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PLOS Papers on Human Enteroviruses in Uruguay, Canine Bocaviruses, Obesity-Associated Gut Bugs

A team of researchers in South America tracks down previously undetected human enteroviruses in Uruguay for a paper in PLOS One. Using targeted deep amplicon sequencing, the investigators tested dozens of wastewater samples collected in cities in the country's northwest from 2011 to 2012 and between 2017 and 2018, identifying enterovirus sequences in 50 of the samples considered. That set included 27 viruses classified as Enterovirus A, Enterovirus B, or Enterovirus C, prompting them to take a more in-depth look at enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) and echovirus 30 (E30) sub-groups related to those found in nearby Argentina. "Our results show that a previously unrecognized diversity of [enterovirus] types circulated in Uruguay," the authors write. "Some of these types silently spread into the communities in the absence of published reports from medical diagnosis about diseases such as [aseptic meningitis], encephalitis, or [acute flaccid paralysis]."

For a paper in PLOS One, researchers from Thailand assess dog brain samples from animals with encephalopathy symptoms to search for potential ties to canine bocaviruses (CBoVs), an intestinal disease-linked pathogen that appears capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. With PCR-based analyses of more than 100 brain samples from dogs with encephalopathy and dozens of deceased dogs with histologically normal brains, the team saw canine bocavirus-2 (CBoV-2) in samples from 15 dogs showing signs of encephalopathy but none of the unaffected dogs — results explored in more detail using genome sequencing, phylogenetic analyses, in situ hybridization, imaging, and other approaches. "This study provides novel insights into CBoV-2 tropism, suggesting that CBoV-2 plays a potential role in canine encephalopathy," the authors report, noting that the study more broadly "provides novel avenues for future research on CBoV-2, and the CBoV-2 infection in dogs may serve as a model for comparative studies of other BoV infections."

Investigators in China detail distinct gut microbial community features in dozens of individuals with or without obesity for another study appearing in PLOS One. When they compared 16S ribosomal RNA sequences in fecal samples from 21 affected and 21 seemingly healthy individuals from Beijing, they narrowed in on species-, genus-, and phylum-level differences in gut microbe representation in the obesity group compared to the more slender control group, along with shifts in microbial metabolic pathways and other apparent functional differences in the gut microbiome. "Overall, our study revealed differences in the gut microbiota between people with obesity and control subjects," they say, "providing novel target[s] for the treatment of individuals with obesity."