Conjugal plasmids provide microbes with full complements of new genes. Conjugal plasmid transfer is deemed responsible for the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance among microbes. While broad host range plasmids are known to confer transfer abilities to diverse hosts in pure culture, the extent... Read More
Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study.
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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
From joint replacements to cardiac implants and dialysis machines, medical devices enhance or save lives on a daily basis. However, any device implanted in the body or in contact with flowing blood faces two critical challenges that can threaten the life of the patient the device is meant to hel... Read More
The Epstein–Barr virus and its relatives in the herpesvirus family are known for their longevity. They persist in host tissues for years, causing diseases like mononucleosis, Kaposi's sarcoma and herpes, and are notoriously difficult to kill. University of California, Los Angeles, biophysicist Z... Read More
Cornell researchers have uncovered details of how the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) enters host cells, findings that help explain how it can infect many cell types – a hallmark of viral pathogenicity. The results also offer possible new avenues for treatment.
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Take no chances. Leave no stone unturned. Fueled by Ebola fears, these common axioms are driving policy and action -- at times to hefty measures.
This week, a Central American country closed its borders to anyone who has been anywhere near the disease. And an airline scrambled to inform hundr... Read More
"If you want to find unique diversity and if you want to find a wide range of different below-ground organisms, you don't have to travel around the world. You can walk across Central Park."
That statement comes from Noah Fierer, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor at the University ... Read More
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can share resources to cause chronic infections, Vanderbilt investigators have discovered. Like the individual members of a gang who might be relatively harmless alone, they turn deadly when they get together with their “friends.”
The findings, reported Oct. 8 in... Read More
In the two days since the second U.S. Ebola patient was diagnosed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled a new team to battle the threat of Ebola. This team has no steady lineup, but it will be deployed anywhere in the country that sees a new case of Ebola, CDC ... Read More
High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy has now revealed in unprecedented detail the structural changes in the bacterial ribosome which results in resistance to the antibiotic erythromycin.
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(Re-)Introducing the Pseudomonads. Despite the somewhat murky provenance of their name, pseudomonads are everything but "pseudo-" in terms of their metabolic versatility: they are bacterial omnivores, heterotrophs yet far from picky. Members of the family Pseudomonadaceae (Gammaproteobacteria) a... Read More
Some people infected with pathogens spread their germs to others while remaining symptom-free themselves. Now, investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine believe they may know why.
When the scientists gave oral antibiotics to mice infected with Salmonella typhimurium, a bacte... Read More
A study of biofilm formation in the model haloarchaeal species Haloferax volcanii has led to the observation of a fascinating example of coordinated social motility (and of cellular differentiation and gene transfer). Haloferax volcanii was first isolated from Dead Sea sediment in 1975, but was ... Read More
The world of lipids does not always gets its due. Their oleaginous charm is not always appreciated, as we said here before. For example, have you heard of hopanoids? They are made by some bacteria and are an unusual kind of polycyclic lipids that resemble steroids, but with an extra ring. Just l... Read More
New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body’s immune response against it.
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have explained how a particular strain of a fungus, Crypto... Read More
Studying chromosome organization in bacteria. Over the last twenty years, molecular biologists developed and refined a downright cute method to study bacterial chromosome organization in live cells. Briefly, a cluster of binding sites for a DNA-binding protein is introduced at a chosen locus of ... Read More
Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to und... Read More
We have lived with the discovery of small RNAs as regulatory molecules for nearly 30 years, so for most readers of this blog this is old hat. But some of us oldsters are still reeling from the novelty and importance of the findings. It seems odd that a subject of this significance, one that has ... Read More
Elvis did it, Michael Jackson did it, and so do the mitochondria in our cells. They shake. While Elvis and Michael shook for decades before loud and appreciative audiences, mitochondrial oscillations have quietly bewildered scientists for more than 40 years.
Now, a team of scientists at Natio... Read More