Researchers from Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and elsewhere used genotyping and functional comparisons to look at the evolution and persistence of HIV sequences that impact the virus' interaction with human leukocyte antigens (HLA) in infected human hosts over time — work they report in PLOS Genetics. The team focused on HIV and HLA patterns with 382 HIV cases from New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Vancouver from between 2000 and 2011. By comparing these with cases in the same cities from between 1979 and 1989 when the HIV epidemic was first detected in North America, the investigators identified an ancestral HIV sequence. Although they detected immune escape mutations in North American HIV populations over time, the study's authors note that the rate with which the mutations are appearing is "unlikely to have major immediate immunologic consequences for the North American epidemic."
A collection of papers in PLOS One, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Genetics studies focus on tsetse fly features that have been found with the help of a new genome sequence for the tsetse fly species Glossina morsitans, which was reported in Science last week by members of the International Glossina Genome Initiative. In PLOS One, for example, researchers from Yale School of Public Health and Oregon State University examine the impact that oxidative stress has on reproduction in the tsetse fly, an insect that can give birth to live larvae that are nourished with a milk-like liquid produced by lactating mother flies. In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, meanwhile, collaborating teams took a closer look at everything from the receptors that tsetse flies use to detect taste and smell to the shifts in salivary gland gene expression in tsetse flies that are infected with sleeping sickness-causing pathogens.