Friday, 03 November 2017 16:21

How can chicken gut microbiomes affect human health?

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People can contract campylobacteriosis by eating contaminated chickens, and a new Infection and Immunity study demonstrates the chicken microbiome influences C. jejuni colonization. mBiosphere summarizes and discusses what this may mean for human campylobacteriosis cases.
Mutations that arise naturally are generally thought to require selection to become part of a population. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy study challenges that thought, by demonstrating the evolution of drug resistance in bacterial lineages never exposed to drugs. This study demonstrates the importance of stewardship in all cases, both transmission of already-resistant strains or selection for newly adapted strains.
Who develops disease and who doesn’t? In a new Journal of Virology report, scientists investigate why some young adults develop infectious mononucleosis when they contract Epstein-Barr virus and why some have an asymptomatic infection. 
Drug resistance is a huge clinical problem, but our exposure to drug-resistant bacteria can come from everyday interactions - even in our food! Two reports from Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy describe new bacterial isolates carrying plasmid-borne drug resistance determinants. 
How does Plasmodium falciparum get into its host red blood cell? A new Infection and Immunity study reports the importance of a previously poorly-characterized receptor, glycophorin B (GPB), in the hierarchy of malaria invasion strategies. 
Dr. Victor J. Torres was born in Puerto Rico and received his degree in Industrial Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus. An editorial by Torres calls for compassion and aid for the scientific Puerto Rican community following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. 
Scientists have many options for where to publish their microbiology research. A recent mBio editorial emphasizes the importance of publishing in society journals as a way to reinvest in the society and thus the scientific community. This post expands on the programs offered by scientific societies, which have their costs offset in part by their publications.
The efforts of antibiotic stewardship campaigns are starting to show positive results in the clinic. These trends can serve as motivation to all to continue education campaigns for appropriate use of antibiotics.
Can the microbiome be used for forensic purposes? The skin microbiome is fairly stable, and a new Applied and Environmental Microbiology report assesses the use of genetic markers in the skin bacterium Proprionibacterium acnes for human identification purposes. 
Friday, 08 September 2017 16:46

New tools to investigate influenza virus targets

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How do we know which cells and what species are susceptible to viral infection? One way is to look for the presence of the viral receptor, if known. Sialic acid is the host cell receptor for influenza virus attachment, and a new mSphere report describes tools to help survey the species distributions of different sialic acid modifications that will inform susceptibility.
Determining the susceptibility of HIV to antiretroviral drugs is important for getting patients the right combination of ART. A new Journal of Clinical Microbiology compares next-generation sequencing to traditional Sanger sequencing and PCR analyses to determine the most accurate method of measuring viral resistance. 
Friday, 25 August 2017 16:02

Listeria biofilms resist disinfectants

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Cleaning and disinfecting food prep surfaces is vital to minimize the risk of foodborne pathogen contamination. A new Applied and Environmental Microbiology article shows that well-known foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes resists removal by current industrial formulations of disinfectants. 
Two-component signaling is important for many bacterial activities, including movement, growth, differentiation, and metabolism, among others. The latest Special Issue of the Journal of Bacteriology highlights recent advances in two-component signaling, including minireviews and primary research articles. 
Friday, 18 August 2017 10:09

Eucalyptus compound inhibits Candida biofilms

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Fungal infections, like those caused by Candida albicans, are a serious clinical problem. Systemic candidiasis can result from fungal biofilms growing on plastic indwelling devices. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy article reports the anti-biofilm activity of a eucalyptus-derived compound, which acts by regulating fungal cell morphology.
Foot and mouth disease remains a threat to livestock. A Journal of Virology report describes a new chimeric vaccine scheme that can mix-and-match to protect against different serotypes. The research here demonstrates a vaccine platform that may be able to help responders rapidly provide protective vaccines during disease outbreaks. 
Thursday, 03 August 2017 16:12

C. auris survives on plastic

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The emerging multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen Candida auris has caused outbreaks in several healthcare facilities. New research from the Journal of Clinical Microbiology suggests the fungus can survive for weeks on plastic surfaces, emphasizing the importance of infection control in these facilities. 
Sometimes, it pays to never throw things out. That is the lesson learned from researchers who identified the cause of a mysterious epidemic in horses in Iceland.
Colistin acts by interacting with the bacterial envelope via charge interactions, a very similar mechanism to how host antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and bacterial membranes interact. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report demonstrates that clinical colistin-resistant isolates remain susceptible to AMPs.
Farmers want their livestock to put on weight quickly so they can increase profits when they sell their animals. A new Applied and Environmental Microbiology study reports a possible link between gut microbiome makeup and feed efficiency, one of the determinants of animal growth rate. This study may lay the groundwork for microbiome manipulation to help farms reduce the use of antibiotics as growth promoters.
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.