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Elusive viral 'machine' architecture finally rendered

Biologists have worked with the Lambda virus as a model system for more than 50 years but they've never had an overarching picture of the molecular machines that allow it to insert or remove DNA from the cells that it infects. Now they can, thanks to an advance that highlights the intriguingly i... Read More

Trapped: Cell-invading piece of virus captured in lab by scientists

Scientists try to stay a step ahead of HIV in order to combat drug resistance and to develop better treatments. When a person is infected with HIV, there is an initial burst of virus production. This is when integrase inserts the virus DNA into many human cells, including CD4 T-immune cells, bra... Read More

TWiM 85 Letters

Tom writes:


Hi TWIM, TWIV and TWIP Argonauts,


Your three wonderful podcasts are the nutrient media for growing my scientific knowledge. I have been downloading them from ITunes for a couple of years, and although as a mere amateur I sometimes struggle to keep ... Read More

Rethinking The Origin of Species: Discover Magazine Features The Speciation Microbiome Project

From Discover: "Scientists have long known of the important roles played by the microbes on and in our bodies — our microbiomes. These little guys outnumber our own cells 10 to 1, and they help regulate everything from the energy we get out of food to the health of our immune systems. Now, scien... Read More

Experimental Medicine in a Time of Ebola

As the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa continues to claim lives, Wellcome Trust director Dr Jeremy Farrar calls for Africans to be given access to experimental Ebola medication. This joint statement with Prof David Heymann, head of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security, and ... Read More

Scientists Finally Catch On to Social Media

In 2011, Emmanuel Nnaemeka Nnadi needed help to sequence some drug-resistant fungal pathogens. A PhD student studying microbiology in Nigeria, he did not have the expertise and equipment he needed. So he turned to ResearchGate, a free social-networking site for academics, and fired off a few e-m... Read More

New discovery: Microbes can create dripstones

According to new research humble, microscopic organisms can create dripstones in caves. This illustrates how biological life can influence the formation of Earth’s geology - and the same may be happening right now on other planets in space.

According to traditional textbooks dripstones are cr... Read More

Farmers Fight Poisonous Wheat Fungus with Cleaning and Waiting

Dave Wiechert of Nashville, Illinois, does good business most years cleaning seed for farmers in preparation for planting season. But this year, Wiechert is doing big business after harvest: cleaning fungus off wheat so farmers can sell it.

The "head scab" fungus can produce vomitoxin, a chem... Read More

A Symbiont Betrays Its Host

It came as a surprise to me recently to realize how much is known about the immune responses of plants and, moreover, how much there is to know. There is, I found, detailed molecular information about how our botanical cousins defend themselves against the onslaught of infectious agents. Perhaps... Read More

Wild sheep show benefits of putting up with parasites

In the first evidence that natural selection favors an individual's infection tolerance, researchers from Princeton University and the University of Edinburgh have found that an animal's ability to endure an internal parasite strongly influences its reproductive success. Reported in the journal ... Read More

Pictures Considered #19. The Basal End of Bacterial Flagella

The end of bacterial flagella that is near the cell is a marvel of mechanical miniaturization — a molecular wheel that turns, just like the axle of a car. The assembly consists of a stator, the part that holds it in place, and a rotor, the part that turns. The rotor is a beautifully complex str... Read More

Ebola Could Eventually Afflict Over 20,000, W.H.O. Says

As the tally of deaths from the worst known outbreak of the Ebola virus continued its seemingly inexorable rise, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the epidemic was still accelerating and could afflict more than 20,000 people — almost seven times the current number of reported c... Read More

Native bacteria block Wolbachia from being passed to mosquito progeny

Native bacteria living inside mosquitoes prevent the insects from passing Wolbachia bacteria -- which can make the mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite -- to their offspring, according to a team of researchers.

The team found that Asaia, a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in Ano... Read More

The Discoverability Challenge – How Can We Make Research Data Easier to Find and Use?

Enhancing the discoverability of public health and epidemiology research data is a key to ensuring that it gets more widely used. This was the topic of a recent workshop hosted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where researchers and data experts explored the findings of a re... Read More

Bacillus cereus Biofilm viewed under microscope

Bacillus cereus, a food-borne pathogen, is capable to form biofilms. Biofilms are microbial communities that are controlled by a biological mechanism called quorum sensing. In this image, the B. cereus biofilm was viewed under microscope using LPO and grown in microtiter plate well for 48 hrs of... Read More

Malaria’s Clinical Symptoms Fade on Repeat Infections Due to Loss of Immune Cells

Children who repeatedly become infected with malaria often experience no clinical symptoms with these subsequent infections, and a team led by UC San Francisco researchers has discovered that this might be due at least in part to a depletion of specific types of immune cells.

Working in Ugand... Read More

A Tale of Two Strategies

Bacteria are for the most part gregarious organisms, living predominantly in dense communities consisting of multiple strains. In fact, the majority of infectious bacteria occur as multi-layered structures called biofilms, many of which are composed of multiple types of bacteria. As one can imag... Read More

UTHealth researchers find up to 3,000 times the bacterial growth on hollow-head toothbrushes

Solid-head power toothbrushes retain less bacteria compared to hollow-head toothbrushes, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry.

The results of the study are published in the August issue of the Journal of Dental Hyg... Read More

Early antibiotic exposure leads to lifelong metabolic disturbances in mice

Antibiotic exposure during a critical window of early development disrupts the bacterial landscape of the gut, home to trillions of diverse microbes, and permanently reprograms the body’s metabolism, setting up a predisposition to obesity, according to a new study. Moreover, the research shows t... Read More

Oddly Microbial: Selfish Genes*

Evolution is largely driven by conflict, not collaboration, according to cell evolutionist Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Mammalian cells are contentious places, he explains, populated by alien and host genomic sequences fighting for dominance. "In the compet... Read More
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