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  • Lyme Disease Testing: Old Tests, New Tests, and Other Tests
    05/21/2018
  • ASM Partners with Smithsonian on “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World”
    05/18/2018
  • What It’s Like to Volunteer at a Science Festival
    05/16/2018
  • Of Moms and Microbes: Baby’s First Microbiome
    05/15/2018
  • Is It Really about the MIC?
    05/14/2018
  • Avoid Ethics Issues in Science Publishing with These 5 Questions
    05/10/2018
  • Losing a Function Helps Enterococcus faecalis Increase its Fitness
    05/10/2018
  • The Experience Needed for Graduate School
    05/10/2018
  • Microbial Minutes: Sequencing Influenza, CRISPR Diagnostics, and arthropod-borne disease trends
    05/07/2018
  • Get Started: 5 Tips for Your Resume
    05/04/2018

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  • Monday, 21 May 2018

    Climate change, changing farming practices, rising levels of antibiotic resistance and social and demographic changes are likely to lead to future increases in community acquired opportunistic bacterial infections that are more difficult or impossible to treat. Uncovering the prevalence and identity of pathogenic bacteria in the environment is key to assessing environmental transmission risks. We describe the first use of the Wax moth larva Galleria mellonella, a well-established model for the mammalian innate immune system, to selectively enrich and characterise pathogens from environmental samples. Four highly virulent isolates isolated from coastal environments in the South West of the U.K. using...

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

    Growth models are predominately used in the food industry to estimate the potential growth of select microorganisms under environmental conditions. The growth kinetics, cellular morphology and antibiotic resistance were studied throughout the life cycle of Salmonella Typhimurium. The effect of the previous life cycle phase (late log phase [LLP], early stationary phase [ESP], late stationary phase [LSP] and early death phase [EDP]) of Salmonella after reinoculation in brain heart infusion broth (BHI), ground chicken extract (GCE) and BHI at pH 5, 7 and 9 and salt concentrations 2, 3 and 4% was investigated. The growth media and previous life cycle...

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

    Strain SG-772 is a Gram positive, strictly anoxic bacterium isolated from the feces of a healthy human fecal donor. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence, the strain showed maximum similarity (94.39%) with Blautia stercoris GAM6-1 in EZ-Taxon server and thus assigned the genus Blautia. The scanning electron micrograph of the bacterium revealed the characteristic coccobacillus shape as well as the complete absence of flagellum, suggesting its non-motile phenotype. This strain was found to utilize 27 substrates based on Biolog AN plates assay, with maximum preference for D-mannitol. Additionally, the strain was found to be resistant to tetracycline and streptomycin. Genome...

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is capable of long-term survival in water, which may serve as a reservoir for infection. Although viable cell counts of PAO1 incubated in water remain stable throughout 8 weeks, LIVE/DEAD(R) staining indicated a high proportion of cells stained with propidium iodide (PI). The proportion of PI-stained cells increased by 4 weeks, then decreased again by 8 weeks, suggesting an adaptive response. This was also evident in an observed shift in cell morphology from a rod to a coccoid shape after 8 weeks. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) was used to recover PI-stained cells, which were plated and shown to...

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

    Translation can initiate at alternate, non-canonical start codons in response to stressful stimuli in mammalian cells. Recent studies suggest that viral infection and anti-viral responses alter sites of translation initiation, and in some cases, lead to production of novel immune epitopes. Here we systematically investigate the extent and impact of alternate translation initiation in cells infected with influenza virus. We perform evolutionary analyses that suggest selection against non-canonical initiation at CUG codons in influenza virus lineages that have adapted to mammalian hosts. We then use ribosome profiling with the initiation inhibitor lactidomycin to experimentally delineate translation initiation sites in a...

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

    To address the question of how microbial diversity and function in the oral cavities of children relates to caries diagnosis, we surveyed the supragingival plaque biofilm microbiome in 44 juvenile twin pairs. Using shotgun sequencing, we constructed a genome encyclopedia describing the core supragingival plaque microbiome. Caries phenotypes contained statistically significant enrichments in specific genome abundances and distinct community composition profiles including strain-level changes. Metabolic pathways that are statistically associated with caries include several sugar-associated phosphotransferase systems, antimicrobial resistance, and metal transport. Numerous closely-related previously-uncharacterized microbes had substantial variation in central metabolism, including the loss of biosynthetic pathways resulting in...

