Scientific Methods Identify Potential Antivirals Against Chikungunya

Washington, DC – October 10, 2016 - Chikungunya virus has caused two recent massive outbreaks sickening millions of people. Now a team of researchers has shown that several existing compounds have potent activity against the critical CHIKV protease enzyme. The research is published October 10 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Metagenomic Study Links Microbes to Flavors in Kefir

Washington, DC - October 4, 2016 - A team of food scientists and microbiologists in Ireland have used high-throughput sequencing to analyze how microbial populations change as kefir ferments. It's a new frontier in food analysis: Using the data, collected over a 24-hour fermentation period, the researchers were able to connect the presence of individual microbial species and their associated pathways to flavor compounds in the fermented milk beverage. They reported their findings in mSystems, an open access journal of the ASM.

Global Warming Collapses Symbiotic Gut Bacteria, Killing Host Insects

Washington, DC – October 4, 2016 – A new study shows that when heat-susceptible bacteria living symbiotically in the guts of insects are exposed to increased temperatures, both the bacteria and the insect are negatively impacted and can die. The study, reported online this week in the journal mBio®, illustrates another way global warming will wreak havoc on life as we know it, setting off deleterious chain reactions among organisms living in symbiosis.

Media Advisory: Rescue of the 1947 Zika Virus Prototype Strain with a CMV Promoter-Driven cDNA Clone

Washington, DC – September 28, 2016 – Researchers have created a model system of Zika virus to study how the genetics of zika virus impact viral replication and pathogenesis. A new study in the American Society for Microbiology’s open-access journal mSphere describes this new model. Researchers created a plasmid encoding the prototype 1947 Uganda MR766 Zika virus genome that could produce high levels of infectious virus in mammalian cells through direct delivery of this DNA. The study of Zika virus has become increasingly important, and would benefit from an efficient strategy to genetically manipulate the virus. The model provides a simple and effective means to study the pathogenesis of Zika virus and offers an efficient strategy to manipulate the virus.

Study by 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant Winner Advances the Direct Study of Microbial Communities in Diverse Environments, Including Those in Mammalian Systems

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – For researchers to effectively identify novel therapeutic approaches to chronic bacterial infections, an understanding of how microbes survive in vivo is needed. A study published in ASM’s open-access journal, mBio, looks at The tissue-clearing technique, MiPACT, designed to retain and visualize bacteria, can be coupled with hybridization chain reaction (HCR) to detect rRNA in the sputum samples from cystic fibrosis. The researchers, led by Dianne Newman, a MacArthur ”Genius” Grant Winner, have demonstrated MiPACT’s ability to survey thousands of bacteria (or bacterial aggregates) over millimeter scales and quantify aggregation of individual species in polymicrobial communities.

Researchers Sequence Genome from 1979 Russian Anthrax Outbreak

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – Analyzing small pieces of tissue from nearly 40-year-old human autopsies, Arizona researchers have sequenced the genome of the strain of Bacillus anthracis that caused a deadly anthrax outbreak in Russia in 1979. The work is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Potentially Life-Threatening Fungus Found In Water Distribution Systems of Five French Hospitals

Washington, DC – September 23, 2016 - A specific strain of the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, circulates in the water distribution systems of five French hospitals, in two widely separated cities. This microbe is potentially a life-threatening risk to immunocompromised patients. The research is published September 23, 2016 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

β-lactamase Antimicrobial Resistance Gene Found In Marine Pathogen

Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – A team of Chinese investigators has discovered a gene for resistance to β-lactamase antibiotics, in the pathogenic marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The β-lactamase gene, blaVEB-2, has never before been found in V. parahaemolyticus, and in fact, has been found almost exclusively in non-marine pathogens. The research is published Monday, September 19, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Protein Synthesis, ATP Unnecessary for Bacterial Spore Germination

Washington, DC - September 19, 2016 - Spores of Bacillus bacteria can survive for years in a dormant state, and then germinate in minutes. But it has long been unclear whether germination required protein synthesis, or cellular energy packets, which are known as ATP. Now, a team from UConn Health, Farmington, CT, has shown that neither is necessary. The research is published online September 19 in the Journal of Bacteriology, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Microbes Corrode Steel in Ships, Marine Infrastructure

Washington, DC - September 16, 2016 - Rust is the bane of steel, whether on cars, on ships and boats, or as part of marine infrastructure. Now, contrary to previous thinking, it turns out that the ocean-dwelling, steel-corroding species, Mariprofundus sp. DIS-1, can thrive under aerobic conditions, rather than being limited to “micro-aerobic” or anaerobic conditions. That means steel in marine environments is more vulnerable to bacterial depredations than previously thought. The research is published on Friday, September 16th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.