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  1. Hopkins, William (Ed.)
  2. Pathogen interactions arising during coinfection can exacerbate disease severity, for example when the immune response mounted against one pathogen negatively affects defense of another. It is also possible that host immune responses to a pathogen, shaped by historical evolutionary interactions between host and pathogen, may modify host immune defenses in ways that have repercussions for other pathogens. In this case, negative interactions between two pathogens could emerge even in the absence of concurrent infection. Parasitic worms and tuberculosis (TB) are involved in one of the most geographically extensive of pathogen interactions, and during coinfection worms can exacerbate TB disease outcomes. Here, we show that in a wild mammal natural resistance to worms affects bovine tuberculosis (BTB) severity independently of active worm infection. We found that worm-resistant individuals were more likely to die of BTB than were nonresistant individuals, and their disease progressed more quickly. Anthelmintic treatment moderated, but did not eliminate, the resistance effect, and the effects of resistance and treatment were opposite and additive, with untreated, resistant individuals experiencing the highest mortality. Furthermore, resistance and anthelmintic treatment had nonoverlapping effects on BTB pathology. The effects of resistance manifested in the lungs (the primary site of BTB infection), while themore »effects of treatment manifested almost entirely in the lymph nodes (the site of disseminated disease), suggesting that resistance and active worm infection affect BTB progression via distinct mechanisms. Our findings reveal that interactions between pathogens can occur as a consequence of processes arising on very different timescales.

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  3. Novel parasites can have wide-ranging impacts, not only on host populations, but also on the resident parasite community. Historically, impacts of novel parasites have been assessed by examining pairwise interactions between parasite species. However, parasite communities are complex networks of interacting species. Here we used multivariate taxonomic and trait-based approaches to determine how parasite community composition changed when African buffalo ( Syncerus caffer ) acquired an emerging disease, bovine tuberculosis (BTB). Both taxonomic and functional parasite richness increased significantly in animals that acquired BTB than in those that did not. Thus, the presence of BTB seems to catalyze extraordinary shifts in community composition. There were no differences in overall parasite taxonomic composition between infected and uninfected individuals, however. The trait-based analysis revealed an increase in direct-transmitted, quickly replicating parasites following BTB infection. This study demonstrates that trait-based approaches provide insight into parasite community dynamics in the context of emerging infections.
  4. Abstract

    Regeneration is rare in mammals, but spiny mice (Acomys spp.) naturally regenerate skin and ear holes. Inflammation is thought to inhibit regeneration during wound healing, but aspects of inflammation contribute to both regeneration and pathogen defense. We compared neutrophil traits among uninjured, regeneration-competent (Acomys: A. cahirinus, A. kempi, A. percivali) and -incompetent (Mus musculus: Swiss Webster, wild-caught strains) murids to test for constitutive differences in neutrophil quantity and function between these groups. Neutrophil quantity differed significantly among species. In blood, Acomys had lower percentages of circulating neutrophils than Mus; and in bone marrow, Acomys had higher percentages of band neutrophils and lower percentages of segmented neutrophils. Functionally, Acomys and Mus neutrophils did not differ in their ability to migrate or produce reactive oxygen species, but Acomys neutrophils phagocytosed more fungal zymosan. Despite this enhanced phagocytosis activity, Acomys neutrophils were not more effective than Mus neutrophils at killing Escherichia coli. Interestingly, whole blood bacteria killing was dominated by serum in Acomys versus neutrophils only or neutrophils and serum in Mus, suggesting that Acomys primarily rely on serum to kill bacteria whereas Mus do not. These subtle differences in neutrophil traits may allow regeneration-competent species to offset damaging effects of inflammationmore »without compromising pathogen defense.

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