Bacteria may lack a true immune system, but this does not leave them defenseless against bacteriophage viruses and other pathogens. A system of genomic sequence elements called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and various CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas) help to... Read More
From cow burps to tree hiccups and melting permafrost, the potent greenhouse gas methane is produced in myriad ways. Now we can add another one to the list: electricity-generating microbes. The finding could one day allow us to control the generation of methane.
Methanosaeta microbes are one ... Read More
Bacterial proteins could alter precipitation patterns and climate-change models.
Proteins can help grow teeth and bones in the body, crops in the ground, and even ice in the atmosphere. Some proteins have an uncanny knack for kick starting ice formation at unusual temperatures, and they have ... Read More
Australian researchers have found that zinc can 'starve' one of the world's most deadly bacteria by preventing its uptake of an essential metal.
The finding, by infectious disease researchers at the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland, opens the way for further work to des... Read More
Doses of a human gut microbe helped to reverse behavioral problems in mice with autism-like symptoms, researchers report today in Cell. The treatment also reduced gastrointestinal problems in the animals that were similar to those that often accompany autism in humans.
The work builds on prev... Read More
Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used an indicator in treatment.
More than 260,000 Americans are alive today thanks to transplant operations that have replaced their failing kidneys, hearts, lungs or livers with hea... Read More
We live in a world run by microbes, the vast majority of which we have yet to identify or name. We can only refer to them collectively as the microbial dark matter (MDM). However you define a prokaryotic species, and however you tally them once identified, there is a huge gap between the 12,000 ... Read More
Bacteria are found in large numbers all over the human body where there is a channel to the outside world, for example in the gut, lungs, and surface of the skin. I’ve always thought that actually inside the human body was a bacteria-free environment unless an infection was raging so I was very ... Read More
Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.
Some gamblers succeed by spiriting cards up their sleeves, giving them a wider range of hands to play. So do some bacteria, whose great capacity for genetic variability helps them evolve and adapt to rapidl... Read More
Food transit through the small intestine affects the body's absorption of nutrients and, consequently, our health. The discovery that food transit time is regulated by a hormone indicates new ways to increase the intestinal absorption of nutrients, and thus potentially treat malnutrition.
One... Read More
Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them.
In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan St... Read More
The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) glycoproteins of the influenza virus particle serve distinct functions during infection. The HA binds sialic acid-containing cellular receptors and mediates fusion of the viral and cell membranes, while the NA removes sialic acids from glycoproteins.... Read More
Viruses are supposed to be small and simple—not even alive, just mobile genetic material after all. So what do we make of giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, one of which—the newly discovered Pandoravirus salinus—has an even larger genome than a hunky parasitic eukaryote called Encephalit... Read More
The mosquito-borne infection is cropping up in Florida, but mysteriously not in similar regions in the nation.
Most Americans lose little sleep over dengue fever. The mosquito-borne infection is a leading killer in the tropics and subtropics, but it’s been a long-held belief that ubiquitous a... Read More
In May 1984, readers of an article by Schwartz and Cantor in the prestigious journal Cell were to stumble upon pictures of DNA agarose gels that were among the lousiest of such ever published after the method was introduced in the early 70s. Why did the editors of Cell risk their reputation? Or ... Read More
On the continental margins, where the seafloor drops hundreds of meters below the water’s surface, low temperatures and high pressure lock methane inside ice crystals. Called methane hydrates, these crystals are a potential energy source, but they are also a potential source of global warming if... Read More
Scientists have long believed that microorganisms that produce methane swim toward the hydrogen gas they need to stay alive, but it has been too hard to prove in the lab.
Montana State University researchers have now overcome those challenges, allowing them to verify it for the first time, sa... Read More
Cambridge scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which bacteria build their surface propellers (flagella) – the long extensions that allow them to swim towards food and away from danger. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the mechanism is powered by the s... Read More
Saudi Arabia says one more person has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 55 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the center of the outbreak.
The Health Ministry said Sunday that the 37-year-old man died in Riyadh. He was among 130 people who have been infected wi... Read More
Two studies published in the December issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology show antibiotic resistance patterns for children have held stable over a seven-year period and surgical patients in U.S. children's hospitals account for 43 percent of all antibiotic use in children's hosp... Read More