Following Maternal Transmission, Group B Strep Mutates to Sicken Infants

Washington, DC - August 18, 2015 - Group B streptococcus, a mostly benign inhabitant of healthy adults, is one of the world’s leading causes of neonatal sepsis and meningitis. A team of French investigators has now shown that such cases might occur when the microbe mutates within the infant following transmission from the mother. The research appeared August 17 in the Journal of Bacteriology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

Unlikely Element Turns up in Enzyme; Commercial Renewable Fuels Might Ultimately Result

Washington, DC – August 14, 2015 - Tungsten is exceptionally rare in biological systems. Thus, it came as a huge surprise to Michael Adams, PhD., and his collaborators when they discovered it in what appeared to be a novel enzyme in the hot spring-inhabiting bacterium, Caldicellulosiruptor bescii. The researchers hypothesized that this new tungstoenzyme plays a key role in C. bescii’s primary metabolism, and its ability to convert plant biomass to simple fermentable sugars. This discovery could ultimately lead to commercially viable conversion of cellulosic (woody) biomass to fuels and chemical feedstocks, which could substantially reduce greenhouse emissions. The research is published 14 August in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Generic Heart Disease Medications Offer Promise for Ebola Treatment

Washington, DC - June 23, 2015 - Generic medications used frequently in the management of heart disease patients also have the potential to bolster the immune systems of patients with Ebola virus and some other life-threatening illnesses, researchers report this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Pathogen Grows on Cold Smoked Salmon by Using Alternative Metabolic Pathways

Washington, DC - August 4, 2015 - The pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes grows on refrigerated smoked salmon by way of different metabolic pathways from those it uses when growing on laboratory media. The research could lead to reduced incidences of food-borne illness and death, said principal investigator Teresa Bergholz, PhD. The research appears July 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Researchers Identify New Class of Antifungal Agents

Washington, D.C. - June 23, 2015 - Researchers have identified a new class of antifungals to treat the more than 300 million people worldwide who develop serious fungal infections. The research is described in the current issue of mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Research Could Lead to Protective Probiotics for Frogs

Washington, DC - July 30, 2015 - In research that could lead to protective probiotics to fight the “chytrid” fungus that has been decimating amphibian populations worldwide, Jenifer Walke, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, and her collaborators have grown bacterial species from the skin microbiome of four species of amphibians. The research appears July 10 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Why Lyme Disease Becomes Chronic: New Insight Could Lead to Better Treatments

Washington, DC - June 19, 2015 - While most cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. are caught early and resolve successfully with antibiotic treatment, substantial numbers of cases that are initially missed become chronic, with patients suffering from Lyme arthritis. Now, Kim Lewis, PhD, and collaborators have shown the likely cause of this phenomenon. The bacterium that causes Lyme disease form dormant, or non-growing bacterial cells known as persisters, that are highly resistant to all antibiotics. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

American Society for Microbiology Announces Appointments of mSphere Senior Editors

Washington, DC— July 30, 2015 - ASM is pleased to announce the appointments of nine outstanding scientists as Senior Editors for the new pan-microbiology open-access journal, mSphere™, which will launch early in 2016.   The new journal will publish high-quality scientific studies in all areas of the microbial sciences, including work by scientists who work with microbes but may not consider themselves "microbiologists."   Under the leadership of Founding Editor in Chief Michael Imperiale, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan, the Senior Editors will play a key role in ensuring that mSphere provides streamlined decisions and thoughtful reviews.  Papers will be continuously published so that important findings will be made available to the scientific community as rapidly as possible.

Copper Destroys Human Norovirus—Fast!

Washington, D.C. – June 5, 2015 - Metal alloys containing copper can destroy* human norovirus, according to a paper published online ahead of print on May 15, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

American Society for Microbiology Announces Appointments of mSystems Senior Editors

Washington, DC— July 30, 2015 - ASM is pleased to announce the appointments of ten outstanding scientists as Senior Editors for mSystems™, a new open-access journal in systems microbiology led by Founding Editor in Chief Jack Gilbert, Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution and the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago and Microbial Ecologist and Group Leader at Argonne National Laboratory.   mSystems will launch in early 2016 and will publish cutting-edge advances in systems microbiology with a focus on research that achieves insights into the metabolic and regulatory systems on the scale of both a single cell and of entire microbial communities.  

