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  • Prof.  Charles Jaffe
Prof Charles Jaffe

Ongoing Research 

The leishmaniases are a spectrum of human diseases found in over 88 countries world-wide caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Leishmania. Both cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), caused by Leishmania major and L. tropica, and visceral (VL) leishmanasis, caused by L. infantum, are endemic to Israel. The latter disease is fatal if not rapidly diagnosed and treated. In many areas of the Mediterranean Region where it is strongly associated with AIDS VL is an emerging disease. In Israel it is a zoonotic disease with dogs and wild canids acting as the reservoir hosts. Together with Dr. Gad Baneth of the Kuvin Centre we are carrying out epidemiological work in central Israel on a new focus for VL with several studies underway to identify risk factors for disease in dogs and humans. Longitudinal studies on the immunology of canine VL before and after drug treatment are in progress using experimental models and naturally infected animals. This information will be vital to understanding disease spread and in developing new therapies for this fatal disease. New molecular diagnostic tests for leishmaniasis and other zoonotic diseases are also under development. These assays are used for patient diagnosis, both CL and VL, and studies on emerging CL foci in Israel. Routine identification of Leishmania species causing disease is carried out in our laboratory using an internal transcribed 1 spacer region of the rRNA gene (ITS1) - polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition serological and classical parasitological assays for leishmaniasis are also performed.
Other research carried out in my laboratory has focused on the role of leishmanial protein kinases (PK) specifically, cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and casein kinases (CK), in parasite virulence and survival. These PK enable the parasite to sense and respond to the external environment, as well as modify host soluble and cellular proteins. It was shown that some PKs are constitutively released by the parasite, while others are shed only in the presence of potential substrates for these enzymes. The genes for PKA catalytic and regulatory subunits; and casein kinase 1 (CK1) and CK2 isoforms were cloned and characterized. In addition, we have begun to screen PK inhibitors as potential new drugs for treatment of these diseases using fluorescent assays.
Key Publications
Ozbel, Y., Oskam, L., Ozensoy, S., Turgay, N., Alkan, M.Z., Jaffe, C.L. and Ozcel, M.A. (2000). A survey of canine leishmaniasis in western Turkey by parasite, DNA and antibody detection assays. Acta Tropica 74: 1-6.
Baneth, G., Shkap, V., Samish, M. and Jaffe, C.L. (2000). Antigenic analysis of gamonts of Hepatozoon canis purified from leukocytes. J. Parasitol. 86: 289-294.
Marom, D., Offer, I., Tamary, H., Jaffe, C.L., and Garty, B.Z. (2001). Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis associated with visceral leishmaniasis. Pediatric Haemotol. Oncol. 18: 65-70.
Siman-Tov, M.M., Ivens, A.C. and Jaffe, C.L. (2001). Identification and cloning of Lmairk, a member of the Aurora/Ipl1 protein kinase family, from the human protozoan parasite Leishmania. Biochim. Biophys. Acta – Gene Struct. Express. 1519: 241-245.
Duncan, R., Alvarez, R., Jaffe, C.L., Wiese, M., Klutch, M., Shakarian, A., Dwyer, D. and Nakhasi, H.L. (2001). Early response gene expression during differentiation of cultured Leishmania donovani. Parasitol. Res. 87: 897-906.
Abdeen, Z.A., Sawalha, S.S., Eisenberger, C.L., Khanfar, H.M., Greenblatt, C.L., Yousef, O., Schnur, L.F., Azmi, K., Warburg, A., Bader, K.A., Jaffe, C.L. and Baneth, G. (2002). Epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis in the Jeninn district, West Bank, Palestine, 1989 – 1998. Amer. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 66: 329-333.
Siman-Tov, M.M., Ivens, A.C. and Jaffe, C.L. (2002). Molecular cloning and characterization of two new isoforms of the protein kinase A catalytic subunit from the human parasite Leishmania. Gene 288: 65-75.
Ben-Ami, R., Golan, Y., Schnur, L.F., Jaffe, C.L., Mardi, T. and Zeltser, D. (2002). Adult visceral leishmaniasis in Israel caused by parasites resembling Leishmania donovani donovani: a case report and literature review. J. Infection. 44: 181-184.
Vieira, L.L., Sacerdoti-Sierra, N. and Jaffe, C.L. (2002). Effect of pH and temperature on protein kinase release by Leishmania donovani. Int. J. Parasitol. 32:1085-1093.
Bulle, B., Millon, L., Bart, J.M., Gallego, M., Gambarelli, F., Portus, M., Schnur, L., Jaffe, C.L., Alunda, J.M. and Piarroux, R. (2002). Practical approach for typing strains of Leishmania infantum by microsatellite analysis J. Clin Microb. 40: 3391-3397.
