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Microbiology

Category: Microbiology

Australian scientists may have found a way to stop deadly bacteria from infecting patients. The discovery could lead to a whole new way of treating antibiotic-resistant "superbugs". The researchers have uncovered what may be an Achilles heel on the bacteria cell membrane that could act as a potential novel drug target.


These are microscope images showing two species of algae which swim using tiny appendages known as flagella.
Long before there were fish swimming in the oceans, tiny microorganisms were using long slender appendages called cilia and flagella to navigate their watery habitats. Now, new research reveals that species of single-celled algae coordinate their flagella to achieve a remarkable diversity of swimming gaits.

A group of researchers from Osaka University, Hosei University, and Nagoya University have revealed the molecular mechanism that Vibrio cholerae, the etiological agent of cholera, is attracted by bile. This group has also successfully detected the ligand binding to the bacteria chemoreceptor in vivo for the first time. These results may significantly advance research on mechanism and control of V. cholerae.


This is a new and expanded view of the tree of life.
The tree of life, which depicts how life has evolved and diversified on the planet, is getting a lot more complicated.

Bacteria are the most abundant form of life on Earth, and they are capable of living in diverse habitats ranging from the surface of rocks to the insides of our intestines. Over millennia, these adaptable little organisms have evolved a variety of specialized mechanisms to move themselves through their particular environments. In two recent Caltech studies, researchers used a state-of-the-art imaging technique to capture, for the first time, three-dimensional views of this tiny complicated machinery in bacteria.

In eLife today (22 March), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists show how the parasite responsible for the neglected tropical disease Black Fever (visceral leishmaniasis) can become resistant to drug treatment. Studying the whole genomes of more than 200 samples of Leishmania donovani revealed that the addition of just two bases of DNA to a gene known as LdAQP1 stops the parasite from absorbing antimonial drugs.

In the microscopic life that thrives around coral reefs, San Diego State University researchers have discovered an interplay between viruses and microbes that defies conventional wisdom. As the density of microbes rises in an ecosystem, the number of viruses infecting those microbes rises with it. It has generally been assumed that this growing population of viruses, in turn, kills more and more microbes, keeping the microbial population in check. It's a model known as "kill-the-winner" -- the winners being the blooming microbial cells and the killers being the viruses (mostly bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages) that infect them.


Electron micrograph of the marine bacteria Marinomonas mediterranea is shown.
Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, the Stanford University School of Medicine and two other institutions have discovered that bacteria have a system that can recognize and disrupt dangerous viruses using a newly identified mechanism involving ribonucleic acid (RNA). It is similar to the CRISPR/Cas system that captures foreign DNA. The discovery might lead to better ways to thwart viruses that kill agricultural crops and interfere with the production of dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.


A parasite in a trout gill is coated with IgT, labeled green. IgT both responds to pathogens and appears to control the commensal bacteria in the gills.
Oriol Sunyer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, has described fish as "an open gut swimming." Their mucosal surfaces -- their skin, digestive tract and gills -- are in constant contact with water, including any pathogens that that water may contain.

Scientists chase unicorns because if they could prove the existence of the magical beasts, the world would be a better place.

The Zika virus, possibly linked to serious birth defects in Brazil, has the potential to spread within the Americas, including parts of the United States, according to an international team of researchers who track the spread of infectious diseases.

While scientists have known for years that African trypanosomes cause sleeping sickness, they've been left scratching their heads as to how these tiny single-celled organisms communicate. A University of Georgia study, published Jan. 14 in the journal Cell, helps solve this mystery.


This is an Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Having confirmed the first cases of infection in Suriname then in French Guiana, the Institut Pasteur in French Guiana has sequenced the complete genome of the Zika virus, which is responsible for an unprecedented epidemic currently sweeping through the tropical regions of the Americas. Published in The Lancet medical journal, the analysis of this sequence shows almost complete homology with the strains responsible for the epidemic that occurred in the Pacific in 2013 and 2014.


Green fluorescent protein-tagged herpes simplex virus is reactivating from cultures of neurons.
When we get cold sores, the reason is likely related to stress. In particular, the neurons in which the herpes simplex virus (HSV) reside, are under stress. For the first time, researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine discovered a cellular mechanism that allows the virus to reactivate. They also found how brain cells are duped into allowing bits of virus to escape the very repressive environment in neurons and cause disease.

Want to make a virus? It's easy: combine one molecule of genomic nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA, and a handful of proteins, shake, and in a fraction of a second you'll have a fully-formed virus.

