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Nibbled to Death: U.Va. Researchers Discover New Way Human Cells Are Killed

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine studying a potentially deadly parasitic infection have discovered a previously unknown way that human cells are killed, with the parasitic amoeba essentially nibbling cells to death – as a piranha might attack its prey.

Until now, r... Read More

New evidence of ancient multicellular life sets evolutionary timeline back 60 million years

A Virginia Tech geobiologist with collaborators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found evidence in the fossil record that complex multicellularity appeared in living things about 600 million years ago – nearly 60 million years before skeletal animals appeared during a huge growth spurt ... Read More

Zaire ebolavirus in West Africa

Dr. Tom Solomon is Director of the Institute for Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool. In this video he speaks with Vincent Racaniello about the 2014 outbreak of Zaire ebolavirus in West Africa. Dr. Solomon discusses why the epidemic has spread, how it might be curtailed, t... 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

Researchers Identify Protein That Helps Control Common Viral Infection

Infectious disease specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center have identified a protein that regulates the body’s immune response to cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common pathogen that causes lifelong infections and can lead to devastating illness in newborns and those with weakened immune sys... Read More

Immune cell ‘defenders’ could beat invading bacteria

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body’s immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.
The patented work, published in Nature today, provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defen... Read More

Muddled about MERS? Here’s A Quick Guide

While I was working on the “H1N-What?” post, I also knew there would soon be questions about MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), just as there were about SARS. So here are the essentials of what we know and don’t know about MERS—which has just been reported in the U.S.—as well as intriguing... Read More

Scientists Figure Out How Microbes Make Wine Good

Yeast aren’t the only microbes that help turn boring grapes into the delicious, seductive, complex, confusing, subtle, and totally splendiferous tonic known as wine. In addition to those well-known fermenters, a type of bacteria called Oenococcus oeni (for reasons that will be obvious to oenophi... Read More

How a plant beckons the bacteria that will do it harm

A common plant puts out a welcome mat to bacteria seeking to invade, and scientists have discovered the mat's molecular mix. The study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals new targets during the battle between microbe and host that researchers can ex... Read More

Rare byproduct of marine bacteria kills cancer cells by snipping their DNA

Yale University researchers have determined how a scarce molecule produced by marine bacteria can kill cancer cells, paving the way for the development of new, low-dose chemotherapies.

The molecule, lomaiviticin A, was previously shown to be lethal to cultured human cancer cells, but the mech... Read More

Adhering To The 'Replicon Model' The Sloppy Way

Sixty years ago Jacob, Brenner and Cuzin devised their 'Replicon Model', inspiring and useful guideline for replication research ever since. According to the model, a 'Replicon' is a genetic element replicated from a single 'Replicator'—replication origin, in modern terms—and replication is trig... Read More

Natural History is Dying, and We Are All the Losers

A few weeks ago, I came across a new paper in BioScience called “Natural History’s Place in Science and Society” that contained the following graph.

On the right axis and indicated by the line surrounded by dots is the proportion of introductory biology texts devoted to natural history since ... Read More

Facilitation of horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance by transformation of antibiotic-induced cell-wall-deficient bacteria

It is universally accepted that the use of antibiotics will lead to antimicrobial resistance. Traditionally, the explanation to this phenomenon was random mutation and horizontal gene transfer and amplification by selective pressure. Subsequently, a second mechanism of antibiotic-induced antimic... Read More

Ebola outbreak “out of all proportion” and severity cannot be predicted

A mathematical model that replicates Ebola outbreaks can no longer be used to ascertain the eventual scale of the current epidemic, finds research conducted by the University of Warwick.

Dr Thomas House, of the University’s Warwick Mathematics Institute, developed a model that incorporated da... Read More

Investigating the Cheese Microbiome

We need to understand how diverse communities of microbes interact, but doing so in the gut is hard. Why not turn to a model system, where diverse microbial communities interact, but in an environment that’s easier to study? We have a long history of using model systems in biology – the mice I m... Read More

Microgravity research helping to understand the fungi within

(Phys.org) —You may not recognize it by name, but if you have ever had a child with a diaper rash, that child was likely a host to Candida albicans (C. albicans). This unwelcome "guest" can be hard to control, as it can potentially lead to serious illness in humans with weakened immune systems. ... Read More

The bug that lost a few genes to become Black Death

About 6,000 years ago, a bacterium underwent a few genetic changes. These allowed it to expand its habitat from the guts of mice to that of fleas. Such changes happen all the time, but in this particular instance the transformation eventually resulted in the Black Death that wiped out a third of... Read More

Research shows bacteria can combat dangerous gas leaks

Bacteria could mop up naturally-occurring and man-made leaks of natural gases before they are released into the atmosphere and cause global warming - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Findings published today in the journal Nature shows how a single bacterial strai... Read More

New ways of cultivating valuable marine microorganisms

A four-year EU-funded project has identified new ways of cultivating marine microorganisms and screening them for potentially useful marine bio-compounds. This could have implications for the healthcare, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, which are just a few of the sectors that are eager ... Read More

Nutrient-absorbing surface’s assembly revealed: study

Vanderbilt University researchers have now discovered how intestinal cells build this specialized structure, which is critical for absorbing nutrients and defending against pathogens. The findings, published April 10 in the journal Cell, reveal a role for adhesion molecules in brush border assem... Read More

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