Microbes and More

Microbes and More News -- ScienceDaily Current science articles on microbes and more. Read about viruses, bacteria, fungi and prions and see related videos.

  • How did a deadly tropical fungus get to the temperate environs of the Pacific Northwest?
    on January 18, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    In what is being described as 'The Teddy Roosevelt effect,' a deadly fungus in the Pacific Northwest may have arrived from Brazil via the Panama Canal, according to a new study. Cryptococcus gattii -- which until a 1999 outbreak in British Columbia's Vancouver Island was considered primarily a tropical fungus -- can cause deadly lung and brain infections in both people and animals. […]

  • Certain flu virus mutations may compensate for fitness costs of other mutations
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research, certain mutations in the genome of influenza A may help counteract the weakening effects of other mutations. […]

  • First global atlas of the bacteria living in your dirt
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    What lives in your dirt? Researchers are one step closer to finding out after compiling the first global atlas of soil bacterial communities and identifying a group of around 500 key species that are both common and abundant worldwide. […]

  • Protein designed entirely from scratch functions in cells as a genuine enzyme
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Artificial biology is working toward creating a genuinely new organism. Researchers are designing and building proteins that can fold and mimic the chemical processes that sustain life. Now they have confirmed that at least one of their new proteins can catalyze biological reactions in E. coli, meaning that a protein designed entirely from scratch functions in cells as a genuine enzyme. […]

  • Scientists find microbes on the skin of mice promote tissue healing, immunity
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Beneficial bacteria on the skin of lab mice work with the animals' immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing, according to new research. Researchers say untangling similar mechanisms in humans may improve approaches to managing skin wounds and treating other damaged tissues. […]

  • Zika virus damages placenta, which may explain malformed babies
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    New researcher shows how Zika virus infection in five pregnant rhesus monkeys caused placental tissues to become thickened and inflamed, resulting in less oxygen being transported across the placenta and to the baby. […]

  • Recent advances in understanding coral resilience are essential to safeguard coral reefs
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    The most urgent course of action to safeguard coral reefs is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but concurrently there is also a need to consider novel management techniques and previously over-looked reef areas for protective actions under predicted climate change impacts. The conclusions were reached following a comprehensive review of the literature on the mechanisms of potential coral resistance and recovery across scales from global reef areas to the microbial level within individual corals. […]

  • Self-healing fungi concrete could provide sustainable solution to crumbling infrastructure
    on January 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    A new self-healing fungi concrete could help repair cracks in aging concrete permanently, and help save America's crumbling infrastructure. […]

  • Are amoebae safe harbors for plague?
    on January 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Amoebae, single-celled organisms common in soil, water and grade-school science classrooms, may play a key role in the survival and spread of deadly plague bacteria. New research shows that plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, not only survive, but thrive and replicate once ingested by an amoeba. The discovery could help scientists understand why plague outbreaks can smolder, stay dormant for years, and re-emerge with a vengeance. […]

  • Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable
    on January 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain. Now, a new study in mice suggests that such ongoing neurological deficits may be due to unresolved inflammation that hinders the brain's ability to repair damaged neurons and grow new ones. When the inflammation was reduced by treatment with an arthritis drug, the animals' ability to learn and remember remained sharp after West Nile disease. […]

  • Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Roughly 10 percent of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms contain the genetic code for manufacturing a back-up enzyme, called iron iron-only nitrogenase, to do their job. New research reveals that this enzyme allows these microorganisms to convert nitrogen gas to ammonia and carbon dioxide into methane at the same time. This enzymatic pathway is a previously unknown route for the natural biological production of methane. […]

  • Possible cause of early colonial-era Mexican epidemic identified
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Researchers have used new methods in ancient DNA research to identify Salmonella enterica Paratyphi C, a pathogen that causes enteric fever, in the skeletons of victims of the 1545-1550 cocoliztli epidemic in Mexico, identifying a possible cause of this devastating colonial epidemic. […]

  • Surfers three times more likely to have antibiotic-resistant bacteria in guts
    on January 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Scientists compared fecal samples from surfers and non-surfers to assess whether the surfers' guts contained E. coli bacteria that were able to grow in the presence of the antibiotic cefotaxime. Cefotaxime has previously been prescribed to kill off these bacteria, but some have acquired genes that enable them to survive this treatment. The study found that 13 of 143 (9 percent) of surfers were colonized by these resistant bacteria, compared to just four of 130 (3 percent) of non-surfers swabbed. […]

