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The lung microbiome: A new frontier in pulmonary medicine

The Annals of the American Thoracic Society has released a comprehensive supplement on the 56th annual Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference entitled “The Lung Microbiome: A New Frontier in Pulmonary Medicine.” More than 170 microbiologists, basic respiratory scientists, and pulmonary clinicians traveled from nine countries to convene at the three-day conference, which took place in June 2013 in Aspen, CO. Research from 12 state-o Read more...

Bacteria-invading virus yields new discoveries

Innovative work by two Florida State University scientists that shows the structural and DNA breakdown of a bacteria-invading virus is being featured on the cover of the February issue of the journal Virology. Kathryn Jones and Elizabeth Stroupe, both assistant professors in the Department of Biological Science, have deconstructed a type of virus called a bacteriophage, which infects bacteria. Their work will help researchers in the future hav Read more...

From friend to foe: How benign bacteria evolve to virulent pathogens

Macrophage (in red) infected with fluorescent labelled E. coli (in yellow or blue). Bacteria can evolve rapidly to adapt to environmental change. Bacteria can evolve rapidly to adapt to environmental change. When the “environment” is the immune response of an infected host, this evolution can turn harmless bacteria into life-threatening pathogens. A study published on December 12 in PLOS Pathogens provides insight into how this happ Read more...

Scientists discover chemical modification in human malaria parasite DNA

Life cycle of the human malaria parasite. Say “malaria” and most people think “mosquito,” but the buzzing, biting insect is merely the messenger, delivering the Plasmodium parasites that sickened more than 200 million people globally in 2010 and killed about 660,000. Worse, the parasite is showing resistance to artemisinin, the most effective drug for treating infected people. Now University of California, Riverside r Read more...

Scientists discover chemical modification in human malaria parasite DNA

Life cycle of the human malaria parasite. Say “malaria” and most people think “mosquito,” but the buzzing, biting insect is merely the messenger, delivering the Plasmodium parasites that sickened more than 200 million people globally in 2010 and killed about 660,000. Worse, the parasite is showing resistance to artemisinin, the most effective drug for treating infected people. Now University of California, Riverside r Read more...

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria turns immune system against itself

Around 20 percent of all humans are persistently colonized with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a leading cause of skin infections and one of the major sources of hospital-acquired infections, including the antibiotic-resistant strain MRSA. University of Chicago scientists have recently discovered one of the keys to the immense success of S. aureus—the ability to hijack a primary human immune defense mechanism and use it to destroy white bl Read more...

Model virus structure shows why there’s no cure for common cold

In a pair of landmark studies that exploit the genetic sequencing of the “missing link” cold virus, rhinovirus C, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have constructed a three-dimensional model of the pathogen that shows why there is no cure yet for the common cold. Writing today (Oct. 28, 2013) in the journal Virology, a team led by UW-Madison biochemistry Professor Ann Palmenberg provides a meticulous topographical m Read more...

Tracking viral DNA in the cell

The medical, humanitarian and economical impact of viral diseases is devastating to humans and livestock. There are no adequate therapies available against most viral diseases, largely because the mechanisms by which viruses infect cells are poorly known. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Zurich headed by cell biologist Prof. Urs Greber now presents a method that can be used to display viral DNA in host cells at sin Read more...

Key mechanism behind herpes revealed

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have for the first time managed to measure the internal pressure that enables the herpes virus to infect cells in the human body. The discovery paves the way for the development of new medicines to combat viral infections. The results indicate good chances to stop herpes infections in the future. A virus comprises a thin shell of protein, within which are its genes. A long-standing theory has been that Read more...

The secret life of underground microbes: Plant root microbiomes rule the world

This is the cover of the American Journal of Botany September issue featuring the Rhizosphere Interactions special section. We often ignore what we cannot see, and yet organisms below the soil’s surface play a vital role in plant functions and ecosystem well-being. These microbes can influence a plant’s genetic structure, its health, and its interactions with other plants. A new series of articles in a Special Section in the America Read more...