Several African nations could strike a major blow against malaria by sacrificing the efficacy of some older drugs. Can they make it work?
It is September in southeastern Mali, and Louka Coulibaly is standing in the shade of a squat, concrete building, giving instructions to a dozen men and wo... Read More
Some time ago, we asked this Talmudic Question: Can you think of a place on Earth where there is free water but no microbes? (A sterile flask of nutrient broth in a lab, the insides of the body, or an IV bag in a hospital don't count.) Someone answered that perhaps deep in Antarctica there would... Read More
Measles may seem like a distant threat in the United States, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning the disease still poses a danger to U.S. residents.
The CDC fears that because measles is so prevalent overseas, people who travel are bringing the virus back to U.S. sh... Read More
Tiny electrical wires protrude from some bacteria and contribute to rock and dirt formation. Researchers studying the protein that makes up one such wire have determined the protein's structure. The finding is important to such diverse fields as producing energy, recycling Earth's carbon and min... Read More
HIV has reappeared in the blood of two Boston patients who scientists had hoped had been cured of their infections.
This disappointing development, reported by The Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, is yet another cautionary tale of how researchers can never afford to underestimate the human immunodef... Read More
What happens when you use tiny electromagnetic coils to shift the position of light-scattering bacteria? In the hands of a couple of science-minded artists, you get an intriguing "Living Mirror."
I have a new favorite artist: bacteria. Imprinted onto cell phones, it can look like flowers, or ... Read More
From a bacteria’s perspective the environment is one big DNA waste yard. Researchers have now shown that bacteria can take up small as well as large pieces of old DNA from this scrapheap and include it in their own genome. This discovery may have major consequences – both in connection with resi... Read More
Bacterial proteins could alter precipitation patterns and climate-change models.
Proteins can help grow teeth and bones in the body, crops in the ground, and even ice in the atmosphere. Some proteins have an uncanny knack for kick starting ice formation at unusual temperatures, and they have ... 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
Transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Credit: NIAID
From the CDC:
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people w... Read More
Bacteria may lack a true immune system, but this does not leave them defenseless against bacteriophage viruses and other pathogens. A system of genomic sequence elements called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and various CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas) help to... Read More
We live in a world run by microbes, the vast majority of which we have yet to identify or name. We can only refer to them collectively as the microbial dark matter (MDM). However you define a prokaryotic species, and however you tally them once identified, there is a huge gap between the 12,000 ... 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
Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.
Some gamblers succeed by spiriting cards up their sleeves, giving them a wider range of hands to play. So do some bacteria, whose great capacity for genetic variability helps them evolve and adapt to rapidl... Read More
Doses of a human gut microbe helped to reverse behavioral problems in mice with autism-like symptoms, researchers report today in Cell. The treatment also reduced gastrointestinal problems in the animals that were similar to those that often accompany autism in humans.
The work builds on prev... 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
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
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
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
The mosquito-borne infection is cropping up in Florida, but mysteriously not in similar regions in the nation.
Most Americans lose little sleep over dengue fever. The mosquito-borne infection is a leading killer in the tropics and subtropics, but it’s been a long-held belief that ubiquitous a... Read More