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Temporal Progression of Pneumonic Plague in Blood of Nonhuman Primate: A Transcriptomic Analysis

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Journal Article

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U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research (USACEHR) Fort Detrick United States

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Early identification of impending illness during widespread exposure to a pathogenic agent offers a potential means to initiate treatment during a timeframe when it would be most likely to be effective and has the potential to identify novel therapeutic strategies. The latter could be critical, especially as antibiotic resistance is becoming widespread. In order to examine pre-symptomatic illness, African green monkeys were challenged intranasally with aerosolized Yersinia pestis strain CO92 and blood samples were collected in short intervals from 45 m till 42 h post-exposure. Presenting one of the first genomic investigations of a NHP model challenged by pneumonic plague, whole genome analysis was annotated in silico and validated by qPCR assay. Transcriptomic profiles of blood showed early perturbation with the number of differentially expressed genes increasing until 24 h. By then, Y. pestis had paralyzed the host defense, as suggested by the functional analyses. Early activation of the apoptotic networks possibly facilitated the pathogen to overwhelm the defense mechanisms, despite the activation of the pro-inflammatory mechanism, toll-like receptors and microtubules at the port-of-entry.

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