American Society for Microbiology to Launch mSystems™, New Open Access Journal

New Orleans, Louisiana - June 3, 2015 - The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) today announced plans to launch mSystems™, a new open access journal, in early 2016.   mSystems™ will publish preeminent work that stems from applying technologies for high-throughput analyses to achieve insights into the metabolic and regulatory systems at the scale of  both the single cell and microbial communities. The scope of mSystems™ encompasses all important biological and biochemical findings drawn from analyses of large datasets, as well as new computational approaches for deriving these insights.  mSystems™ will welcome submissions from researchers who apply “omics” technologies to microbial systems—including the microbiome, genomics, metagenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics, glycomics, bioinformatics and computational microbiology.

Cystic Fibrosis Microorganisms Survive on Little to No Oxygen

Washington, DC – July 28, 2015 – Microbes contributing to cystic fibrosis (CF) are able to survive in saliva and mucus that is chemically heterogeneous, including significant portions that are largely devoid of oxygen, according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

American Society for Microbiology to Launch mSphere™, New Open-Access Journal

New Orleans, Louisiana - June 3, 2015 - The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) today announced plans to launch mSphere™, a new pan-microbiology open-access journal in early 2016.   mSphere™ will create new opportunities for researchers in microbial sciences to share findings that are transforming our understanding of human health and disease, ecosystems, neuroscience, agriculture,  energy production, climate change, evolution, biogeochemical cycling, and food and drug production.

Universal Flu Vaccine in the Works

Washington, DC – July 21, 2015 - Each year, scientists create an influenza (flu) vaccine that protects against a few specific influenza strains that researchers predict are going to be the most common during that year. Now, a new study shows that scientists may be able to create a ‘universal’ vaccine that can provide broad protection against numerous influenza strains, including those that could cause future pandemics. The study appears in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Researchers Identify New Target for Ebola Drugs

Washington, D.C. - May 26, 2015 - A new study has demonstrated that a protein called Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) is critical for the Ebola virus to infect a host. The study, published in the May/June issue of mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, suggests that drugs that block NPC1 could be used to treat this deadly disease.

New Insights into Biofilm Formation Could Lead to Better Therapies, but Mysteries Remain

Washington, DC – July 20, 2015 - Biofilms are tough, opportunistic, highly antibiotic resistant bacterial coatings that form on catheters and on medical devices implanted within the body. University of Maryland investigators have now shown that a “messenger molecule” produced by the opportunistic human pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, encourages bacteria to colonize catheters in the bladders of laboratory mice, where they form biofilms. The research appears July 20th in the Journal of Bacteriology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

Can Humans Get Norovirus From Their Dogs?

Washington, D.C. - April 10, 2015 - Human norovirus may infect our canine companions, according to research published online April 1 in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. That raises the possibility of dog-to-human transmission, said first author Sarah Caddy, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS, a veterinarian and PhD student at the University of Cambridge, and Imperial College, London, UK. Norovirus is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dairy Products Boost Effectiveness of Probiotics

Washington, DC - July 17, 2015 - The success of probiotics for boosting human health may depend partly upon the food, beverage, or other material carrying the probiotics, according to research published on July 10th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

MRSA Can Linger in Homes, Spreading Among its Inhabitants

Washington, DC – March 10, 2015 – Households can serve as a reservoir for transmitting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Once the bacteria enters a home, it can linger for years, spreading from person to person and evolving genetically to become unique to that household.

Better Chocolate with Microbes

Washington, DC - July 15, 2015 - For decades, researchers have worked to improve cacao fermentation by controlling the microbes involved. Now, to their surprise, a team of Belgian researchers has discovered that the same species of yeast used in production of beer, bread, and wine works particularly well in chocolate fermentation. The research was published ahead of print July 6th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

Novel Fungus Accumulates Critical Element for Green Energy from Mine Drainage, Industrial Waste

Washington, DC - February 20, 2015 - Japanese investigators have demonstrated that a novel fungus can bioaccumulate the industrially important “rare earth” element, dysprosium, used in the magnets of generators and motors, as well as in smart phones and other electronics, and high technology, generally from mine drainage and industrial liquid waste. This discovery could lead to recycling dysprosium from these wastes, said first author, Takumi Horiike, researcher in the Rare Metal Bioresearch Center at Shibaura Institute of Technology, Saitama, Japan. The research was published ahead of print on February 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Multiple, Co-existing Groups of Gut Bacteria Keep Clostridium difficile Infections at Bay

Washington, DC —July 14, 2015—Multiple species of bacteria working together in healthy guts are responsible for keeping out nasty bacterial invader, Clostridium difficile, a hospital-acquired culprit responsible for 15,000 deaths each year. The study, published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, could lead to tests to predict which hospital patients are at highest risk of infection and better management of infections.

