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How bacteria with a sweet tooth may keep us healthy

Some gut bacterial strains are specifically adapted to use sugars in our gut lining to aid colonisation, potentially giving them a major influence over our gut health.

We live in a symbiotic relationship with trillions of bacteria in our gut. They help us digest food, prime our immune system ... Read More

Scientists discover how a killer fungus attacks HIV patients

Researchers have discovered that a type of white blood cell carries a deadly fungus into the brains of HIV positive patients, causing meningitis which kills more than 600,000 people a year. The discovery could lead to more effective ways of tackling the deadly fungus as it infects the human body... Read More

A microbe's fountain of youth

The yeast S.pombe is one of the best-studied microbes in the world. First isolated from East African millet beer over a century ago, it's been used as a model organism in molecular and cell biology for the past sixty years. And yet scientists have now just uncovered what may be its most striking... Read More

Stopping malaria transmission: A Virginia Tech biochemist is out for blood

Fighting malaria in today’s world will require a new, targeted approach, and Virginia Tech researchers are out for blood.

The parasites responsible for the mosquito-borne infectious disease are increasingly resistant to current drug approaches, and almost half of the world is at risk of cont... Read More

Pathogens in Cheese – Researchers Follow the Traces of Deadly Bacteria

If food products are not produced in a hygienic environment, consumers can face the threat of dangerous pathogens. This is exactly what happened in 2009 and 2010 when two different strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in the traditional Austrian curd cheese known as “Quargel”. 34 people ... Read More

State's Flu Shot Rule for Preschoolers Helped

A Connecticut law requiring flu shots for children entering preschool or daycare has reduced flu-related hospitalizations of young children by 12 percent, according to a new study. The jump in flu vaccinations of young children -- to 84 percent in 2012-2013 from about 68 percent in 2009-2010 -- ... Read More

Researchers find that going with the flow makes bacteria stick

In a surprising new finding, researchers have discovered that bacterial movement is impeded in flowing water, enhancing the likelihood that the microbes will attach to surfaces. The new work could have implications for the study of marine ecosystems, and for our understanding of how infections t... Read More

Microbe, Enzyme or Mineral? A Riddle in the Soil

When most people look at soil, they just see dirt. When I look at soil, I see billions of microorganisms crawling atop one another, consuming the dead in a feasting frenzy that stops for nothing save a deep freeze. I see microbes and their enzymes, the digestive juices that break down, transform... Read More

Scientists explore the mechanisms of viruses' shells

The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell. The scientists of the International School for Advanced Stu... Read More

Nibbled to Death: U.Va. Researchers Discover New Way Human Cells Are Killed

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine studying a potentially deadly parasitic infection have discovered a previously unknown way that human cells are killed, with the parasitic amoeba essentially nibbling cells to death – as a piranha might attack its prey.

Until now, r... Read More

Researchers Identify Protein That Helps Control Common Viral Infection

Infectious disease specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center have identified a protein that regulates the body’s immune response to cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common pathogen that causes lifelong infections and can lead to devastating illness in newborns and those with weakened immune sys... Read More

Scientists Figure Out How Microbes Make Wine Good

Yeast aren’t the only microbes that help turn boring grapes into the delicious, seductive, complex, confusing, subtle, and totally splendiferous tonic known as wine. In addition to those well-known fermenters, a type of bacteria called Oenococcus oeni (for reasons that will be obvious to oenophi... Read More

Immune cell ‘defenders’ could beat invading bacteria

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body’s immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.
The patented work, published in Nature today, provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defen... Read More

Investigating the Cheese Microbiome

We need to understand how diverse communities of microbes interact, but doing so in the gut is hard. Why not turn to a model system, where diverse microbial communities interact, but in an environment that’s easier to study? We have a long history of using model systems in biology – the mice I m... Read More

Muddled about MERS? Here’s A Quick Guide

While I was working on the “H1N-What?” post, I also knew there would soon be questions about MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), just as there were about SARS. So here are the essentials of what we know and don’t know about MERS—which has just been reported in the U.S.—as well as intriguing... Read More

Adhering To The 'Replicon Model' The Sloppy Way

Sixty years ago Jacob, Brenner and Cuzin devised their 'Replicon Model', inspiring and useful guideline for replication research ever since. According to the model, a 'Replicon' is a genetic element replicated from a single 'Replicator'—replication origin, in modern terms—and replication is trig... Read More

Old drug may be key to new antibiotics

McMaster scientists have found that an anticonvulsant drug may help in developing a new class of antibiotics.

Although dozens of antibiotics target what bacteria do, their study has looked at how a certain part of bacteria are created, and they found there is a way of stopping it.

The disc... Read More

Ebola outbreak “out of all proportion” and severity cannot be predicted

A mathematical model that replicates Ebola outbreaks can no longer be used to ascertain the eventual scale of the current epidemic, finds research conducted by the University of Warwick.

Dr Thomas House, of the University’s Warwick Mathematics Institute, developed a model that incorporated da... Read More

Natural History is Dying, and We Are All the Losers

A few weeks ago, I came across a new paper in BioScience called “Natural History’s Place in Science and Society” that contained the following graph.

On the right axis and indicated by the line surrounded by dots is the proportion of introductory biology texts devoted to natural history since ... Read More

Rare byproduct of marine bacteria kills cancer cells by snipping their DNA

Yale University researchers have determined how a scarce molecule produced by marine bacteria can kill cancer cells, paving the way for the development of new, low-dose chemotherapies.

The molecule, lomaiviticin A, was previously shown to be lethal to cultured human cancer cells, but the mech... Read More

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