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Host-gut 'MYCObiome' interactions

06/07/2012
Very few microbiome characterizations have focused on our commensal fungi. The researchers in this paper addressed this question by sequencing fungal ribosomal DNA as well as directly visualizing fungi via colonic tissue staining. They recovered fungi from the feces of rats, guinea pigs, dogs, mice, and humans, suggesting ...

Commensal bacteria are necessary to clear pathogenic bacteria from intestinal infections

05/15/2012
In a very exciting paper, this study showed that in a mouse model of intestinal bacterial infections using Citrobacter rodentium, commensal bacteria were required to clear the infection. The ability of the commensal bacteria to outcompete the invading C. rodentium pathogen was shown to be in part due to ...

RNA virus packaging specificity explained?

04/23/2012
In 1969 David Baltimore proposed that poliovirus RNA replication is coupled with packaging, in that only those genomes actively replicating will be selectively encapsidated. From an evolutionary standpoint, it is an ingenious requirement to ensure that only virus genomes capable of replication are to be passed on to the ...

Phage communities in gut microbiomes show novel diversity-generating retroelement systems

02/28/2012
Variation in nature is essential for survival in this dynamic and unpredictable world we live in. Variation in genetic sequence and subsequently structural variation of the translated protein, allows for elaborate competition between organisms in metabolization efficiencies, and ultimately, survival of the genome. This paper aimed to characterize ...

Can viruses horizontally transfer genes co-packaged from one host to another?

02/08/2012
It has long been known that viruses, in addition to their own genomes, encapsidate extraneous nucleic acids. Although this phenomenon has been verified in the prokaryotic world, in eukaryotes, the significance of these alternative nucleic acids could just be trivial, or, quite possibly evolution caught in the act. ...

Bacteriophage disables two anti-phage pathways with a single protein

02/03/2012
This paper, expanding the field of toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems, identified the proteins encoded by a mystery plasmid in E coli O157:H7 named pOSAK1, as a TA system. This system consists of as the name specifies, a 'toxic' gene product and another gene encoding the 'antidote'. Usually the antidote ...

RNA virus encodes microRNA which may influence oncogenesis in bovine host

01/31/2012
This exciting paper addresses a mystery in tumor virology as to how, Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV), a retrovirus that is frequently recovered in B cell lymphomas, contributes to oncogenesis. microRNAs have rapidly become significant players in cell cycle regulation/tumorigenesis and are also expressed by viruses. Although most viral ...

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