic transmission. HIV-1 group M evolved to utilize the viral protein U (Vpu) to counteract tetherin. Although HIV-1 group O has spread epidemically in humans, it has not evolved a Vpu-based tetherin antagonism. Here we show that HIV-1 group O Nef targets a region adjacent to this deletion to inhibit transport of human tetherin to the cell surface, enhances virion release, and increases viral resistance to inhibition by interferon-α. The Nef protein of the inferred common ancestor of group O viruses is also active against human tetherin. Thus, Nef-mediated antagonism of human tetherin evolved prior to the spread of HIV-1 group O and likely facilitated secondary virus transmission. Our results may explain the epidemic spread of HIV-1 group O.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2014.10.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274627PMC
November 2014

The extent of genome flux and its role in the differentiation of bacterial lineages.

Genome Biol Evol 2014 Jun 12;6(6):1514-29. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, United KingdomCentre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and gene loss are key processes in bacterial evolution. However, the role of gene gain and loss in the emergence and maintenance of ecologically differentiated bacterial populations remains an open question. Here, we use whole-genome sequence data to quantify gene gain and loss for 27 lineages of the plant-associated bacterium Pseudomonas syringae. We apply an extensive error-control procedure that accounts for errors in draft genome data and greatly improves the accuracy of patterns of gene occurrence among these genomes. We demonstrate a history of extensive genome fluctuation for this species and show that individual lineages could have acquired thousands of genes in the same period in which a 1% amino acid divergence accrues in the core genome. Elucidating the dynamics of genome fluctuation reveals the rapid turnover of gained genes, such that the majority of recently gained genes are quickly lost. Despite high observed rates of fluctuation, a phylogeny inferred from patterns of gene occurrence is similar to a phylogeny based on amino acid replacements within the core genome. Furthermore, the core genome phylogeny suggests that P. syringae should be considered a number of distinct species, with levels of divergence at least equivalent to those between recognized bacterial species. Gained genes are transferred from a variety of sources, reflecting the depth and diversity of the potential gene pool available via HGT. Overall, our results provide further insights into the evolutionary dynamics of genome fluctuation and implicate HGT as a major factor contributing to the diversification of P. syringae lineages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evu123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4079204PMC
June 2014

African origin of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.

Nat Commun 2014 ;5:3346

Division of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QH, UK.

Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America but is absent from most of central Africa due to the near fixation of a mutation that inhibits the expression of its receptor, the Duffy antigen, on human erythrocytes. The emergence of this protective allele is not understood because P. vivax is believed to have originated in Asia. Here we show, using a non-invasive approach, that wild chimpanzees and gorillas throughout central Africa are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human P. vivax. Sequence analyses reveal that ape parasites lack host specificity and are much more diverse than human parasites, which form a monophyletic lineage within the ape parasite radiation. These findings indicate that human P. vivax is of African origin and likely selected for the Duffy-negative mutation. All extant human P. vivax parasites are derived from a single ancestor that escaped out of Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4346DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4089193PMC
November 2015
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