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Too much of a good thing: Extra genes make bacteria lethal

We, as most animals, host many different beneficial bacteria. Being beneficial to the host often pays off for the bacteria, as success of the host determines the survival and spread of the microbe. But if bacteria grow too much they may become deadly. In a new study published in the latest editi... Read More

Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes’ sexual biology

Sexual biology may be the key to uncovering why Anopheles mosquitoes are unique in their ability to transmit malaria to humans, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and University of Perugia, Italy. Through analysis of 16 Anopheles genomes, they found that these... Read More

A new understanding of Alzheimer’s

Although natural selection is often thought of as a force that determines the adaptation of replicating organisms to their environment, Harvard researchers have found that selection also occurs at the level of neurons, which are post-mitotic cells, and plays a critical role in the emergence of A... Read More

Your Immune System Is Made, Not Born

In one of the most comprehensive analyses of immune function performed to date, researchers analyzed blood samples from 105 sets of healthy twins. They measured immune cell populations and their chemical messengers—204 parameters in all—before and after participants received a flu shot. Differen... Read More

Mutant Bacteria That Keep on Growing

The typical Escherichia coli, the laboratory rat of microbiology, is a tiny 1-2 thousandths of a millimeter long. Now, by blocking cell division, two researchers at Concordia University in Montreal have grown E. coli that stretch three quarters of a millimeter. That's up to 750 times their norma... Read More

Widely used food additives promotes colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome, shows study of emulsifiers

Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome, new research shows.

Click ... Read More

Infections With Dangerous Gut Microbe Still On The Rise

A potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal infection is more common than previously estimated, federal health officials reported Wednesday.

The infection, caused by a bacterium known as Clostridium difficile, or C-diff, causes nearly 500,000 illnesses in the United States each year and k... Read More

Ocean acidification slows algae growth in the Southern Ocean

In a recent study, scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), demonstrate for the first time that ocean acidification could have negative impacts on diatoms in the Southern Ocean. In laboratory tests they were able to observe that under chan... Read More

Parasitism runs deep in malaria's family tree

The ancestors of a large family of parasites—including those that cause malaria—were equipped to become parasites much earlier in their lineage than previously assumed, according to University of British Columbia (UBC) research.

The work, published in PNAS, traces the emergence of parasitism ... Read More

Bacteria in marine sponges harvest phosphorus for reef community

Significant accumulations of polyphosphate granules have been found in three common sponge species of the Caribbean coral reef, indicating that microorganisms that live on marine sponges are pulling phosphorus out of the water to feed themselves and survive in a deep-water environment where very... Read More

Blocking HIV infection with two soluble receptors

Because viruses must bind to cell surface molecules to initiate replication, the use of soluble receptors to block virus infection has long been an attractive therapeutic option. Soluble receptors have been developed that block infection with rhinoviruses and HIV-1, but these have not been licen... Read More

Caring for People Infected with Ebola: Stories from the Frontlines


Call for Stories
Caring for People Infected with Ebola: Stories from the Frontlines
Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from individuals who have been at the frontlines of healthcare for Ebola patients—whether as healthcare workers, family caregivers,... Read More

Molecule hijacks enzyme to boost alcohol metabolism

An experimental compound empowers an enzyme to help process acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of alcohol, according to new research supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The findings, now online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), ... Read More

The deadly, new "Bourbon virus" was just discovered in the US

A mysterious illness that seems to have killed a farmer in Kansas has led to the discovery of a new virus last week: the Bourbon virus.

The farmer had been working on his field last spring when he got several tick bites, including one that appeared to be attached to his shoulder. A few days l... Read More

Ebolavirus will not become a respiratory pathogen

An otherwise balanced review of selected aspects of Ebolavirus transmission falls apart when the authors hypothesize that ‘Ebola viruses have the potential to be respiratory pathogens with primary respiratory spread.’

The idea that Ebolavirus might become transmitted by the respiratory route ... Read More

Retracing the Roots of Fungal Symbioses

Mycorrhizal fungi live in the roots of host plants, where they exchange sugars that plants produce by photosynthesis for mineral nutrients that fungi absorb from the soil. They include some of the most conspicuous forest mushrooms, including the iconic, flaming red “fly agaric,” Amanita muscaria... Read More

TWiP 84: Bigfoot

Vincent, Dickson, and Daniel consider the delivery of anti-trypanosome nanobodies to the tsetse fly via a bacterial symbiont, and present a new case study.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Burden of Clostridium difficile Infection in the United States

The deadly bacterial infection Clostridium difficile is estimated to have afflicted almost half a million Americans and caused 29,000 deaths in 2011, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. The estimate is... Read More

A Pill That Mimics the Immune System

The human body doesn’t like outsiders. When a foreign pathogen or substance, say an unwanted virus, finds its way into our blood streams we produce antibodies that the neutralize the threat. These “Y”-shaped proteins are made by a class of white blood cells called plasma cells and bind to molecu... Read More

Liberia’s President Urges U.S. to Continue Ebola Aid

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia on Friday urged the United States to maintain its assistance to her country as it continues to fight to recover from the Ebola outbreak, which began about one year ago.

In a meeting at the White House with President Obama, Ms. Johnson Sirleaf asked f... Read More
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