Investigators Map Genomes of Three Historically Important Zika Strains

Washington, DC - August 18, 2016 - A team of researchers from Utah State University, Logan, has characterized the consensus genome sequences of three historically important Zika virus strains. This work is an important step towards developing antiviral therapeutic and preventive strategies against Zika, and related viruses. The research is published August 18 in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Fungus Causing Fatal Infections in Hospitalized Patients Has Unique Growth Patterns

Washington, DC – August 17, 2016 – The multidrug-resistant yeast Candida auris, which has caused fatal infections in some hospitalized patients, has at least two different growth patterns and some of its strains are as capable of causing disease as the most invasive type of yeast called Candida albicans, according to a study published this week in mSphere, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology.

For the First Time, Researchers Identify the Secret Genetic Weapon of Clostridium difficile

Washington, DC – August 16, 2016 – A trio of researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health in Houston, have identified the location of the genes that control production of toxins that harm people infected by Clostridium difficile bacteria. The gene locus, agr1, forms part of a signaling communication system that produces a small molecule that, in turn, tells the rest of the population to turn on their toxin genes.

Investigators Chart Microbial Ecology of Gingivitis, Periodontitis

Washington, DC – August 12, 2016 – Gingivitis, a common and mild form of gum disease can progress to periodontitis, a more serious infection that damages the soft tissue of the gums and sometimes even destroys the bone supporting the teeth. An international team of researchers and clinicians has charted the microbial ecology of the mouth at all stages of this progression, in nearly 1,000 women in Malawi. This work is laying a foundation of knowledge that could lead to better oral health. The research is published August 12 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

New Model Sheds Light on Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia

Washington, DC – August 9, 2016 – For years, researchers have known that the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) can trigger severe, sometimes deadly secondary bacterial pneumonia, in some people who are subsequently infected with influenza A virus, but scientists have not known exactly how this happens. Now, scientists have developed a new model for studying this phenomenon, which could lead to new treatments designed to prevent secondary bacterial infections. The findings were published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Mcr-1 Gene Isolated from Human for the First Time in Brazil

Washington, DC – August 8, 2016 – For the first time in Brazil, a particular antibiotic resistance mechanism conferring resistance to the important antibiotic, colistin, has been detected in a human. It was in a strain of Escherichia coli that was isolated from a diabetic patient’s foot infection. The mechanism, called MCR-1, was incorporated into a plasmid, a short piece of DNA that exists independent of the genome, which can jump from one bacterium to another, spreading the resistance. The research is published ahead of print August 8 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Additives to Boost Vaccine Responses Not Sufficient to Protect Obese Mice From Influenza

Washington, DC – August 2, 2016 – Adjuvants – ingredients added to vaccinations for influenza and other viruses to help boost their effectiveness – can increase a host’s immune response but not enough to protect the obese against the ill effects of the flu, according to a mouse study published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Antibiotic Resistance Appears to Persist in Bacteria, Even Absent Selection Pressure From Antibiotics

Washington, DC – August 1, 2016  – Plasmids are pieces of independent DNA that often carry multiple antibiotic resistance genes. Plasmids can jump from one bacterium to another, spreading that resistance. A team of French investigators now shows that bacteria that acquire plasmids containing resistance genes rarely lose them. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Green Monkeys Acquired Staphylococcus aureus From Humans

Washington, DC – July 29, 2016 - Many deadly diseases that afflict humans were originally acquired through contact with animals. New research published in ASM’s Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that pathogens can also jump the species barrier to move from humans to animals. The study, that will publish July 29, shows that green monkeys in The Gambia acquired Staphylococcus aureus from humans.

Genes Found in H. pylori that Influence Biofilm Formation

Washington, DC – July 18, 2016 - Most bacteria cannot survive in the acidic environment of the human stomach, but Helicobacter pylori, a major cause of ulcers, thrives under such circumstances. Now research has shown that one of that bacterium’s regulatory proteins that helps it adapt to these stressful conditions also regulates the formation of biofilms. Biofilms, a group of bacteria that adhere together on a surface,  are often much harder to kill than bacteria in their normal, disaggregated state, and can cause major medical problems. The research is published in the Journal of Bacteriology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.