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Primitive microbes stole bacterial genes on a surprising scale

A University of Otago researcher is part of an international team that has discovered that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) played a surprisingly large role in the evolution of primitive microbes known as archaea.

HGT, which involves acquiring genetic material from another unrelated organism in... Read More

Chromosome Organization the Pseudomonas Way, Part 1

(Re-)Introducing the Pseudomonads. Despite the somewhat murky provenance of their name, pseudomonads are everything but "pseudo-" in terms of their metabolic versatility: they are bacterial omnivores, heterotrophs yet far from picky. Members of the family Pseudomonadaceae (Gammaproteobacteria) a... Read More

Bioinspired coating for medical devices repels blood and bacteria

From joint replacements to cardiac implants and dialysis machines, medical devices enhance or save lives on a daily basis. However, any device implanted in the body or in contact with flowing blood faces two critical challenges that can threaten the life of the patient the device is meant to hel... Read More

Gut Microbes and Jet Lag, Shift-Work Weight Gain

Disruptions in the human circadian clock can throw off microbes in the gut, potentially boosting the risk of obesity, a new study suggests.

The results may help explain why shift workers and people who get jet lag by traveling frequently often pack on extra pounds.

"These surprising findin... Read More

Bacterial Hopanoids – The Lipids That Last Forever

The world of lipids does not always gets its due. Their oleaginous charm is not always appreciated, as we said here before. For example, have you heard of hopanoids? They are made by some bacteria and are an unusual kind of polycyclic lipids that resemble steroids, but with an extra ring. Just l... Read More

Immune response turned up, not down, by flu during pregnancy

Pregnant women have an unusually strong immune response to influenza, an unexpected finding that may explain why they get sicker from the flu than other healthy adults, new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford has found.

The ... Read More

Bacterial defense policies

High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy has now revealed in unprecedented detail the structural changes in the bacterial ribosome which results in resistance to the antibiotic erythromycin.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Study reveals how deadly MERS virus enters human cells

Cornell researchers have uncovered details of how the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) enters host cells, findings that help explain how it can infect many cell types – a hallmark of viral pathogenicity. The results also offer possible new avenues for treatment.

... Read More

CDC Launches Ebola Response Team

In the two days since the second U.S. Ebola patient was diagnosed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled a new team to battle the threat of Ebola. This team has no steady lineup, but it will be deployed anywhere in the country that sees a new case of Ebola, CDC ... Read More

colony of candida spp.

Colonies of candida species:

Media: HiCrome Candida Differential Agar
principle: Perry and Miller (1) reported that Candida albicans produces an enzyme b -N-acetyl- galactosaminidase and according to
Rousselle et al (2) incorporation of chromogenic or fluorogenic hexosaminidase substrates... Read More

Halloween microbes

Strep agalactiae (Group B Strep) streaked out on Granada plates. Usually this media is used to screen for Group B in pregnant patients, the strep will grow as bright orange colonies while any other growth will be colorless. Perfect for a little Halloween fun...follow me on instagram @stylish_str... Read More

Old drug may be key to new antibiotics

McMaster scientists have found that an anticonvulsant drug may help in developing a new class of antibiotics.

Although dozens of antibiotics target what bacteria do, their study has looked at how a certain part of bacteria are created, and they found there is a way of stopping it.

The disc... Read More

BacterioFiles 187 - Bacteria Bolster Bedbug Biotin

This episode: Some Wolbachia bacteria produce vitamin B7 for their insect hosts!


(7.1 MB, 7.75 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


Read More

Chromosome Organization the Pseudomonas Way, Part 2

Studying chromosome organization in bacteria. Over the last twenty years, molecular biologists developed and refined a downright cute method to study bacterial chromosome organization in live cells. Briefly, a cluster of binding sites for a DNA-binding protein is introduced at a chosen locus of ... Read More

Staph ‘gangs’ share nutrients during infection: study

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can share resources to cause chronic infections, Vanderbilt investigators have discovered. Like the individual members of a gang who might be relatively harmless alone, they turn deadly when they get together with their “friends.”

The findings, reported Oct. 8 in... Read More

Evolution of extreme parasites explained by scientists

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to und... Read More

TWiM 89 Letters

Peter writes:


Dear Michele,


Prof. Szybalski might have been referring to a truck with a wood gas generator


Apparently they are still in use north of the b... Read More

Cells' powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Brazil releases 'good' mosquitoes to fight dengue fever

Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with bacteria that suppress dengue fever.

The hope is they will multiply, breed and become the majority of mosquitoes, thus reducing cases of the disease.

The initiative is part of a programme also takin... Read More

Ebola fears: Airline contacts 800 passengers; Belize blocks travel

Take no chances. Leave no stone unturned. Fueled by Ebola fears, these common axioms are driving policy and action -- at times to hefty measures.

This week, a Central American country closed its borders to anyone who has been anywhere near the disease. And an airline scrambled to inform hundr... Read More
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