New Compound Protects 100 Percent of Ferrets, Mice, from H5N1

Washington, DC - March 4, 2015 - Since 2003, the H5N1 influenza virus, more commonly known as the bird flu, has been responsible for the deaths of millions of chickens and ducks and has infected more than 650 people, leading to a 60 percent mortality rate for the latter. Luckily, this virus has yet to achieve human-to-human transmission, but a small number of mutations could change that, resulting in a pandemic. Now a team of investigators from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center, and MacroGenics have developed an antibody which has proven 100 percent protective against the virus in two species of animal models. The research is published ahead of print February 11, in the Journal of Virology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

C. difficile Needs Iron, But Too Much Is Hazardous: New Insights Into Maintaining It “Just Right”

Washington, D.C. - July 6, 2015 - Those bacteria that require iron walk a tightrope. Iron is essential for their growth, but too much iron can damage DNA and enzymes through oxidation. Therefore, bacteria have machinery to maintain their intracellular iron within the “Goldilocks zone.” Now Theresa D. Ho, PhD, and Craig D. Ellermeier, PhD shed new light on how the pathogen, Clostridium difficile, which is the most common cause of hospital-acquired infectious diarrhea, regulates iron. The research is published online ahead of print July 6 in the Journal of Bacteriology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

What We Know and Don’t Know About Ebola Virus Transmission in Humans

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL - February 19, 2015 – A new comprehensive analysis from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, involving leading International Ebola researchers, examines what is known about transmission of the Ebola virus and cautions that the public health community should not rule out the possibility of respiratory transmission. Prior to the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa there have been only 24 reported Ebola outbreaks with approximately 2,400 cases reported over the previous 39 years. Evidence suggests that direct patient contact and contact with infectious body fluids are the primary modes for Ebola virus transmission, however, this evidence is based on a limited number of studies.

Infection With Wolbachia Bacteria Curbs Fighting Among Fruit Flies

Washington, D.C. - July 2, 2015 - Male fruit flies infected with the bacterium, Wolbachia, are less aggressive than those not infected, according to research published in the July Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. This is the first time bacteria have been shown to influence aggression, said corresponding author Jeremy C. Brownlie, PhD, Deputy Head, School of Natural Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

Mutant Bacteria That Keep On Growing

WASHINGTON, DC – February 17, 2015 - The typical Escherichia coli, the laboratory rat of microbiology, is a tiny 1-2 thousandths of a millimeter long. Now, by blocking cell division, two researchers at Concordia University in Montreal have grown E. coli that stretch three quarters of a millimeter. That’s up to 750 times their normal length. The research has potential applications in nanoscale industry, and may lead to a better understanding of how pathogens work. The study is published ahead of print on February 17 in the Journal of Bacteriology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Hantaviruses Are Highly Dependent on Cell Membrane Cholesterol to Gain Entry, Infect Humans

Washington, D.C. – June 30, 2015 – Hantaviruses use cholesterol in cell walls to gain access into cells and infect humans, according to laboratory research published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

HPV Vaccine Highly Effective Against Multiple Cancer-Causing Strains

Washington, DC - February 13, 2015 - According to a multinational clinical trial involving nearly 20,000 young women, the human papilloma virus vaccine, Cervarix, not only has the potential to prevent cervical cancer, but was effective against other common cancer-causing human papillomaviruses, aside from just the two HPV types, 16 and 18, which are responsible for about 70 percent of all cases. That effectiveness endured for the study’s entire follow-up, of up to four years. The research was published February 4 in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Human Urine Helps Prevent Bacteria from Sticking to Bladder Cells

Washington, D.C. —June 30, 2015—Human urine contains factors that prevent a common culprit in urinary tract infections (UTIs), uropathogenic Escherichia coli bacteria, from properly attaching to bladder cells, a necessary step for infection. The research, published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, reveals a weakness that could be exploited to develop more effective, non-antibiotic treatments for UTIs.

Could Proteins From Frog Skin Be a Source Of A New Class of Antibiotics?

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11, 2015 -- With minor tinkering, a peptide—a tiny protein—from the skin of a frog could be fashioned into a novel antibiotic that would lack the toxic byproducts of some more conventional drugs. More importantly, such peptides would represent a new class of antibiotics, at a time when new classes are sorely needed as resistance rises among existing classes. The research was published online, 26 January 2015, in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

In ERs, Urinary Tract and Sexually Transmitted Infections In Women Misdiagnosed, Even Mixed Up Nearly Half the Time

Washington, D.C. - June 24, 2015 - Urinary tract and sexually transmitted infections in women are misdiagnosed by emergency departments nearly half the time, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. These misdiagnoses result in overuse of antibiotics, and increased antibiotic resistance, according to Michelle Hecker, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, and her collaborators.

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