You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs. But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life. Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But ca... Read More
A historical look back at the discovery of the AIDS virus. Margaret Heckler, president Reagan's Health and Human Services Secretary made the announcement to the world. “First, the probable cause of AIDS has been found: a variant of a known human cancer virus. Second, not only has the agent been ... Read More
This week’s virology question comes from Eric, who writes:
I’m working on an MPH and in one of my classes we are currently studying the influenza virus. I’d forgotten that the genome is in 8 separate parts. Curious, I’ve been searching but can’t find any information as to why that is?
What... Read More
In this blog post, I describe how I use the commonly available pGLO plasmid to teach freshman students basic concepts about transformation, receptor recognition, drug resistance mechanisms, and gene regulation. Oh, and fluorescence via GFP! Read More
Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Aktories and Dr. Panagiotis Papatheodorou from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Freiburg have discovered the receptor responsible for smuggling the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium perfringens into the cell. The Tpe... Read More
Questions are swirling around a science journal's decision last year to publish a description of a newly discovered botulinum toxin while omitting key genetic details that researchers would normally disclose. The unusual case highlights important unresolved issues in how to balance scientific op... Read More
An antibiotic-resistant "superbug," long a problem in health-care settings, is now taking up residence in people's homes, a new U.S. study finds. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA, was once mainly confined to places like hospitals and nursing homes, where ... Read More
Newly published research shows that the use of antibacterial soaps can reduce the spread of harmful bacteria - that often leads to foodborne illness - more effectively than using non-antibacterial soaps. The research, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection, used new laboratory... Read More
Infection from salmonella bacteria, the most common form of food poisoning in the U.S., declined last year but the overall rate of foodborne illness is holding stubbornly steady despite new measures intended to curb it, according to data released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Contr... Read More
DURHAM, NC - Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus neoformans -- a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and... Read More
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
Say what you will about our other vices, human beings did not invent cheating. Microbes have been doing it for billions of years. You see, for microbes, cheating can sometimes be an evolutionary advantage. And this can cause it to get out of hand really quickly.
Click source link above to rea... Read More
This episode: Ants teaming with bacteria help defend plants from bacterial pathogens!
(9.4 MB, 10.2 minutes)
Bacteria have developed countless strategies to hide themselves in order to evade attack by the immune system. In the body, Salmonella bacteria use macrophages as host cells to ensure their survival and to be able to spread within the body. Their survival strategy is to nestle into a vacuole wit... Read More
The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Germany used high-resolution structural biology methods to investigate the different... Read More
Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to researchers at McGill University who have just conducted a research literature review on the subject. Their results, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the youn... Read More
A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change. Pine forests are chock full of wild animals and plant life, but there's an invisible machine... Read More
Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections. The finding could aid efforts to use immune cells to treat illness. The research, in mice, suggests that some organs have the immunological equivalent of “neighborhood police” – specialized squads of de... Read More
A scientist with a swab and a microscope could tell what school you went to. Trillions of microbes live in and on our body. We don’t yet fully understand how these microbial ecosystems develop or the full extent to which they influence our health. Some provide essential nutrients, while others c... Read More
Mothers give a newborn baby a gift of germs -— germs that help to kick-start the infant’s immune system. But antibiotics, used to fight bacterial infection, may paradoxically interrupt a newborn’s own immune responses. A new animal study by neonatology researchers at The Children's Hospital of P... Read More