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The manipulative friend: bacterial hijacking of plant symbiosis signalling

Members of the legume family of plants (e.g. peas, soybean) can form symbioses with nitrogen-fixing bacteria known as rhizobia. In return for receiving nitrogen-containing compounds (e.g. ammonia) from the rhizobia, the plant supplies the rhizobia with sugars and a home in special organs in the ... Read More

TWiV 259: Windows into the soul of a cell

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Rich Condit


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Drug clears up persistent bacteria by getting them to digest themselves

Drug resistant bacteria are, justifiably, a serious cause for concern. Most of the attention has focused on mutations or genes that confer resistance to our current repertoire of antibiotics. But bacteria have a second way to avoid being offed by our drugs: a tiny fraction of many bacterial spec... Read More

First Case of New Bird Flu Identified in Human Patient

The latest version is called H6N1, and represents the first time that this strain of bird flu has jumped from birds to people.

Flu researchers are especially wary of birds, from wild avian species like migrating geese to run-of-the-mill chickens at local poultry markets. They harbor a series ... Read More

Mutated Virus Helps Build a Better Battery

By unleashing a genetically modified virus onto microscopic electrode wires, researchers from MIT have shown that the performance of lithium-air batteries can be significantly improved -- a remarkable breakthrough that could revolutionize the way our electric devices are powered.

Indeed, lith... Read More

Is There Big Money Inside Your Gut?

Corey Goodman sees financial opportunity in strange places, specifically the human bowel. In 2010 the former president of Pfizer’s innovation center founded Second Genome, a company dedicated to identifying the varieties of bacteria in stool samples and manipulating them to improve human health.... Read More

MOOC: Pandemics and new viral infections (in Spanish)

New Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) in Spanish about Pandemics and new viral infections.

This is a mini online open course about basic concepts of virus and pandemics. We answer questions as what is a virus?, how a virus multiplies inside a cell?, what is a pandemic?, why appear new influe... Read More

Caution to the Wind: Dirty Horns are the Clarion Call for Microbes

The professional musician who follows her dream of performing on the stage is greeted by an array of unusual occupational hazards. These are not limited to those late night hours spent in bars exposed to cigarette smoke and aggressive groupies but the risks of carpal tunnel, hoarseness, hearing ... Read More

Scientists find oldest life form ever discovered - bacteria that smell like rotten eggs

Scientists have discovered what they believe to be the oldest complete example of life on earth - but the ancient creature would have smelled strongly of rotten eggs.

The remains were discovered by American scientists from Old Dominion University, in a lump of Sandstone in Western Australia.
... Read More

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a genera... Read More

10 fun facts about antibiotics

This poster has ten (10) mildly interesting facts about antibiotics, just in case you needed a poster or handout for Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov 18-24, 2013). You can download PDF at "source" URL, above. Please feel free to share this graphic with your students, classmates, colleagues, frien... Read More

Deletion of Any Single Gene Provokes Mutations Elsewhere in the Genome

Johns Hopkins researchers report that the deletion of any single gene in yeast cells puts pressure on the organism’s genome to compensate, leading to a mutation in another gene. Their discovery, which is likely applicable to human genetics because of the way DNA is conserved across species, coul... Read More

Vivax Malaria May Be Evolving Around Natural Defense

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have discovered recent genetic mutations in a parasite that causes over 100 million cases of malaria annually -- changes that may render tens of millions of Africans who had been considered resistant, s... Read More

Tests underway to determine whether dolphin virus killed whales, too

The virus that has killed nearly 800 bottlenose dolphins off the East Coast has turned up in four whales that have washed ashore, a potentially troubling development if it is shown to be the cause of their deaths, a government marine expert said Thursday.

But it is too early to know whether c... Read More

Meet the Germs That Infect Your Water

It's natural to expect that the water coming out of our taps is safe without worry of gastrointestinal or other infectious disease. Yet every year there are dozens of outbreaks linked to drinking water in the United States alone. In the majority of cases, a failure of proper water treatment is t... 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

Lyme bacteria show that evolvability is evolvable

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

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

New research reveals how bacteria construct tiny flagella ‘nanomachines’ outside the cell

Cambridge scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which bacteria build their surface propellers (flagella) – the long extensions that allow them to swim towards food and away from danger. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the mechanism is powered by the s... Read More

Dengue Fever Makes Inroads into the U.S.

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

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