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Research provides clues to how Zika virus breaches the placental barrier

New research reveals that in pregnant women, Zika virus infection damages certain cells that affect placental formation and function. Furthermore, herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) infection augments placental sensitivity to Zika virus by enhancing the expression of receptors that allow Zika virus ... Read More

MWV 107 - The Necrobiome: Microbial Life After Death

What happens to us after we die?  A decomposing corpse becomes its own mini-ecosystem, hosting insects, scavengers and multitudes of microbes.  Microbes from the environment, the corpse, as well as the insects and scavengers are blended together and work to recycle tissues back to t... Read More

Microscope will seek biological samples on red planet

One of the ultimate goals of Mars exploration is to bring samples from the surface to Earth, especially those that could be examined for evidence of life on the Red Planet.

Such an undertaking would be expensive and the samples risk contamination during their journey to Earth. So, one option ... Read More

Mix and match microbes to make probiotics last

Scientists have tried to alter the human gut microbiota to improve health by introducing beneficial probiotic bacteria. Yet commercially available probiotics do not establish themselves in the gut. A study published September 29 in Cell Host & Microbe suggests that it is possible to alter the mi... Read More

BacterioFiles 272 - Parasite Prevents Pollution Poisoning

This episode: Worm parasites infecting brine shrimp help them survive better in arsenic-polluted environments!

(7.9 MB, 8.6 minutes)

Show notes: 
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This Little Amoeba Committed Grand Theft

About 100 million years ago, a lowly amoeba pulled off a stunning heist, grabbing genes from an unsuspecting bacterium to replace those it had lost.

Now Rutgers and other scientists have solved the mystery of how the little amoeba, Paulinella, committed the theft. It engulfed the bacterium, k... Read More

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

In the new study, the scientists observed the virus's effects in animal models at two different points -- during early postnatal development, when the brain is growing rapidly, and at weaning, when the brain has largely reached adult size.

"In early postnatal Zika-infected models some brain a... Read More

Morel mushrooms pop up, cluster together after wildfires

Avid mushroom hunters will tell you that fire is essential for finding morels. These fungi, distinguishable for their dark, honeycomblike caps, pop out of the ground by the bushel in spring after a large wildfire.

This ecological knowledge is mostly anecdotal, shared among morel enthusiasts f... Read More

New Discovery Offers Hope for Crohn’s Disease

Exciting new research in the medical journal MBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, offers hope for sufferers of the debilitating illness known as Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that involves inflammation of the lining of the bowels and th... Read More

BacterioFiles 270 - Bacteria Block Bug Babies

This episode: Insect gut microbes can be engineered to act as birth control, population control, or disease control for bugs!

(13.3 MB, 14.5 minutes)

Show notes: 

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Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize in Medicine

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist and ASM member, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his discoveries on how cells recycle their content, a process known as autophagy.

In a series of experiments in the early 1990s, Dr. Ohsumi used baker’s yeast to ide... Read More

Culex mosquitoes do not transmit Zika virus, Kansas State University study finds

A Biosecurity Research Institute study has found important results in the fight against Zika virus: Culex mosquitoes do not appear to transmit Zika virus.

Researchers at Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute studied Culex species mosquitoes from across the country, includin... Read More

New research offers insights into managing agricultural runoff and coastal dead zones

A study published today in Ecology Letters adds to a growing body of work examining the relationship between harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and agricultural runoff. The article focuses on water chemistry, specifically the ratio of dissolved silica to dissolved inorganic nitrogen in 1... Read More

Breaking a bacterial-made magnet apart

Currently, it is well established that prokaryotes possess cytoskeleton and organelles. This image depicts how magnetic organelles, magnetosomes, are properly partitioned and segregated by a mechanism that relies on the treadmilling of a dedicated cytoskeletal structure, the actin-like MamK fila... Read More

BacterioFiles 273 - Bottle-Biting Bacteria

This episode: Newly discovered bacteria can break down especially long-lived type of plastic!

(6.4 MB, 7 minutes)

Show notes: 

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Experiment in monkeys raises hopes of "functional cure" for HIV

A new drug combination helped stave off a monkey version of HIV for nearly two years after stopping all treatments, raising hopes for a functional cure for HIV, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

The treatment involved standard HIV drugs, known as antiretroviral therapy or ART, plus an experi... Read More

TWiV 412: WO, open the borders and rig the infection

The TWiVome reveal the first eukaryotic genes found in a bacteriophage of Wolbachia, and how DNA tumor virus oncogenes antagonize sensing of cytoplasmic DNA by the cell.

Hosts: Vincent Ra... Read More

Frederick C. Neidhardt (1931 − 2016) An Obituary

A towering figure in microbiology, our friend Fred Neidhardt died on October 7, 2016 at his re­tire­ment home, the Academy Village near Tucson AZ. He made fundamental and abiding con­tri­bu­tions to research, teaching, academic administration, and social issues. In each, he left deep-root­ed mar... Read More

Migraines linked to mouth bacteria, study says

The bad news for people who suffer from migraines is that the debilitating headaches may be caused by some of your favorite foods.

Everyone who gets migraines can identify the symptoms: increased sensitivity to light and noise, blurred vision and dull throbbing in the head.

A new study by ... Read More

Moms-to-be go the extra mile to avoid Zika

In Miami, where the Zika virus continues to be transmitted by mosquitoes, pregnant women are taking all sorts of measures to deal with the potential threat. Some barricade themselves inside, others leave town and a few, like Borr, take other precautions.

When she took the photo in September, ... Read More
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