A review on host-leptospira interactions: what we know and future expectations

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Leptospirosis is a widespread zoonosis caused by pathogenic Leptospira spp. It is considered a neglected infectious disease of human and veterinary concern. Our group has been investigating proteins annotated as hypothetical, predicted to be located on the leptospiral surface. Because of their location, these proteins may have the ability to interact with various host components, which could allow establishment of the infection. These proteins act as adherence factors by binding to host receptor molecules, such as the extracellular matrix (ECM) components laminin and glycosaminoglycans to help bacterial colonization. Leptospira also interacts with the host fibrinolytic system, which has been demonstrated to be a powerful tool for invasion mechanisms. The interaction with fibrinogen and thrombin has been shown to reduce fibrin clot formation. Additionally, the degradation of coagulation cascade components by secreted proteases or by acquired surface plasmin could also play a role in reducing clot formation, hence facilitating dissemination during infection. Interaction with host complement system regulators also plays a role in helping bacteria to evade the immune system, facilitating invasion. Interaction of Leptospira to cell receptors, such as cadherins, can contribute to investigate molecules that participate in virulence. To achieve a better understanding of the host-pathogen interaction, leptospiral mutagenesis tools have been developed and explored. This work presents several proteins that mediate binding to components of the ECM, plasma, components of the complement system and cells, to gather research achievements that can be helpful in better understanding the mechanisms of leptospiral-host interactions and discuss genetic manipulation for Leptospira spp. aimed at protein function validation.
Daroz B, Fernandes LGV, Pereira MFC, Kochi LT, Passalia FJ, Takahashi MB, et al. A review on host-leptospira interactions: what we know and future expectations. Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 2021 Nov;11:777709. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2021.777709.
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