Tag Archives: Yersinia Pestis

Amber’s Pick: Light a candle

Hi everyone!  Amber has a very interesting edition of Editor’ Pick this month.  She has summarized three papers from the September issue.  This issue was dedicated to  Prof. Gianfranco Del Prete who was a prominent researcher in basic and clinical immunology with specific contributions in T cell immunology.  You can read a very special Editorial by Editor-in-Chief Salvatore Rubino dedicated to Pro. Gianfranco Del Prete in our September Issue.  Please enjoy her post!


Light a candle

While reading the current issue of JIDC, it was hard to select ONE paper for editor’s pick. Check out the JIDC’s September collection and you will find a feast of three excellent articles that cover many interesting aspects of plague.  The plague is a well-established biosecurity risk and one of the oldest diseases known that has claimed around 200 million human lives. According to estimates, bubonic (characterized by enlarged and tender lymph nodes), septecemic or pneumonic forms of plague cause up to 90% mortality in humans, if left untreated.

Yersinia Pestis Image from CDC Public Health Image Library

The etiologic agent of the disease, Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis) is a facultative intracellular bacterium which enters in the human body either by direct contact with infected rodents or by the bites of fleas that live on infected rodent bodies. Upon entry, the foreplay of Y. pestis through its unique signature LPS (LipoPolySaccharide (Endotoxin)) shuts down the TLR4 mediated activation of the proinflammatory host response and helps the bug to proliferate in phagocytic cells. Picture to the left from Public Health Image Library of Yersinia pestis.

In the article by Amedei et al., you will find the description of the exclusive interaction of Y. pestis with innate immune response. The authors further depict the augmented antigen presentation of the Yop proteins from Y. pestis that directly suppress T-lymphocyte activation which is pivotal to combat bacterial infections. A fine reading of T-cell mediated immunity, effector T-cell function, Th cytokine network and signaling pathways is contributed by Elios et al. The pictorial demos of the articles are just superb and help the readers to comprehend complicated stories. BTW I also love the color contrasts …

Figure 1 from D'Elios et al., JIDC 2011

Coming back to plague story, it’s very important to also be aware of disease prevention. In the third article, Sun et al. describe the issues related to the development of plague vaccines. They further discuss the pros and cons of vaccines that are presently under

Figure 1 from Sun et al., JIDC 2011

clinical trials and those that could be potential candidates in future. The authors also share their own experiences in their attempts to develop live attenuated vaccine using a genetically manipulated Y. pestis strain that does not express virulence genes in the challenging environment of host tissues.

Figure 2 from Sun et al., JIDC 2011

JIDC published these articles in memory of an eminent immunologist and a dear friend, Prof. Gianfranco Del Prete. His contributions to plague research were well received globally.

What could be better to paying tribute to a scientist than to remember him with more exciting scientific discussions! I am still thinking…..

Many people have said, “It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness”. JIDC just did the same.



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Filed under Amber, Bacteria, Editor's Pick, Infectious Disease, People, Yersinia pestis