Migration between different communities of bacteria is the key to the type of gene transfer that can lead to the spread of traits such as antibiotic resistance, according to researchers at Oxford University.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) are part of an international team led by the University of Bonn, Germany, who have found a link between the origin of hepatitis A virus (HAV) and small mammals. With the emergence of Ebola virus from bats and hantaviruses from rodents, investigators say identifying the other species infected with HAV provides novel insight into the evolution of HAV and how it spread to humans, and highlights the utility of analyzing animal reservoirs for risk assessment of emerging viruses.

MicrobiologyOctober 30, 2015 07:15 PM

At the University of Cologne, biophysicists in the lab of Professor Berenike Maier were now able to show how differential mechanical forces can lead to cell sorting in biofilms, thereby determining their architecture. In their publication in the journal eLife, the team headed by the biophysicist Enno Oldewurtel showed how specific mechanical forces can be the key to the structure of a biofilm. Bacteria with different surface structures organized themselves in a "tug of war": the cells actively moved in the direction in which they could pull the strongest onto neighboring bacteria.

A consortium of 48 scientists from 50 institutions in the United States - including Pamela Silver, Ph.D., a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University - are calling for a Unified Microbiome Initiative that would span national cross-institutional and cross-governmental agency support. The group, called the Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium (UMIC), envisions that a coordinated effort would drive forward cutting edge microbiome research, enabling breakthrough advances across medicine, ecosystem management, sustainable energy and production of commodities. Their proposal was published online in the journal Science on October 28.


This is the helminth Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri (Hpb), which infects rodents. Here seen under fluorescent staining. Hpb was used in the mouse part of this study.
EPFL researchers have discovered how intestinal worm infections cross-talk with gut bacteria to help the immune system.


Brian Mahon and Avni Bhatt, graduate research assistants in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, inspect a bacterium that is used to produce carbonic anhydrase.
A type of bacteria plucked from the bottom of the ocean could be put to work neutralizing large amounts of industrial carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, a group of University of Florida researchers has found.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease currently endemic in more than 10 countries. According to the World Health Organization, 390 million people are infected by dengue every year.


This is Associate Professor Solomon in the wheat biosecurity lab at the Research School of Biology.
Researchers have unraveled the mystery cause of the emerging wheat disease White Grain Disorder.


Seal liver infected with novel hepatitis A-like virus was dubbed phopivirus.
Scientists in the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have discovered a new virus in seals that is the closest known relative of the human hepatitis A virus. The finding provides new clues on the emergence of hepatitis A. The research appears in the July/August issue of mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Advances in the field of statistics are helping to unlock the mysteries of the human microbiome--the vast collection of microorganisms living in and on the bodies of humans, said Katherine Pollard, a statistician and biome expert, during a session today at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM 2015) in Seattle.


Lassa fever is endemic to West Africa.
An international team of researchers has developed the largest genomic data set in the world on Lassa virus (LASV). The new genomic catalog contains nearly 200 viral genomes collected from patient samples in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, as well as field samples from the major animal reservoir, or host, of Lassa virus--the rodent Mastomys natalensis, also called the multimammate rat. The researchers show that LASV strains cluster into four major groups based on geographic location, with three in Nigeria and one in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Although Lassa fever was first described in modern-day Nigeria in 1969, the current study also suggests that these four LASV strains originated from a common ancestral virus more than 1,000 years ago and spread across West Africa within the last several hundred years.

Are the same regions and even the same cells of the brain area called hippocampus involved in encoding and retrieving memories or are different areas of this structure engaged? This question has kept neuroscientists busy for a long time. Researchers at the Mercator Research Group "Structure of Memory" at RUB have now found out that the same brain cells exhibit activity in both processes. They have published their results in the journal "Hippocampus".

For decades, researchers have worked to improve cacao fermentation by controlling the microbes involved. Now, to their surprise, a team of Belgian researchers has discovered that the same species of yeast used in production of beer, bread, and wine works particularly well in chocolate fermentation. The research was published ahead of print July 6th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.


This is a map of fecal viruses across the globe. Red shades indicate severe concentrations of the deadly rotavirus (based on data from approximately year 2010).
Humans aren't the only ones who like to cruise along the waterways, so do viruses. For the first time, a map of fecal viruses traveling our global waterways has been created using modeling methods to aid in assessing water quality worldwide.

Researchers have identified two critical mutations allowing the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus to transmit from bats to humans. The findings were published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Virology.

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