El grupo de investigación tiene como objetivo generar conocimiento en áreas relevantes para el país en temáticas relacionadas con la salud y producción animal, medicina de poblaciones, zoonosis y medicina de la conservación. Para el cumplimiento de este objetivo el grupo desarrolla proyectos de investigación enmarcado en cinco líneas de investigación las cuales son: Producción animal, Medicina de Poblaciones, Medicina de la Conservación, Zoonosis y Salud Animal. Los proyectos realizados en el campo de la medicina de la conservación han permitido la conservación de especies nativas tales como el pez capitán de la sabana y la Pacarana.
Plasmodium vivax in vitro continuous culture: The spoke in the wheel
Understanding the life cycle of Plasmodium vivax is fundamental for developing strategies aimed at controlling and eliminating this parasitic species. Although advances in omic sciences and high-throughput techniques in recent years have enabled the identification and characterization of proteins which might be participating in P. vivax invasion of target cells, exclusive parasite tropism for invading reticulocytes has become the main obstacle in maintaining a continuous culture for this species. Such advance that would help in defining each parasite protein’s function in the complex process of P. vivax invasion, in addition to evaluating new therapeutic agents, is still a dream. Advances related to maintenance, culture medium supplements and the use of different sources of reticulocytes and parasites (strains and isolates) have been made regarding the development of an in vitro culture for P. vivax; however, only some cultures having few replication cycles have been obtained to date, meaning that this parasite’s maintenance goes beyond the technical components involved. Although it is still not yet clear which molecular mechanisms P. vivax prefers for invading young CD71+ reticulocytes [early maturation stages (I-II-III)], changes related to membrane proteins remodelling of such cells could form part of the explanation. The most relevant aspects regarding P. vivax in vitro culture and host cell characteristics have been analysed in this review to explain possible reasons why the species’ continuous in vitro culture is so difficult to standardize. Some alternatives for P. vivax in vitro culture have also been described
On the evolution and function of Plasmodium vivax reticulocyte binding surface antigen (pvrbsa)
The RBSA protein is encoded by a gene described in Plasmodium species having tropism for reticulocytes. Since this protein is antigenic in natural infections and can bind to target cells, it has been proposed as a potential candidate for an anti-Plasmodium vivax vaccine. However, genetic diversity (a challenge which must be overcome for ensuring fully effective vaccine design) has not been described at this locus. Likewise, the minimum regions mediating specific parasite-host interaction have not been determined. This is why the rbsa gene’s evolutionary history is being here described, as well as the P. vivax rbsa (pvrbsa) genetic diversity and the specific regions mediating parasite adhesion to reticulocytes. Unlike what has previously been reported, rbsa was also present in several parasite species belonging to the monkey-malaria clade; paralogs were also found in Plasmodium parasites invading reticulocytes. The pvrbsa locus had less diversity than other merozoite surface proteins where natural selection and recombination were the main evolutionary forces involved in causing the observed polymorphism. The N-terminal end (PvRBSA-A) was conserved and under functional constraint; consequently, it was expressed as recombinant protein for binding assays. This protein fragment bound to reticulocytes whilst the C-terminus, included in recombinant PvRBSA-B (which was not under functional constraint), did not. Interestingly, two PvRBSA-A-derived peptides were able to inhibit protein binding to reticulocytes. Specific conserved and functionally important peptides within PvRBSA-A could thus be considered when designing a fully-effective vaccine against P. vivax. © 2018 Camargo-Ayala, Garzón-Ospina, Moreno-Pérez, Ricaurte-Contreras, Noya and Patarroyo.
Morphometric, anatomic and radiographic study of the scapula in the white-footed tamarin (Saguinus leucopus): report of scapular cartilage and one variation in cranial (superior) transverse scapular ligament
The white-footed tamarin (Saguinus leucopus) is an endangered endemic primate of Colombia, mainly due to the deforestation of its habitat and illegal trade, which generates a high incidence of these animals in wildlife care centres. Musculoskeletal system disorders in S. leucopus are one of the most common diseases and therefore the aim of this study was to contribute to the morphologic studies with a morphometric, anatomic and radiographic description of the scapula in this species to provide a basis for medical interventions, surgical approaches, radiologic diagnoses and comparative functions of this bone. Gross dissections of each scapular region were made in eight specimens without a diagnosis of osteomuscular disease. These specimens died from natural cases in the wildlife care centres of the Corporación Autónoma Regional de Caldas (CORPORCALDAS); after necropsy their carcasses were fixed with 10% formaldehyde, 5% mineral oil and 1% phenic acid in these centres over the course of at least 1 week. X-rays of the scapula were taken in the small animal clinic of the Universidad del Tolima, and morphometric data of the scapulae were obtained with a digital calliper. The scapula of the white-footed tamarin was a flat triangular bone with a deep scapular notch in its cranial margin, where there was a cranial transverse scapular ligament that was absent in two specimens. The coracoid process was highly developed, medially covering the humeral joint. The dorsal margin was covered by the scapular cartilage, which was highly developed in the caudal angle. In the dorsal fourth of the caudal margin, there was a surface from which the m. teres major originated. The lateral surface had a scapular spine with a long hamatus process of the acromion until the lateral part of the humeral joint. The infraspinatus fossa was wider than the supraspinous fossa. On the costal surface, the subscapular fossa was formed by three subscapular lines and one subscapular ridge, the latter helping to form the surface for the m. teres major. In the two radiographic views, caudocranial to the scapula and dorsoventral to the thorax, the scapular spine, acromion, coracoid process, scapular incisura, supraglenoid tubercle, caudal margin, subscapular ridge, and the joints with the clavicle and the humerus could be observed. The scapula of the white-footed tamarin presented bony reliefs that share characteristics with other primates but also with domestic mammals due to its quadrupedal locomotion, which allowed us to correlate its morphologic adaptation with its quadrupedal arboreal displacement.