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.

  • Exploring how herpes simplex virus changes when passed between family members
    on October 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    A new study offers a rare glimpse into the genetics of a herpes simplex virus transmission event -- information that may prove useful in future development of therapeutics and vaccines. The study reveals nearly perfect genetic transmission of the virus from a father to his son and lays the foundation for future studies exploring the genetic diversity of this virus. […]

  • How the smallest bacterial pathogens outwit host immune defenses by stealth mechanisms
    on October 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Despite their relatively small genome, mycoplasmas can cause persistent and difficult-to-treat infections in humans and animals. A study has shown how mycoplasmas escape the immune response. Mycoplasmas 'mask' themselves: They use their small genome in a clever way and compensate for the loss of an enzyme that is important for this process. This could be shown for the first time in vivo, thus representing a breakthrough in the research of bacterial pathogens. […]

  • Chromosomes may be knotted
    on October 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Little is known about the structures of our genetic material, chromosomes, which consist of long strings that -- according to our experience -- should be likely to become knotted. However, up to now it has not been possible to study this experimentally. Researchers have now found that chromosomes may indeed be knotted. […]

  • Flu simulations suggest pandemics more likely in spring, early summer
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    New statistical simulations suggest that Northern Hemisphere flu pandemics are most likely to emerge in late spring or early summer at the tail end of the normal flu season, according to a new study. […]

  • Gut bacteria from wild mice boost health in lab mice
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Laboratory mice that are given the gut bacteria of wild mice can survive a deadly flu virus infection and fight colorectal cancer dramatically better than laboratory mice with their own gut bacteria, researchers report. […]

  • H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    In 2013, an influenza virus began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and as of late July 2017, nearly 1,600 people had tested positive for avian H7N9. Nearly 40 percent of those infected had died. In 2017, a medical researcher received a sample of H7N9 virus isolated from a patient in China who had died of the flu. He and his research team subsequently began work to characterize and understand it. […]

  • Gut bacterium indirectly causes symptoms by altering fruit fly microbiome
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    CagA, a protein produced by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, can alter the population of microbes living in the fruit fly gut, leading to disease symptoms, according to new research. […]

  • Last unknown structure of HIV-1 solved, another step in efforts to disarm the AIDS virus
    on October 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Researchers have solved the last unknown protein structure of HIV-1, the retrovirus that can cause AIDS. This will further explain how the virus infects human cells and how progeny viruses are assembled and released from infected cells. […]

  • Superbug's artillery revealed: nanomachine secretes toxins
    on October 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Researchers have created the first high-resolution structure depicting a crucial part of the 'superbug' Pseudomonas aeruginosa, classified by the WHO as having the highest level threat to human health. The image identifies the 'nanomachine' used by the highly virulent bacteria to secrete toxins, pointing the way for drug design targeting this. […]

  • Scientists find where HIV 'hides' to evade detection by the immune system
    on October 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    In a decades-long game of hide and seek, scientists have confirmed for the very first time the specific immune memory T-cells where infectious HIV 'hides' in the human body to evade detection by the immune system. […]

  • Yeast spotlights genetic variation's link to drug resistance
    on October 18, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Researchers have shown that genetic diversity plays a key role in enabling drug resistance to evolve. Scientists show that high genetic diversity can prime new mutations that cause drug resistance. The study has implications for our understanding of the evolution of resistance to antimicrobial and anticancer drugs. […]

  • Assessment shows metagenomics software has much room for improvement
    on October 17, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    A recent critical assessment of software tools represents a key step toward taming the 'Wild West' nature of the burgeoning field of metagenomics. […]

  • Looking for microbe 'fingerprints' on simulated Martian rocks
    on October 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Scientists are searching for unique bio-signatures left on synthetic extraterrestrial minerals by microbial activity. A new paper describes investigations into these signatures at a miniaturized 'Mars farm' where researchers can observe interactions between the archaeon Metallosphaera sedula and Mars-like rocks. These microbes are capable of oxidizing and integrating metals into their metabolism. […]

  • Need for speed makes genome editing efficient, if not better
    on October 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Researchers have developed a computational model to quantify the mechanism by which CRISPR-Cas9 proteins find their genome-editing targets. […]

  • Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments
    on October 17, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Two recent studies have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning. The studies used a series of experiments to identify key pathways and mechanisms previously unknown or overlooked in the body's defenses, and possible treatments already developed. […]

