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A spike for piercing the cell membrane

Some viruses that infect bacteria (bacteriophages) deliver their DNA into the host cell with an amazing injection machine. The tailed bacteriophages (such as T4, illustrated) store their DNA in a capsid attached to a long tail tube that is surrounded by a sheath. At the bottom of the tube is a b... Read More

The Human Lake

Science writer Carl Zimmer writes a masterful blog piece tracing the history of the study of ecosystems, from lakes to the human microbiome. Just one interesting fact: In their lifetimes, individual humans will produce about five elephants worth of microbes. Read More

TWiV 123 Letters

Sven writes:


Dear TWiV Captain and Officers,


I am a Swedish listener in my fifties, with a neolithic MSc in computer science and nowadays active within software quality (and yes, that's an oxymoron...). I found TWiV in September 2010 and I hav... Read More

Virophage, the virus eater

A second virophage has been identified. The name does not signify a virus that infects another virus – it means virus eater.
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Capturing viruses with bacteria

When my laboratory discovered the cell receptor for poliovirus in 1989, many new research directions were suddenly revealed – such as creating a mouse model for poliomyelitis. One application we did not think of was to use the receptor to screen samples of drinking water for the presence of viru... Read More

Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, 1925-2011

Glenn Rall, a virologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, sent me the following note:

Baruch S. Blumberg, Nobel Laureate in 1976 for discovery of Hepatitis B (and the eventual development of the vaccine, which probably has saved hundreds of thousands of lives since its introduction), died this pas... Read More

TWiV 167 Letters

Joe writes:


Twivers


I did the homework Professor Vince assigned and went to see the movie Contagion. I really liked the movie and was very pleased with the way the science was portrayed.


I am an Environmental Health and Safety Manager ... Read More

TWiP 32 Letters

Raihan writes:

Hi Guys,


I saw this video during the course of listening to TWiP. Is there any parasitic truth behind this phenomenon?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL_48wUQeXQ


Amaz... Read More

NEJM: The Burden of Disease and the Changing Task of Medicine

At first glance, the inaugural 1812 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery, and the Collateral Branches of Science seems reassuringly familiar: a review of angina pectoris, articles on infant diarrhea and burns. The apparent similarity to today's Journal, however, obscures a fu... Read More

XMRV and CFS – It’s not the end

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune published my reaction to the four papers on the retrovirus XMRV published this week in the journal Retrovirology. I was quoted as saying ”These four papers are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS”. I wish to retract this statement and explain my reason... Read More

Publication of XMRV papers should not be blocked

The findings by the NIH and FDA that XMRV is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome has been accepted for publication by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Release of the article has been blocked by PNAS due to work carried out by the US Centers for Disease Control and... Read More

A viral mashup in snakes

If you know anything about snakes you might be familiar with snake inclusion body disease, or IBD. This transmissible and fatal disease affects snakes of a variety of species but has been best studied in boas. The name comes from the presence of large masses (inclusions) in the cytoplasm of cell... Read More

Tiny snow-makers

The Judges' Choice for The Scientist magazine's 2011 Labby Multimedia Awards is this cute video on how microbes are essential for snow formation.













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BacterioFiles Micro Edition 58 - Baculovirus Blocks Bug Behavior

This episode: Viruses take over caterpillars' behavior!




Download Episode (2.5... Read More

TWiV 159: Flu gets the REDD light



Hosts: Vincent RacanielloAlan Dove Read More

TWiV 172: Two can be as bad as one



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Kathy Spindler


Vincent ... Read More

TWiV 89: Where do viruses vacation?



On episode #89 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent and Alan review recent findings on the association of the retrovirus XMRV with ME/CFS, reassortment of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in swine,... Read More

A new target for hepatitis C virus

When infection with hepatitis C virus goes from acute to chronic, severe liver disease may occur which requires organ transplantation. Nearly 200 million people are chronically infected with HCV, necessitating approaches to preventing and treating infections. No HCV vaccine is available, and cur... Read More

TWiM 11 Letters

Steve writes:


As a microbiologist I enjoy listening to your broadcasts.  However, I was very disappointed on the one about Salomonella in cantaloupe and E. coli O157:H7 in Lebanon bologna.  Many incorrect statements were made, such as "Salmonella enteritidis is th... Read More

TWiV 124 Letters

Norm writes:


First, I love your podcasts.


You guys are constantly grousing about the lack of research funding.


I was curious.


NIH, funding has risen every year since 2000, from $17B to the current $31B (supports 325,000 researchers)


NSF... Read More

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