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ASM Weekly Newsdigest
Issue #229

In this week’s issue:

1. Prion folding produces strains
2. Ricin vaccine protects mice from poisoning
3. Pathogen strain responsible for Irish potato famine identified
4. Riboswitch ribozyme
5. “Male-killer” bacterium’s genome is deciphered
6. WHO urges world to fight TB “super-strains”
7. Virus linked with head and neck cancer
8. Investigating molecular motors step by step
9. New monkey virus jumps to humans
10. Chip takes over lab routine
11. How gut commensals survive
12. Bacteria live in the esophagus
13. Mechanism leading to life-threatening infection identified
14. Prototype bird flu vaccine by April
15. ASM journal tips

Prion folding produces strains
The Scientist
March 18, 2004
http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040318/02
Two papers based on studies of prion infections of yeast report that the conformational differences in the infecting prions determine strain variation.

 

Ricin vaccine protects mice from poisoning
Nature Science Update
March 15, 2004
http://www.nature.com/nsu/040308/040308-14.html
An experimental vaccine against the deadly poison ricin has produced encouraging results in mice, U.S. army experts report. The treatment can be applied directly to the skin, potentially eliminating the need for injections.

 

Pathogen strain responsible for Irish potato famine identified
Biocom
March 18, 2004
http://www.bio.com/newsfeatures/newsfeatures_research.jhtml;jsessionid=YQM45NYR1PL45R3FQLMCFEWHUWBNSIV0?sectionId=2&contentType=Articles&cid=142110425&page=1
Researchers point the finger at a strain of Phytophthora infestans and trace its probable roots to the Andes Mountains in South America.

 

Riboswitch ribozyme
The Scientist
March 18, 2004
http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040318/01
So far, all repressor molecules that have been characterized are proteins. But a new study describes a novel catalytic RNA that controls its own gene expression.

 

“Male-killer” bacterium’s genome is deciphered
The Scientist
March 16, 2004
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040316071637.htm
Scientists have sequenced the complete genome of one strain of Wolbachia pipientis, scientists are already gaining new insight into the biology and evolution of Wolbachia-host interactions.

 

WHO urges world to fight TB “super-strains”
Nature Science Update
March 16, 2004
http://www.nature.com/nsu/040315/040315-3.html
The World Health Organization has sounded a warning over the growing prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Unless action is taken, these “super-strains” of the disease could render existing therapies useless, public-health experts say.

 

Virus linked with head and neck cancer
Reuters
March 16, 2004
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=4581601§ion=news
Infection of cells in the mouth with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for head and neck cancer, new research indicates.

 

Investigating molecular motors step by step
The Scientist
March 15, 2004
http://www.the-scientist.com/yr2004/mar/feature_040315.html
Recent discoveries begin to answer how dyneins, kinesins, and myosins actually work.

 

New monkey virus jumps to humans
New Scientist
March 19, 2004
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994798
The discovery of a new class of monkey virus jumping into humans has reinforced claims that HIV came from bushmeat hunting.

 

Chip takes over lab routine
Nature Science Update
March 15, 2004
http://www.nature.com/nsu/040308/040308-12.html
By shrinking laboratory machines to minute proportions, California scientists have built a postage stamp-sized chip that drags DNA from cells. The device might one day shoulder some of scientists' routine tasks.

 

How gut commensals survive
The Scientist
March 15, 2004
http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040315/01
Dendritic cells play key role in containing and adapting commensals to intestinal mucosa.

 

Bacteria live in the esophagus
Biocom
March 16, 2004
http://www.bio.com/newsfeatures/newsfeatures_research.jhtml?cid=141350742&page=1
The esophagus isn't merely a tube for food traveling from the mouth to the stomach, it also provides an environment for bacteria to live, according to a new study that overturns the general belief that the esophagus is free of bacteria.

 

Mechanism leading to life-threatening infection identified
Science Daily
March 18, 2004
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040318073929.htm
The mechanism used by the bacteria that cause anthrax, bubonic plague and typhoid fever to avoid detection and destruction by the body's normal immune response—leading to life-threatening bacterial infections—has been identified.

 

Prototype bird flu vaccine by April
The Scientist
March 17, 2004
http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20040317/02
A deletion virus vaccine for H5N1 avian flu, created by reverse genetics, will be ready to go by mid-April.

 

ASM journal tips
March 2004
index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3258
Journal tips for March include sand fly saliva contributes to disease in humans, cheese-making bacteria survive pasteurization, and fungi that cause wood decay in historic Antarctic huts.

 

Information on other research developments can be found at these sites:

Science News: 
http://www.scicentral.com
http://www.bmn.com/ (Free Registration Required)

Press Releases: 
http://www.eurekalert.org/
http://www.newswise.com/menu-sci.htm 

Links to other Internet sites are provided as a convenience only.  ASM makes no representations about non-ASM sites; providing a link does not mean that ASM endorses or approves the site or accepts any responsibility for its content or use. 

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