  • Germ-free hatching eggs: An alternative to formaldehyde application
    on October 16, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Hatching eggs in large-scale hatcheries are currently treated with formaldehyde to eliminate germs. Researchers have now developed a natural alternative. […]

  • Oysters offer hot spot for reducing nutrient pollution
    on October 16, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Marine scientists have quantified potentially denitrifying bacteria in the oyster gut and shell, with important implications for efforts to reduce nutrient levels in coastal waters through oyster restoration. […]

  • Germ-free hatching eggs: An alternative to formaldehyde application
    on October 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Hatching eggs in large-scale hatcheries are currently treated with formaldehyde to eliminate germs. Researchers have now developed a natural alternative. […]

  • New antibiotic resistance genes found
    on October 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Researchers have found several previously unknown genes that make bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics. The genes were found by searching large volumes of bacterial DNA. […]

  • Gutters teem with inconspicuous life
    on October 13, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Scientists have shown that Parisian street gutters are oases of microscopic life, home to microalgae, fungi, sponges, and mollusks. Grouped into communities, these microorganisms may help clean rainwater and urban waste by decomposing solid debris and pollutants. A deeper understanding of the role and composition of these communities could help elucidate the services rendered by gutter ecosystems. The researchers' findings are the first to reveal the unsuspected biodiversity of microscopic life in Paris city streets. […]

  • Usutu virus is back: Not only in blackbirds but also in humans
    on October 13, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Usutu virus, a flavivirus of African origin, was first detected in Austria in 2001, when it caused a severe bird die-off, mainly of blackbirds. The virus was active in the eastern part of Austria until 2005, killing many blackbirds, but also other songbirds. During 10 subsequent years no Usutu virus associated bird mortality was observed in Austria -- contrary to neighboring Hungary. Last year Usutu virus was identified again in two blackbirds -- and in 2017 already in sixteen songbirds. In another study Usutu virus was demonstrated in seven human blood donations from eastern Austria, suggesting that human infections seem to be more frequent than previously thought.&nbs […]

  • Baltic clams, worms release as much greenhouse gas as 20,000 dairy cows
    on October 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Ocean clams and worms are releasing a significant amount of potentially harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, scientists have shown. […]

  • How E. coli bacteria adapt under stress
    on October 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Researchers have developed a genome-scale model that can accurately predict how E. coli bacteria respond to temperature changes and genetic mutations. The work sheds light on how cells adapt under environmental stress and has applications in precision medicine, where adaptive cell modeling could provide patient-specific treatments for bacterial infections. […]

  • Fluctuating environments can help cooperating bacteria
    on October 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Cooperating bacterial populations are more likely to survive in changing habitats, new research shows.&nbs […]

  • Map of the gut's microbial landscape
    on October 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Scientists have provided an early glimpse of how microbial communities in the gut -- known collectively as the gut microbiome -- are spatially organized, uncovering a surprising degree of mixing among different bacterial members. […]

  • Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
    on October 11, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Even in immunized animals, noroviruses can escape the immune system and still spread by hiding out in an extremely rare type of cell in the gut, a new mouse study found. […]

  • Gut fungi could play a role in obesity epidemic
    on October 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    A high-fat diet changes fungi in the gut and may play a role in the development of obesity, according to a new study. While gut microbes have previously been implicated in the development of obesity, this study shows that fungi may also play a role. […]

  • Tracking the viral parasites of giant viruses over time
    on October 11, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    In freshwater lakes, microbes regulate the flow of carbon and determine if the bodies of water serve as carbon sinks or carbon sources. Viruses exist amidst all bacteria, usually in a 10-fold excess and include virophages which live in giant viruses and use their machinery to replicate and spread. Researchers have effectively doubled the number of known virophages. […]

  • Predatory bacteria: The quest for a new class of antibiotics
    on October 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Researchers take one step forward toward understanding and genetically manipulating B. bacteriovorus, a type of bacteria with promising potential use as a living antibiotic. […]

  • How rabies can induce frenzied behavior
    on October 11, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Scientists may finally understand how the rabies virus can drastically change its host's behavior to help spread the disease, which kills about 59,000 people annually. A new study shows how a small piece of the rabies virus can bind to and inhibit certain receptors in the brain that play a crucial role in regulating the behavior of mammals. This interferes with communication in the brain and induces frenzied behaviors that favor the transmission of the virus. […]