mBiosphere

Elite controllers are HIV-infected individuals who maintain undetectable virus levels even when not administered antiretroviral drugs. Understanding how the immune system of these elite controllers acts against HIV may help scientists develop effective therapeutics or vaccines. A new Journal of Virology study shows that antibodies from elite controllers activate ADCC-mediated killing of HIV-infected cells. 
Bacteria in attached biofilms have different characteristics than bacteria in planktonic culture, but neighbors can influence behavior too. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy study reports that bacteria in biofilms a single-species biofilm have different drug susceptibilities than bacteria in multispecies biofilms. This research may impact the treatment of mixed biofilms in patients, such as those with cystic fibrosis, who suffer mixed biofilm infections.
Children with Plasmodium falciparum malaria are more susceptible to invasive infection with nontyphoidal Salmonella. A new Clinical and Vaccine Immunology report finds that the immune system of malaria-infected children has lower antibacterial activity. 
In a study published this week in mSphere, researchers describe how one group of salt-loving microbes, Halanaerobium, is most likely using environmental thiosulfate to produce sulfide—a toxic and corrosive chemical that well operators would like to avoid.
Controlling mosquito-borne diseases comes in many formats, including manipulation of the bacterial endosymbiont found in many insects,  Wolbachia. A recent Journal of Virology article reports the ability of different strains of Wolbachia to inhibit Zika virus infection in mosquito cells. Which strain is best at inhibiting infection?
Scientists now know that colistin resistance is much more widespread than previously thought. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report demonstrates that the same gene, mcr-1, can confer different levels of colistin resistance when expressed in different pathogenic bacterial species. This has important clinical and surveillance implications for resistant infections. 
A new Applied and Environmental Microbiology report demonstrates that farm practices can directly lead to development of novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms in soil microbes. The scientific team used functional metagenomics to identify 34 antibiotic resistance determinants, including a gene conferring a novel macrolide resistance mechanism. This study avoided prophylactic antibiotic use in livestock, a practice now largely banned in Canada and the United States, and therefore highlights the role of additional practices in selecting for the growth of antibiotic-resistant soil bacteria.
The cholera epidemic in Yemen has sickened 100,000 people and threatens to spread further. Researchers are hard at work, studying antibiotic resistance and disease mechanisms in Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera. We provide a short summary and links to recent ASM reports that may help scientists and clinicians fight this terrible disease.
Researchers have identified a small protein from the Wolbachia bacterium in psyllids that can “cross-talk,” moving to Candidatus Liberibacter within the insects to silence its prophage genes, thereby helping prevent an insect immune reaction that would likely be detrimental to both bacteria.
Microbe 2017 co-Chair Dr. Robin Patel sits down to discuss the Microbe program and tips on how attendees should prepare.
SSV1 is an archaeal virus found in the hot, acidic waters where its Sulfolobus bacterial hosts reside. Researchers have found its genome is surprisingly tolerant of mutation, including loss of one of its structural capsid genes, despite these harsh conditions. Read more about the manipulation of the SSV1 genome and how it may lead to discovery of a minimal SSV genome for future studies.
At the University of Maryland, Baltimore, researchers are using a practical method, bacterial enzymatic combinatorial chemistry (BECC), to generate functionally diverse molecules that can potentially be used as adjuvants.
The bacteriophage lysin CF-301, already promising for systemic bacterial infection treatment, now has data to support its use in disrupting biofilms. 
 In January, ASM launched a publishing experiment, mSphereDirect, which allows scientists to control the review process and speed up the time-to-publication after submission. To answer questions about its users and user experience, we gathered preliminary data by speaking with the scientists who were the first mSphereDirect users.
The HeLa cells derived from Henrietta Lacks have played a vital role in many scientific advances, including production of the polio vaccine. But the unethical manner in which they were collected raises questions on patients' rights, privacy, and other important issues - issues on which her family continues to educate, including at the 2016 ABRCMS meeting.
Microbial adaptations to climate change will affect all biomes in the greater ecosystem. A new Academy of Microbiology FAQ Report addresses areas undergoing environmental changes, how these changes influence microbial life, and the global impacts due to shifts in environmental microbiomes.
Researchers report they have used the Pathogen Box to identify a novel, highly potent antifungal agent with activity against two of the most common fungal pathogens of humans.
Friday, 07 April 2017 16:50

Zika Update: Round-up of Recent Reports

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Though it's been less covered by major news outlets, Zika is still an important research topic. Scientists are working hard to understand Zika virus biology, transmission, and treatment. We round up the latest research reports on this still-emerging disease.
Simon Anthony has spent his scientific career studying viruses and their impact on health. In the United Kingdom, where he is from, he investigated viruses of agricultural significance. Then, at the San Diego Zoo, he focused on the microbes of wildlife. Currently, at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and its Center for Infection and Immunity, he studies viruses that spill over from animals into people.
Several recently published mBio studies describe new mechanisms of intrinsic antibiotic resistance. These mechanisms may themselves become therapeutic targets to broaden the application of currently available drugs.
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