Adini, I., Ephros, M., Chen, J. and Jaffe, C.L. (2003). Asymptomatic visceral leishmaniasis in Northern Israel. Emerging Inf. Dis. 9: 397-398.
Jacobson, R. L., Eisenberger, C. L., Svobodova, M., Baneth, G., Sztern, J Carvalho, J., Naseredeen, A., El Fari, M., Shalom, U., Volf, P., Votypka, J., Dedet, J.-P., Pratlong, F., Schonian, G., Schnur, L. F., Jaffe, C. L. and Warburg, A. (2003). Outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Northern Israel. J. Inf. Dis. 188: 1065-1073.
Schonian, G., Nasereddin, A., Dinse, N., Schweynoch, C., Schallig, D.F.H., Presber, W. and Jaffe, C.L. (2003). A PCR method for the diagnosis and characterization of Leishmania in local and imported clinical samples. Diag. Microbiol. Inf. Dis. 47: 349-358.
Enk, C.D., Fritsch, C., Jonas, F., Nasereddin, A., Ingber, A., Jaffe, C.L. and Ruzicka, T. (2003). Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis with photodynamic therapy (PDT). Arch. Dermatol. 139: 432-434.
Marfurt, J., Nasereddin, A., Niederwieser, I., Jaffe, C.L., Beck, H.P. and Felger, I. (2003). Identification and differentiation of Leishmania species in clinical samples by PCR amplification of the mini-exon sequence and subsequent restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. J. Clin. Microb. 41: 3147-3153.
Jaffe, C.L. and Dwyer, D.M. (2003). Extracellular Release of the Surface Metalloprotease, gp63, from Leishmania and Insect Trypanosomatids. Parasitol. Res. 91: 229-237.
Schnur, L.F., Nasereddin, A., Eisenberger, C. L., Jaffe, C. L., El fari, M., Azmi, K., Anders, G., Killick-Kendrick, M., Killick-Kendrick, R., Dedet, J.-P., Pratlong, F. Kanaan, M., Grossman, T., Jacobson, R.L., Schonian, G. and Warburg, A. (2004). Multifarious characterization of Leishmania tropica from a Judean Desert focus, exposing intraspecific diversity and incriminating Phlebotomus Sergenti as its vector. J. Amer. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 70: 364-372.
Strauss-Ayali, D., Jaffe, C.L., Burshtain, O., Gonen, L. and Baneth, G. (2004). Non-invasive PCR for the detection of Leishmania infantum DNA in dogs. J. Inf. Dis. 189: 1729-1733.
Ya’ari, A., Jaffe, C.L. and Garty, B.Z. (2004). Visceral leishmaniasis in Israel. Israel Med. Ass. J. 6: 205-208.
Ehrenfreund-Kleinmam, T., Domb, A.J., Jaffe, C.L., Nasereddin, A ., Leshem, B. and Golenser, J. (2005). Effect of Amphotericin B Derivatives on Leishmania and Immune Functions. J. Parasitol. 91:158-163.
Strauss-Ayali, D., Baneth, G., Shor, S., Okano, F. and Jaffe, C.L. (2005). Interleukin-12 augments a Th1-type immune response manifested as lymphocyte proliferation and interferon gamma production in Leishmania infantum - infected dogs. Internat. J. Parasitol. 35:63-73.
Shani-Adir, A., Kamil, S., Rozenman, D., Schwartz, E., Ramon, M., Zalman, L., Nasereddin, A., Jaffe, C.L. and Ephros, M. (2005). Leishmania tropica in northern Israel– a clinical overview of an emerging focus. J Amer Acad Dermatol. I53:810-815.
Nasereddin, A., Ereqat, S., Azmi, K., Baneth, G., Jaffe, C.L. and Abdeen, Z. (2005). Serological survey with PCR validation for canine visceral leishmaniasis in Northern Palestine. J. Parasitol. In press.
Schwenkenbecher, J.M, Wirth, T., Schnur, L.F., Jaffe, C.L., Schallig, H., Al-Jawabreh, A., Hamarsheh, O., Azmi, K., Pratlong, F. and Schoenian, G. (2005). Microsatellite analysis reveals genetic structure of Leishmania tropica. Int. J. Parasitol. In press.
Nasereddin, A., Baneth, G., Schonian, G., Kanaan, M. and Jaffe, C.L. (2005). Molecular fingerprinting of Leishmania infantum strains following an outbreak of visceral leishmaniasis in Central Israel. J. Clin. Microbiol. In press.
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