How do gut microbiomes provide different nutrients to their hosts? Researchers have learned a lot from experiments on the fruit fly, with two recent mBio studies demonstrating a role of microbiome in providing essential nutrients for fly development.
A new mSystems issue gives early-career scientists a platform to share their ideas for the future of systems microbial sciences.
“Bacteria are no longer only considered agents of infection yet are not appreciated as contributing positively to human health,” says Robert Britton, co-Editor of the new ASM Press book, “Bugs as Drugs.” He and his co-Editor Patrice Cani hope this book will change that outlook.
What are the basic requirements for life? This question and others will be answered by defining the essential genes of the model organism, E. coli. A recent mBio report identified E. coli essential genes using transposon insertion mutagenesis and sequencing technologies. 
Friday, 23 February 2018 18:40

How does influenza jump between species?

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Understanding how influenza can jump into a new species, and how it adapts once inside its new host, may help scientists better predict pandemic strains. Three recent Journal of Virology reports discuss aspects of influenza A virus host adaptation.
Friday, 16 February 2018 17:01

A whale of a microbiome tale

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A new Applied and Environmental Microbiology study found that the whale skin microbiome varies throughout the feeding season. Studying whale health may be a good indicator of ocean health.
Historians and futurists have a lot to learn from each other. This was apparent during an ASM Biothreats panel where a disaster historian teamed with a disaster preparedness expert to discuss influenza. What are the lessons from the 1918 influenza pandemic, and how can we apply these lessons to be better prepared for future pandemics? 
Will decreasing antibiotics given to our livestock halt the spread of drug-resistant bacteria? A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report offers a grim outlook. 
How do immune cells talk to each other? A new Infection and Immunity report describes how infected macrophages send signals to uninfected macrophages: via exosomes.
Friday, 26 January 2018 17:22

Where do our hand bacteria come from?

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Where do hand microbiota come from? A new mSystems report investigates what proportion of hand bacteria have forehead, oral, or fecal origins. 
Many drugs that target rotavirus viroplasms – centers of viral replication and assembly – target host factors, like microtubule assembly or proteasome activity. A new Journal of Virology study identifies a drug that disrupts viroplasms by targeting a viral protein. This interaction may lead to new drug discovery for rotavirus therapies.
A recent Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy study undertook a meta-analysis of data from around the world to better identify common risk factors for carbapenem-resistent Enterobacteriaceae infection - and to identify ways to control outbreaks.
Scott Kelley's advice for those new to computational biology? "Don’t be afraid! Relax and enjoy the puzzle-like nature of bioinformatics!" Kelley has co-authored a new ASM Press textbook that breaks algorithms down to their basic elements. ASM interviewed him to understand his inspiration behind the textbook.
Thursday, 21 December 2017 11:23

In Case You Missed It - top 2017 mBiosphere posts

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The most popular posts here at mBiosphere this year covered the influence of the microbial sciences research on food preparation, infectious disease management, emerging diseases, and immune influence – truly illustrating the broad reach of microbiology!   
For over 100 years, Histoplasma capsulatum was thought to be a single fungal species with several variant strain variations. New analyses of genome sequences reveal the genus Histoplasma contains at least four species, and may contain more.
A cure for HIV infection remains elusive. A new model to study HIV reactivation in quiescent cells, described in Journal of Virology, may help researchers better understand infection and devise effective treatment strategies.
Persistence, like antibiotic resistance, can lead to drug failure when treating bacterial infections. A new Antimicrobial Agent and Chemotherapy study extends previous findings that a drug-metabolite cocktail may increase drug efficiency when treating Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 
Microbiology-related research is almost inevitably tied to improving public health, but some research is more immediately applicable than others. How do the microbial sciences improve public health? We list some of the many ways, and invite you to share your examples 
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 12:32

ASM Resources During Antibiotic Awareness Week

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The American Society of Microbiology is a natural resource for clinical practitioners, researchers, and educators during Antibiotic Awareness Week. Here we share some of our recent top stories on antibiotic awareness, education, discovery, and resistance.
Reporting the sex of mice and cell lines used in studies can help researchers determine if biological sex is a variable in disease outcome, argues Sabra Klein in an mBio editorial.