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Structural insights into inner workings of viral nanomachine

Researchers are using new nanoscale imaging approaches to shed light on the dynamic activities of rotaviruses, important pathogens that cause life-threatening diarrhea in young children. Once a rotavirus enters a host cell, it sheds its outermost protein layer, leaving behind a double-layered pa... Read More

In sub-Sahara, foot and mouth disease moves over short distances

You probably remember foot and mouth disease (FMD) from the 2001 outbreak in the UK that prompted the culling of over 10 million sheep and cattle, but the disease affects livestock all over the world. It's a particular problem in Africa, where wildlife that harbor the picornavirus that causes FM... Read More

5 Things We Didn't Know About the Fungal Outbreak Last Year

Health officials are still learning from the fungal outbreak tied to tainted steroid pain injections made at the now-shuttered New England Compounding Company.

Researchers now know that most patients' immune systems didn't try to fight off the deadly fungi as it burrowed into their spinal col... Read More

Bacteria left a methane mess after spill

Study contradicts notion that microbes consumed most of the gas after 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

When the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon oil well sent some 400,000 tonnes of methane into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, many scientists and others feared it would linger. So researchers w... Read More

Host genetics can contribute to lung damage in severe tuberculosis

A third of the global population is infected with the bacterial pathogen that causes tuberculosis. Most carriers control the infection and are asymptomatic, but severe forms of the disease kill over a million people every year. A new article now identifies a factor made by the host that exacerba... Read More

A Whiff of Taxonomy – Archaeoglobus fulgidus

Pick an archaeon, any archaeon, and you will find it has a story to tell. Not all archaea are exotic but plenty of them are. These stalwarts live in environments we humans call extreme, where they carry out what to us seem extreme types of metabolic conversions. Most have come rather late into o... Read More

Bacteria evade detection net

Slothful response from regulators and manufacturers means antibiotic resistance is missed. Bacteria that are resistant to almost all antibiotics are dreaded by physicians and patients alike. Finding such microbes in a hospital is bad enough, but failing to detect them can lead to something much ... Read More

Compound stymies polyomaviruses in lab

There is no approved medicine to treat polyomaviruses, which afflict people with weakened immune systems, but scientists have found that a chemical compound called Retro-2 is able to reduce significantly the infectivity and spread of the viruses in lab cell cultures. Now they are working to impr... Read More

Pictures Considered #10. The Origin of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis

In May 1984, readers of an article by Schwartz and Cantor in the prestigious journal Cell were to stumble upon pictures of DNA agarose gels that were among the lousiest of such ever published after the method was introduced in the early 70s. Why did the editors of Cell risk their reputation? Or ... Read More

Innovative vaccine in trial for advanced ovarian cancer

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

Harvard scientists control cells following transplantation, from the inside out

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

Termite digestive-tract microorganisms: A resource to fuel the future

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

New botox super-toxin has its details censored

A new type of botulinum toxin – the deadliest substance known – has been discovered. Because it does not yet have an antidote, the DNA sequence behind it has been withheld from public databases. This is the first time a sequence has been kept secret over security concerns.

Injecting a mere 2 ... Read More

Bacteria May Allow Animals to Send Quick Voluminous Messages

Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them.

In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan St... Read More

Oddly Microbial: Giant Viruses

Viruses are supposed to be small and simple—not even alive, just mobile genetic material after all. So what do we make of giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, one of which—the newly discovered Pandoravirus salinus—has an even larger genome than a hunky parasitic eukaryote called Encephalit... Read More

EU worries over pig virus prompt new blood import rules

The EU Commission has agreed new rules to limit the spread of a deadly swine disease that has killed millions of piglets in the US.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) has wiped out around 10% of the American herd in a year.

While the EU rejected an outright ban on live pig imports, it... Read More

Yet another avian influenza virus, H10N8, infects humans

To the collection of avian influenza viruses known to sporadically infect humans – H5N1, H7N9, H7N2, H7N3, H7N7, H9N2, and H10N7 – we can now add H10N8, recently found in two individuals in China. Avian influenza virus H10N8 was first detected in tracheal aspirates from a 73 year old woman who w... Read More

ICAAC 2013 - This Week in Microbiology with Vincent Racaniello


Hosts:  Read More

Oregon geologist says Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.

NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loos... Read More

Environmental Swab/Bottom of Shoe #1

On the first day of Micro class instructors have students do an environmental swab. This sample was subcultured from a student who did the bottom of their shoe. The organism, possible Bacillus sp., was tough to scrap off the agar so subculture was done by taking a small chunk of agar containi... Read More

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