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Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

Researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.

Click "source" to r... Read More

Bacteria Allow Woodrats to Eat Poison

This article was first published in 2013 on the website for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Many plants do not want to be eaten. They avoid this fate by producing deadly toxins and carcinogenic poisons, such as those associated with the aptly named poison ivy, poison sumac... Read More

Millions of Doses of Ebola Vaccine to Be Ready by End of 2015

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans on October 24 to produce millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines by the end of 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of doses should be available to help affected countries before the end of June, the WHO said at the conclusion of a meeti... Read More

BacterioFiles 188 - Rat Residents Relieve Resin Roughness

This episode: Gut bacteria in Mojave desert woodrats help them detoxify and eat toxic creosote bushes!


(10 MB, 10.8 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item/ Read More

TWiV 308: The Running Mad Professor

Tom talks with Vincent about viral central nervous system infections of global importance, Ebola virus, and running the fastest marathon dressed as a doctor.


Host: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the... Read More

A gut bacterium that attacks dengue and malaria pathogens and their mosquito vectors

Just like those of humans, insect guts are full of microbes, and the microbiota can influence the insect's ability to transmit diseases. A new study reports that a bacterium isolated from the gut of an Aedes mosquito can reduce infection of mosquitoes by malaria parasites and dengue virus. The b... Read More

Ebola’s evolutionary roots more ancient than previously thought, study finds

A new study is helping to rewrite Ebola’s family history.

The research shows that filoviruses — a family to which Ebola and its similarly lethal relative, Marburg, belong — are at least 16-23 million years old.

Filoviruses likely existed in the Miocene Epoch, and at that time, the evolutio... Read More

Flu viruses disguised as waste

Viruses cannot multiply without cellular machinery. Although extensive research into how pathogens invade cells has been conducted for a number of viruses, we do not fully understand how the shell of a virus is cracked open during the onset of infection thus releasing the viral genome. An ETH Zu... Read More

Without swift influx of substantial aid, Ebola epidemic in Africa poised to explode

The Ebola virus disease epidemic already devastating swaths of West Africa will likely get far worse in the coming weeks and months unless international commitments are significantly and immediately increased, new research led by Yale researchers predicts.

The findings are published in the Oc... Read More

Viral-research moratorium called too broad

Us government ban on research into enhanced pathogens also affects flu surveillance and vaccine work.

US researchers are worried that a temporary government ban on 'gain-of-function' experiments that boost the infectious properties of dangerous viruses may also cover less-extreme forms of the... Read More

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the infecting microbe—may help detect invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infecti... Read More

Lessons from the ‘Spanish Flu,’ Nearly 100 Years Later

Just in time for flu season, a new Michigan State University study of “the mother of all pandemics” could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases.

Siddharth Chandra, director of MSU’s Asian Studies Center and professor in MSU’s James Madison Colle... Read More

Fecal Transplanters Fish Out Key Ingredient

These days, antibiotics are no silver bullet. In fact, if you get them in the hospital, you may end up with an additional infection. Like the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — which infects more than 300,000 Americans a year and kills some 14,000. C. diff flourishes in the post-antibiotic,... Read More

CDC Announces Active Post-Arrival Monitoring for Travelers from Impacted Countries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that public health authorities will begin active post-arrival monitoring of travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. These travelers are now arriving to the United States at one of five airports where e... Read More

Bacteria are more promiscuous than expected, since plasmids invade unexpectedly diverse fraction of soil bacteria

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

A recent study of biofilm formation in an archaeon revealed a fascinating form of social motility

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

Middle-Aged Adults Were More Susceptible to the Flu Last Year because of a New Viral Mutation

A team of scientists, led by researchers at The Wistar Institute, has identified a possible explanation for why middle-aged adults were hit especially hard by the H1N1 influenza virus during the 2013-2014 influenza season. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sci... Read More

Shaking up cell biology: Researchers focus in on decades-old mitochondrial mystery

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

Antibiotics may help Salmonella spread in infected animals, scientists learn

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
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