The Parasite Diary

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30 posts · 15,800 views

I am fascinated by parasitic organisms and the way they interact with their hosts. I enjoy reading about exciting research that is being done in the world of parasites and discussing them in this blog. Contributions from other parasite fans are more than welcome.

Kasra Hassani
30 posts

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  • October 22, 2013
  • 01:22 PM
  • 252 views

Of Brain and Toxoplasma

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra This  wonderful comic had stayed in my drafts folder for a very long time and I had decided finally not to post since Calamaties of Nature had stopped publishing comics. But then again, a recent PLOS ONE paper reminded me of it again.  Toxoplasma gondii is one of my favorite parasites. It is one of […]... Read more »

  • August 21, 2013
  • 11:39 AM
  • 288 views

A link between Il-1beta and helminth chronicity

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra In contrary to many bacterial infections (TB put aside) helminth infections have the reputation of being chronic, not causing much short term damage and manipulating the host immune response. A Th2 response is canonically considered to be protective against helminth infection. However, there is a twist. In a recent publication in PLoS […]... Read more »

  • August 5, 2013
  • 08:48 AM
  • 291 views

Immunology meets epidemiology: A closer look at super spreaders

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Recent work by Gopinath et al. published in PLoS Pathogens touches a crucial issue in epidemiology of infectious diseases. We tend to look at infectious diseases as infecting everyone more or less uniformly. But many studies have shown that a great extent of heterogeneity exists in the amount of pathogen that is spread from […]... Read more »

Galvani AP, & May RM. (2005) Epidemiology: dimensions of superspreading. Nature, 438(7066), 293-5. PMID: 16292292  

  • July 31, 2013
  • 11:48 AM
  • 613 views

A new mechanism of immune evasion by Leishmania parasites

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra It is always pleasant to read papers published by friends and old colleagues.  Also it was about time I would write another post about Leishmania. This new paper published in Cell host and microbe (pubmed index) discusses a new mechanism that Leishmania parasites use to evade the host immunity.  A quick reminder, the promastigote forms of Leishmania […]... Read more »

Matheoud D, Moradin N, Bellemare-Pelletier A, Shio MT, Hong WJ, Olivier M, Gagnon E, Desjardins M, & Descoteaux A. (2013) Leishmania Evades Host Immunity by Inhibiting Antigen Cross-Presentation through Direct Cleavage of the SNARE VAMP8. Cell host , 14(1), 15-25. PMID: 23870310  

Olivier M, Atayde VD, Isnard A, Hassani K, & Shio MT. (2012) Leishmania virulence factors: focus on the metalloprotease GP63. Microbes and infection / Institut Pasteur, 14(15), 1377-89. PMID: 22683718  

  • July 22, 2013
  • 12:23 PM
  • 266 views

Macrophages commit ‘defensive suicide’ after Adenovirus and Listeria infection

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Cells often kill themselves for the benefit of their lot. New forms of cell suicide are being discovered every day now.  I wrote about apoptosis, which is a rather clean form of cell suicide recently. However, necrosis which until recently seemed to be a an uncontrolled form of cell death, is now […]... Read more »

  • July 12, 2013
  • 08:14 AM
  • 391 views

A new murine model of Giardia infection: linking pathogenesis to malnutrition

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Giardia is a very successful parasite.   It’s highly durable cysts enter the body via contaminated food. Once inside the small intestine, the cysts hatch and the trophozoites start swimming with their multiple flagella. They attach to the intestine’s surface and enjoy the nutrient rich environment of the small intestine.  Shortly after, […]... Read more »

Bartelt, L., Roche, J., Kolling, G., Bolick, D., Noronha, F., Naylor, C., Hoffman, P., Warren, C., Singer, S., & Guerrant, R. (2013) Persistent G. lamblia impairs growth in a murine malnutrition model. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123(6), 2672-2684. DOI: 10.1172/JCI67294  

  • June 24, 2013
  • 12:51 PM
  • 661 views

Exosomes derived from grapes communicate with intestinal stem cells

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra I worked on exosomes for some time, so I have written about them and other secreted vesicles every now and then. I still try to follow up the research in the field and get excited with the new findings, methods and applications. Here is exciting work by by Ju et al.  where they study […]... Read more »

Ju S, Mu J, Dokland T, Zhuang X, Wang Q, Jiang H, Xiang X, Deng ZB, Wang B, Zhang L.... (2013) Grape Exosome-like Nanoparticles Induce Intestinal Stem Cells and Protect Mice From DSS-Induced Colitis. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. PMID: 23752315  

  • June 12, 2013
  • 01:20 PM
  • 340 views

Bacteriophages may protect us against pathogens

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Given the extremely large amount of bacteria in our gastrointestinal track, it is not surprising to think that the gut would be also swarming with pathogens of bacteria, that is bacteriophages as well. In their recent work published in PNAS, Barr et al. take a look at what impact these particles could have […]... Read more »

Minot S, Grunberg S, Wu GD, Lewis JD, & Bushman FD. (2012) Hypervariable loci in the human gut virome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(10), 3962-6. PMID: 22355105  

  • June 5, 2013
  • 12:38 PM
  • 222 views

Apoptosis, not so quiet after all

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Apoptosis has been conventionally regarded as a quiet and non-inflammatory event, compared to necrosis which results in release of alarmins and other danger signals inducing inflammation and immune cell recruitment. However, a recent report by Cullen et al. published in Molecular Cell suggests otherwise. They suggest that at least in one form […]... Read more »