  • Sunday, 20 May 2018

    Type IV secretion systems are membrane-bound multiprotein complexes that mediate the translocation of macromolecules across the bacterial cell envelope. In Helicobacter pylori a type IV secretion system is encoded by the cag pathogenicity island that encodes 27 Cag proteins and most of these are essential for bacterial virulence. We here present our work on the identification and characterization of inhibitors of Cag, a hexameric ATPase and member of the family of VirB11-like proteins that is essential for translocation of the CagA cytotoxin into mammalian cells. We conducted fragment-based screening using a differential scanning fluorimetry assay and identified 16 molecules that...

  • Sunday, 20 May 2018

    Recalcitrant dermatophytoses are on the rise and recent publications have documented high minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) to TRB and squalene epoxidase (SQLE) mutations. However, literature correlating the laboratory the data with clinical response is lacking. This study was conducted to study the clinico-mycological profile of tinea corporis and cruris, including antifungal susceptibility testing (AFST) and SQLE mutation analysis and correlate these with clinical response to TRB. Skin scrapings of patients with tinea corporis with/without tinea cruris were subjected to species identification, AFST and SQLE gene analysis (on 15 isolates). KOH confirmed cases were started on TRB 250mg once a day...

  • Sunday, 20 May 2018

    In this study, we developed a method for simultaneous bio-methanation of CO2 and CO with H2 in a single bioreactor using a combination of carboxydotrophic bacteria and methanogenic archaea for industrial applications. Methanogenic archaea generally use H2 and CO2 to produce methane, whereas very few methanogenic archaea methanize CO, and these grow slowly and consequently produce low reactant gas turnover rates. Thus, to achieve fast and simultaneous transformation of CO and CO2, we identified a combination of carboxydotrophic and hydrogenogenic bacteria and methanogenic archaea that can produce H2 and CO2 from CO, and then methanize CO2 and H2. The present...

  • Sunday, 20 May 2018

    Previous findings of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)-related viruses in bats, and the ability of Tylonycteris-BatCoV HKU4 spike protein to utilize MERS-CoV receptor, human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 hDPP4, suggest a bat ancestral origin of MERS-CoV. We developed 12 primary bat cell lines from seven bat species, including Tylonycteris pachypus, Pipistrellus abramus and Rhinolophus sinicus (hosts of Tylonycteris-BatCoV HKU4, Pipistrellus-BatCoV HKU5 and SARS-related-CoV respectively), and tested their susceptibilities to MERS-CoVs, SARS-CoV and human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E). Five cell lines, including P. abramus and R. sinicus but not T. pachypus cells, were susceptible to human MERS-CoV EMC/2012. However, three tested camel...

  • Saturday, 19 May 2018

    Viruses are nanoscale infectious agents which may be inactivated by heat treatment. Although heat inactivation is thought to be caused by the release of genetic material from the capsid, the thermally-induced structural changes in viruses are little known. Here we measured the heat-induced changes in the properties of T7 bacteriophage particles exposed to two-stage (65 oC and 80 oC) thermal effect by using AFM-based nanomechanical and topographical measurements. We found that exposure to 65 oC caused the release of genomic DNA due to the loss of the capsid tail which leads to a destabilization of the T7 particles. Further heating...

  • Saturday, 19 May 2018

    Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) lineages have become major responsible of healthcare- and community-associated infections in human population. Bovine MRSA are sporadically detected in the dairy herd, but its presence might enhance the risk of zoonosis. Some lineages are able to lose the specific host tropism, being easily transmitted from animals to humans and vice-versa. The present study aims at clarifying the epidemiology of MRSA intramammary infections in a closed dairy herd, which was running a mastitis control program since years. Quarter milk samples were collected from all lactating cows once a week for 9 weeks and bacteriologically tested. At...

  • Saturday, 19 May 2018

    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are microbial communities that are a feature of arid surface soils worldwide. In drylands where precipitation is pulsed and ephemeral, the ability of biocrust microbiota to rapidly initiate metabolic activity is critical to their survival. Community gene expression was compared after a short duration (1 hour) wetting pulse in both intact and soils disturbed by chronic foot trampling. Across the metatranscriptomes the majority of transcripts were cyanobacterial in origin, suggesting that cyanobacteria accounted for the bulk of the transcriptionally active cells. Chronic trampling substantially altered the functional profile of the metatranscriptomes, specifically resulting in a significant...

