A common plant puts out a welcome mat to bacteria seeking to invade, and scientists have discovered the mat's molecular mix. The study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals new targets during the battle between microbe and host that researchers can ex... Read More
Prokaryotes are by far the most successful superkingdom in terms of both biochemical diversity and the variety of environments conquered. Bacteria can be found living in all kinds of adverse conditions; from high alkaline lakes, to below freezing temperature, to hot volcanic vents which in some ... Read More
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
About 6,000 years ago, a bacterium underwent a few genetic changes. These allowed it to expand its habitat from the guts of mice to that of fleas. Such changes happen all the time, but in this particular instance the transformation eventually resulted in the Black Death that wiped out a third of... Read More
Corralling desperados with names like bacillus and paenibacillus will require ingenuity and an arsenal of weapons. These outlaws aren't rustling cattle—they're making milk sour and cheese soft and crumbly.
For more than a century, milk has been heated to kill any bacteria or pathogens that ca... Read More
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
We continue our semi-annual ritual and post this quick tour of our featured blog posts published since June 2013.
Microbial ‘Starstuff’. Associate blogger Gemma Reguera tells us how the remnants of a dying star become transmuted into microbial stuff, including cellular structures... Read More
Bacteria could mop up naturally-occurring and man-made leaks of natural gases before they are released into the atmosphere and cause global warming - according to new research from the University of East Anglia.
Findings published today in the journal Nature shows how a single bacterial strai... Read More
One way to avoid getting sick while traveling is to only eat fruit that you peel yourself, since plants can filter out bacteria and prevent it from traveling throughout their tissues. Well, why not apply this principle to filtering water directly? A team of scientists have done just that, testi... Read More
Using two yeasts that have been used to brew tea and beer for centuries, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have revealed how reproductive barriers might rapidly arise to create species boundaries. Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been used to brew beer in Africa, whereas its clo... 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
Antibiotic resistance mechanisms of clinically important bacteria. Read More
One genome at a time can be exciting, but two even more so. I’m not entirely sure why this is, although it may explain our fascination with sex. And what if more than two entities were involved? What if the intimacy were not just between two individual organisms, but between a greater number of ... Read More
The fungal pathogen Candida albicans causes yeast infections, diaper rashes and oral thrush, and is the most common fungal pathogen to infect humans. Researchers have identified a protein that the fungus uses to defend itself against the human body. Another concern with the fungus is that it can... Read More
Dave Wiechert of Nashville, Illinois, does good business most years cleaning seed for farmers in preparation for planting season. But this year, Wiechert is doing big business after harvest: cleaning fungus off wheat so farmers can sell it.
The "head scab" fungus can produce vomitoxin, a chem... Read More
Scientists have taken the first steps to developing a vaccine for chikungunya — an emerging mosquito-borne virus that has infected more than a half million people in the Western Hemisphere this year. About 600 Americans have brought the virus to 43 states.
The study was small. Only 25 people ... Read More
Cells, biological circuits, and individual biomolecules organize themselves and interact with the environment. Use of these capabilities in flexible and economically efficient biotechnological production systems is in the focus of the "Molecular Interaction Engineering" (MIE) project. It is the ... Read More
Nearly 40 years ago, a young Belgian scientist travelled to a remote part of the Congolese rainforest - his task was to help find out why so many people were dying from an unknown and terrifying disease.
In September 1976, a package containing a shiny, blue thermos flask arrived at the Instit... Read More
If you happened to be reading state health departments’ outbreak announcements this past weekend, you might have seen something interesting.
(You don’t do this? Hmm.)
Three states — Rhode Island, North Carolina and Tennessee — all said that they have identified residents who have been diag... Read More
MIT study finds ocean bacteria follow predictable patterns of daily activity.
We are all creatures of habit, and a new MIT study finds ocean bacteria are no exception.
In a paper published this week in Science, researchers from MIT and elsewhere report that microbes in the open ocean follo... Read More