  • Microbial signal recognition stems from existing building blocks
    on January 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Scientists have characterized a protein that enables certain microorganisms to recognize and absorb ammonium in their environment. Ammonium is considered a toxin that pollutes ecosystems - but for these bacteria it represents an important nutrient and energy source. […]

  • New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs
    on January 12, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world -- creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines -- and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant to many antifungals, meaning once a person is infected, there are limited treatment options. But researchers have now confirmed a new drug compound kills drug-resistant C. auris, both in the laboratory and in a mouse model that mimics human infection. […]

  • Can Muesli help against arthritis?
    on January 12, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    It is well known that healthy eating increases our general sense of wellbeing. Researchers have now discovered that a fiber-rich diet can have a positive influence on chronic inflammatory joint diseases, leading to stronger bones. […]

  • New source of world’s deadliest toxin discovered
    on January 12, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Researchers have identified genes encoding a previously undiscovered version of the botulinum neurotoxin in bacteria from a cow’s gut. […]

  • Experts raise concerns over raw meat diets for cats and dogs
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Experts are warning dog and cat owners to be aware of the risks associated with feeding their pets raw meat-based diets, instead of the more conventional dry or canned pet foods. […]

  • Northern corn leaf blight genes identified in new study
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Midwestern corn growers know the symptoms of northern corn leaf blight all too well: greenish-gray lesions on the leaves that can add up to major yield losses if not detected and treated early. Corn resistance genes have been identified, but the fungal disease has found ways to sneak around corn's defenses. Now, researchers have discovered how the fungus is outsmarting corn, and they may be able to use this information to help corn fight back. […]

  • All in the family: Focused genomic comparisons
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:39 am

    Aspergillus fungi are pathogens, decomposers, and important sources of biotechnologically-important enzymes. Scientists now report the first outcome from the large-scale sequencing of 300+ Aspergillus species. These findings are a proof of concept of novel methods to functionally annotate genomes to more quickly identify genes of interest. […]

  • Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication
    on January 11, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Dengue virus slowly takes over the endoplasmic reticulum, the production site for a subset of host proteins, and steers clear of the cytosol, the fluid-filled space where the majority of host cellular proteins are synthesized. Its viral RNA template is translated into protein in such an inefficient, lackadaisical manner that it doesn't trip alarms. […]

  • Scientists identify immune cells that keep gut fungi under control
    on January 11, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Immune cells that process food and bacterial antigens in the intestines control the intestinal population of fungi, according to a new study. Defects in the fungus-fighting abilities of these cells may contribute to some cases of Crohn's disease and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). […]

  • Human protein may aid neuron invasion by virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    A human protein known as prohibitin may play a significant role in infection of the nervous system by EV71, one of several viruses that can cause hand, foot, and mouth disease. […]

  • Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research. […]

  • Researchers map druggable genomic targets in evolving malaria parasite
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers have used whole genome analyses and chemogenetics to identify new drug targets and resistance genes in 262 parasite cell lines of Plasmodium falciparum -- protozoan pathogens that cause malaria -- that are resistant to 37 diverse antimalarial compounds. […]

  • Biologists create toolkit for tuning genetic circuits
    on January 11, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Scientists have created a toolkit for synthetic biologists who need to precisely tune the input and output levels of genetic circuits. […]

  • Immune response to bacteria: Distinguishing helpers from harmers
    on January 10, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Some staphylococcus bacteria live peacefully on human skin and membranes in a mutually beneficial relationship with their host, while others are able to exist far from a human host in soil or in water. When we come into contact with bacteria, the activation of our immune system is the first step to fighting off any imminent infection. Just how the immune system distinguishes between potential pathogens and harmless commensal bacteria is the focus of a new study. […]

  • With these special bacteria, a broccoli a day can keep the cancer doctor away
    on January 10, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Researchers have engineered bacteria that specifically targets colorectal cancer cells and converts a substance in some vegetables into an anticancer agent. The system reduced the number of tumors by 75 percent and shrank the remaining tumors by threefold in a mouse model of colorectal cancer. Published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the study suggests that the probiotics taken together with a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables could help prevent colorectal cancer and its recurrence. […]

  • Scientists discover workings of first promising Marburg virus treatment
    on January 10, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Scientists have discovered the workings of the first promising treatment for Marburg virus, a pathogen with the same pandemic potential as Ebola virus. […]

  • The origin of flower making genes
    on January 10, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    A research team has revealed that the MADS-box genes control sperm motility and cell division and elongation of the stem of gametophores, using the moss Physcomitrella patens. […]