  • Saturday, 19 May 2018

    Influenza viruses and rhinoviruses are responsible for a large number of acute respiratory viral infections in human populations and are detected as co-pathogens within hosts. Clinical and epidemiological studies suggest that co-infection by rhinovirus and influenza virus may reduce disease severity and that they may also interfere with each other's spread within a host population. To determine how co-infection by these two unrelated respiratory viruses affects pathogenesis, we established a mouse model using a minor serogroup rhinovirus (RV1B) and mouse-adapted influenza A virus (PR8). Infection of mice with RV1B two days before PR8 reduced pathogenesis of mild to moderate, but...

  • Friday, 18 May 2018

    Traditional antibiotics are reaching obsolescence as a consequence of antibiotic resistance; therefore novel antibiotic approaches are needed. A recent non-traditional approach involves formation of protein aggregates as antimicrobials to disrupt bacterial homeostasis. Previous work on protein aggregates has focused on genome mining for aggregation-prone sequences in bacterial genomes rather than on rational design of aggregating antimicrobial peptides. Here, we use a synthetic biology approach to design an artificial gene encoding the first de novo aggregating antimicrobial peptide. This artificial gene, opaL (overexpressed protein aggregator Lipophilic), disrupts bacterial homeostasis by expressing extremely hydrophobic peptides. When this hydrophobic sequence is disrupted by...

  • Friday, 18 May 2018

    Yeast autophagy, autolysis and apoptosis are triggered by nutrient starvation conditions that usually take place in winemaking. Biological aging of Sherry wines constitutes an enological environment suitable for the induction of these biological processes due to the scarcity of nutrients and formation of yeast social communities, i.e. biofilm; however, few studies have been carried out in this regard. Here, we perform a proteomic analysis to detect any autolysis/autophagy/apoptosis protein markers and/or proteins potentially related to these processes under flor forming and fermentative conditions. The scarce presence of autophagy proteins in flor biofilm forming conditions, the existence of autophagy inhibitors (e.g....

  • Friday, 18 May 2018

    Leishmaniasis is an important vector-borne neglected tropical disease caused by Leishmania parasites. Current anti-Leishmania chemotherapy is unsatisfactory, justifying the continued search for alternative treatment options. Herein, we propose the use of a minimally invasive bioluminescence-based murine model for preliminary in vivo screening of compounds against visceral infection by Leishmania infantum. We demonstrate that luciferase-expressing axenic amastigotes, unlike promastigotes, are highly infectious to BALB/c mice and generate a robust bioluminescent signal in the main target organs, such as the liver and spleen. Finally, we validate the use of this technique to evaluate in vivo treatment efficacy using reference drugs amphotericin B...

  • Friday, 18 May 2018

    Recent studies report that surfaces displaying micrometer- or nanometer-sized undulating structures exhibit antibacterial effects. In previous work, we described the use of an advanced nanofabrication technique to generate an artificial biomimetic moth-eye film by coating a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film with nanoscale moth-eye protrusions made from a hydrophilic resin. This moth-eye film exhibited enhanced antibacterial effects in in vitro experiments. The aim of the present study was to verify the antibacterial efficacy of the Moth-eye film in practical environments. Three types of films (Moth-eye film, Flat film, and PET film) were used to compare antibacterial effects. Sample films were pasted...

  • Friday, 18 May 2018

    Bacteria and archaea are locked in a near-constant battle with their viral pathogens. Despite previous mechanistic characterization of numerous prokaryotic defense strategies, the underlying ecological and environmental drivers of different strategies remain largely unknown and predicting which species will take which strategies remains a challenge. Here, we focus on the CRISPR immune strategy and develop a phylogenetically-corrected machine learning approach to build a predictive model of CRISPR incidence using data on over 100 traits across over 2600 species. We discover a strong but hitherto-unknown negative interaction between CRISPR and aerobicity, which we hypothesize may result from interference between CRISPR associated...

  • Friday, 18 May 2018

    To explore the mutation characteristics of H.pylori resistance-related genes to antibiotics of clarithromycin, levofloxacin and metronidazole. 23S rRNA, gyrA, gyrB, rdxA and frxA genes were amplified and sequenced, respectively. Their structural alteration after mutation was predicted using bioinformatics software. In the clarithromycin-resistant strains, the mutation rate in site A2143G was 74.2% (n=23). The mutations in sites C1883T, C2131T and T2179G might cause structural alteration. In the levofloxacin-resistant strains, the mutation rates in 87 (N to K/I) and 91 (D to N/Y/G) of gyrA were 28.6% (n=16) and 12.5% (n=7), respectively. Meanwhile, one of the mutation strains in site 91 was...

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