Officially called a fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT, the procedure involves the insertion of a small, diluted sample of stool from a donor into the colon of a recipient. (Clearly disgusting.) The swap imports a healthy community of bacteria, the intestinal microbiota, into the system of... Read More
The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) glycoproteins of the influenza virus particle serve distinct functions during infection. The HA binds sialic acid-containing cellular receptors and mediates fusion of the viral and cell membranes, while the NA removes sialic acids from glycoproteins.... Read More
We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a ... Read More
We continue our semi-annual ritual and post this quick tour of our blog posts published since December, 2012.
Our new section dealing with “pictures that made a difference but may be nearly forgotten by now” seems to be off to a good start. Please send us suggestions of... Read More
Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used an indicator in treatment.
More than 260,000 Americans are alive today thanks to transplant operations that have replaced their failing kidneys, hearts, lungs or livers with hea... Read More
Harvard stem cells scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT can now engineer cells that are more easily controlled following transplantation, potentially making cell therapies, hundreds of which are currently in clinical trials across the United States, more functional and efficient.
... Read More
On a recent morning, Noah Fierer, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found himself standing 1,000 feet above the farmland of eastern Colorado. He was perched near the pinnacle of the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory, a cellphone-tower-like spir... Read More
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers were able to fix "misfolded" proteins and restore their function in mice. Lead researcher Michael Conn discusses how to mend an incorrectly folded protein and what this may mean for developing future therapies for a va... Read More
With increasing attention toward generating cost-effective biochemical conversion methods for producing biofuels, it helps to follow the leaders who have perfected the process. The mere Reticulitermes flavipes, or eastern subterranean termite, a famous feaster of lignocellulosic plant materials ... Read More
JOHANNESBURG, 2 April 2014 (IRIN) - Outbreaks of a deadly fungal disease in wheat crops in Germany and Ethiopia in 2013 have had the scientific community buzzing over the threat posed to global food security. Wheat stem rust, also known as wheat black rust, is often referred to as the “polio of... Read More
Australian researchers have found that zinc can 'starve' one of the world's most deadly bacteria by preventing its uptake of an essential metal.
The finding, by infectious disease researchers at the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland, opens the way for further work to des... Read More
Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.
Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-d... Read More
A University of California, Riverside assistant professor of engineering is among a group of researchers that have made important discoveries regarding the behavior of a synthetic molecular oscillator, which could serve as a timekeeping device to control artificial cells. Read More
Famed astronomer and writer Carl Sagan said in his book Cosmos: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” And so are microbes, we must add. To understand the s... Read More
A clinical trial of an innovative vaccine is occurring. The vaccine could offer hope to patients with advanced ovarian cancer. The vaccine, which is derived from the patient's tumor cells, is designed to jumpstart the patient's immune system to attack and kill cancer cells.
Ovarian cancer is ... Read More
Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites: they must enter a cell to reproduce. To gain access to the cell interior, a virus must first bind to one or more specific receptor molecules on the cell surface. Cell receptors for viruses do not exist only to serve viruses: they also have cellular f... Read More
Monolayer biofilms of the Clostridium thermocellum bacterium (in situ and in vivo).
Credit: Mr. Alexandru Dumitrache
University of Toronto
Olympus Bioscapes 2013 Honorable Mention. Read More
Actin is shown in red. From Clarke, M., and Maddera, L. (2006). Phagocyte meets prey: Uptake, internalization, and killing of bacteria by Dictyostelium amoebae. Eur. J. Cell Biol. 85:1001-1010; reproduced with permission from Elsevier. Honorable mention 2013 Bioscapes Competition. Dr. Margaret ... Read More
Food transit through the small intestine affects the body's absorption of nutrients and, consequently, our health. The discovery that food transit time is regulated by a hormone indicates new ways to increase the intestinal absorption of nutrients, and thus potentially treat malnutrition.
One... Read More
I offer this as an echo to Elio's post from last October, Teaching E. coli to Endocytose. There Elio reported the recent education of E. coli by the heterologous expression of a mammalian gene. I tell of a bacterium instructed by a phage.
Apparently Pseudomonas phage φ6 missed that classic 19... Read More