Cullen SP, Henry CM, Kearney CJ, Logue SE, Feoktistova M, Tynan GA, Lavelle EC, Leverkus M, & Martin SJ. (2013) Fas/CD95-induced chemokines can serve as "find-me" signals for apoptotic cells. Molecular cell, 49(6), 1034-48. PMID: 23434371  

  • May 29, 2013
  • 02:21 AM
  • 285 views

Cryptosporidium, the understudied killer

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Diarrhea is the second major killer of children under the age of 5 in developing countries (second to pneumonia). We know much less than we should about the causative agents, severity, burden etc. of diarrhea in developing countries. Funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, A Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) picked up the task […]... Read more »

  • May 15, 2013
  • 04:29 AM
  • 299 views

A systematic review in non-clinical research: a case of pathogen metabolites

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Doctors and scientists in the field of clinical research are well acquainted to systematic reviews and their importance in clinical research. The important difference between a normal review and a systematic review is that in the latter the authors make sure (or at least try very hard) to include and cover all the […]... Read more »

  • May 7, 2013
  • 10:41 AM
  • 332 views

Detecting picograms of protein in the secretome

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra When designing experiments in the lab, we usually say we cannot check for everything. Well, what if we could?! Meissner et al. used only 150,000 macrophages per sample to analyze their secretome. They have been able to detect and quantify protein abundances at the picogram level in a label-free system. Picogram detection [...]... Read more »

Meissner F, Scheltema RA, Mollenkopf HJ, & Mann M. (2013) Direct proteomic quantification of the secretome of activated immune cells. Science (New York, N.Y.), 340(6131), 475-8. PMID: 23620052  

  • May 2, 2013
  • 10:59 AM
  • 366 views

An intracellular receptor for antibodies

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by: Kasra We usually consider exiting the phagolysosome and entering the cell cytoplasm to be a immune evasion mechanism for pathogens. The pathogens inside the phagolysosome can be processed and presented via MHCII to the adaptive immune system, but once free of that compartment, the pathogen could potentially ‘hide’ from the immune system, well [...]... Read more »

  • April 18, 2013
  • 09:06 AM
  • 375 views

Tracking exosomes in vivo

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by: Kasra Application of exosomes for therapeutic, especially as drug delivery agents has been always an interest. However, there is limited knowledge on how these vesicles interact with the variety of the cells inside the body and how does the body react to their presence. Takahashi et al. have used exosomes released by a [...]... Read more »

  • November 27, 2012
  • 01:53 PM
  • 523 views

Degradation of the intestinal mucus barrier by whipworm

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by: Kasra I wrote recently about modulation of the host by intestinal worm Trichuris muris. Here is another brilliant study looking at the secreted proteins of this nematode and how they interact with the small intestine mucus.  Hasnain et al. published in PLoS NTD that secreted proteins of T. muris contain serine proteases that [...]... Read more »

  • October 23, 2012
  • 04:06 PM
  • 429 views

Communication between intestinal commensal bacteria and the host via membrane vesicles

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Releasing outer membrane vesicles or OMVs of by bacteria can be considered one of their protein secretion pathways. This pathway is especially important for carrying messages to longer distances than what other mechanisms such as type III secretion system can do. Although the gut is largely colonized, there is not much of [...]... Read more »

  • October 22, 2012
  • 09:02 AM
  • 520 views

Phosphatases for and against: Trichuris vs. Leishmania

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra Trichuris, is an intestinal roundworm, also known as whipworm, that can be transmitted through ingestion of food contaminated with its eggs. The larvae hatch inside the small intestine and complete their life cycle to adults in the cecum. After maturation, which can take about 3 months, the female worm lays thousands of [...]... Read more »

  • October 7, 2012
  • 05:15 AM
  • 322 views

From Ivory Towers to Public Tribunes

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by Kasra This is in continuation of a post by my old friend and classmate in his new exciting blog Genophoria. He expressed his rightful concerns about the rise of “Entertainment Science”, where he says scientists are coming out of their Ivory towers and shouting out their impressive and sometimes controversial findings to the [...]... Read more »

Fang FC, Steen RG, & Casadevall A. (2012) Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 23027971  

  • September 26, 2012
  • 08:32 AM
  • 442 views

Did fungi help mammals dominate Earth?

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

  Posted by Kasra   The Cretaceous mass extinction is one of the most exciting topics in evolutionary biology. There are always discussions on what caused the mass extinction, what happened during the extinction, what happened to all the dinosaurs, why did the mammals and birds survive, and so on. A recent article in PLoS [...]... Read more »

Casadevall A. (2012) Fungi and the rise of mammals. PLoS pathogens, 8(8). PMID: 22916007  

  • June 26, 2012
  • 10:02 PM
  • 498 views

The Manipulator and the Opportunist: Leishmania and HIV infection of monocytes

by Kasra Hassani in The Parasite Diary

Posted by: Maryam Ehteshami and Kasra Hassani It has been documented that HIV infection can render leishmaniasis harsher and reduce the chances of treatment response. On the other hand, Leishmania infection also accelerates HIV infection and disease progression. In this blog post, we summarize a recent article published in PLoS Pathogens, that explores the mechanism through which [...]... Read more »

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