Porphyran, a polysaccharide present in the cell walls of a red algae that is used notably in the preparation of sushi, is broken down specifically by an enzyme called porphyranase. This new enzymatic activity has been identified in marine bacteria and, surprisingly, in the bacteria that populate... Read More
Reading this reminded me of a guiding principle often espoused by my father: KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid! Read More
Important advances in the fight against cancer have come as researchers proved that viruses and cancers interact in ways that were previously unknown to scientists.
A new study led by UNC scientists shows that a common cancer drug can activate a viral infection that, paradoxically, can help a... Read More
Welkin Johnson, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Blogger for Small Things Considered, ponders the "fossil record" of viruses:
"As a scientist fascinated with the evolutionary interplay between viruses and their hosts, I admi... Read More
A bacteria commonly found in probiotic yogurt has been shown to be a safe and effective way to deliver gene therapies to treat cancer. Research, to be published by a team in UCC today, shows that harmless bacteria (bifidobacteria) have a natural ability to travel through the body and grow inside... Read More
One of the difficulties of diagnosing tuberculosis is that there is no simple blood or urine test. Instead, a laboratory technician must take a sample of sputum coughed up from the lungs, stain it and inspect it under a microscope for the telltale bacteria, which resemble long-grain rice. It tak... Read More
Microbe magazine's Jeff Fox speaks with Michael and Becky Terns of the University of Georgia, who study microbial clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats- better known as "CRISPR"-systems that enable bacteria and archaea to fend off phages and other forms of invasive DNA. The T... Read More
Corynebacterium - Tissue section. H & E stain. Diphtheritic tonsillitis Read More
A new study led by the scientific director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research has uncovered for the first time how bacteria recognize and develop resistance to a powerful antibiotic used to treat superbug infections.
Gerry Wright, a professor in the Departmen... Read More
Avian influenza (H5N1) outbreaks in Europe during the winter of 2005-2006 occurred at the edge of cold weather fronts, according to researchers from Princeton University and the Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Their results, published April 8 in the open-access journal PLoS P... Read More
Pathogens can now be easily tracked in time and space as they evolve, an advance that could revolutionize both public health and inform national security in the fight against infectious diseases. Developed by researchers that include scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, Supramap... Read More
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that dangerous strains of Salmonella are beginning to emerge in people infected with HIV in Africa.
Their research has found that, in adults with HIV, new African Salmonellae can cause severe disease by invading cells in the blood and ... Read More
On tiny keypads and greasy touch screens, doctors, nurses, NPs and physicians assistants these days are doing a lot more than checking email and phone messages. Increasingly, health care workers are using their iPhones and other smart phones to track patient information, take vital statistics an... Read More
HIV infects women by weakening a cell barrier in the reproductive tract that normally keeps viruses out, Canadian researchers have discovered. HIV breaks down the tight bonds between epithelial cells, which usually form a protective layer that prevents viruses from infecting other cells.
This... Read More
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. They used a modified virus as a "biological scaffold" that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split a water molec... Read More
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are figuring out how to turn wheat straw into ethanol "gold," and learning more about the bacteria that can "infect" ethanol plants and interfere with fuel production.
At the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Pe... Read More
An experimental vaccine could be the newest weapon against a dangerous bacterial infection on the rise in hospitals and nursing homes around the United States.
Doctors at the University of Cincinnati and University Hospital are part of a national clinical trial testing a C. difficile - or C. ... Read More
In regard to your question as to cases of known alteration of host behavior by virus that increases the rate of contact among hosts (Twiv 70), the most dramatic example is given by rabies. This extraordinary virus can convert a neurologically and behaviorally... Read More
On episode #77 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, and Rich revisit circovirus contamination of Rotarix, then discuss poxvirus-like replication of mimivirus in the cell cytoplasm, and whether... Read More