October 8, 2020

Congratulations to the Nobel prize winners in Chemistry : Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the discovery of “Genetic scissors: a tool for rewriting the code of life- the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.” Today’s brief digest covers a wide range of articles on early life microbiome to respiratory microbiome. Happy reading!!!

General microbiome
Electrochemical Investigation of Thiobacillus denitrificans in a Bacterial Composite – Abada et al – Journal of the Electrochemical Society

Pregnancy and early life
Review: Can we prevent allergic disease? Understanding the links between the early life microbiome and allergic diseases of childhood – Petersen and Turvey – Current Opinion in Pediatrics

Multi-site human microbiome
Nutritional Targeting of the Microbiome as Potential Therapy for Malnutrition and Chronic Inflammation – Schröder et al – Nutrients

Human respiratory microbiome
Airway bacterial and fungal microbiome in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – Liu et al – bioRxiv

Human gut microbiome
Review: Mechanistic insight into the gut microbiome and its interaction with host immunity and inflammation – Xue et al – Animal Nutrition

Ethanol extract of Centella asiatica alleviated dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis via restoration on mucosa barrier and gut microbiota homeostasis – Li et al – Journal of Ethnopharmacology

Development of a three-compartment in vitro simulator of the Atlantic Salmon GI tract and associated microbial communities: SalmoSim – Kazlauskaite et al – bioRxiv

Time-dependent modulation of gut microbiome in response to systemic antifungal agents – Udawatte et al – bioRxiv

Animal microbiome
North American fireflies host low bacterial diversity – Green et al – bioRxiv

Plant, root, and soil microbiome
Anthropogenic Invasion of Micromycetes to Undisturbed Ecosystems of the Larsemann Hills Oasis (East Antarctica) – Vlasov et al – Russian Journal of Biological Invasions

Larch or Mongolian pine? Effects of tree species on soil properties and microbial biomass with the consideration of afforestation time – Teng et al – Ecological Engineering

Water and extremophile microbiome
Understanding the microbial trends in a nitritation reactor fed with primary settled municipal wastewater – Pedrouso et al – Separation and Purification Technology

Microbiome community and complexity indicate environmental gradient acclimatisation and potential microbial interaction of endemic coral holobionts in the South China Sea – Chen et al – Science of The Total Environment

Microbial community structure in the river sediments from upstream of Guanting Reservoir: potential impacts of reclaimed water recharge – Xie et al – Science of The Total Environment

Food microbiology
Next-generation sequencing to enhance the taxonomic resolution of the microbiological analysis of meat and meat-derived products – Reckem et al – Current Opinion in Food Science

CRISPR/Cas12a mediated genome engineering in photosynthetic bacteria – Zhang et al – bioRxiv

September 2, 2020

Greetings for the month of September: the Haervest-monath (Harvest Month). Today’s microbiome digest consists of a cool editorial article on hidden theatre of microbes. The digest also features two interesting reviews; first one detailing the role of skin microbiota in forensic sciences and the second one with focus on association of sponges and their microbiome.

Let’s celebrate the month of September with some fascinating microbiome studies.

There are flowers enough in the summertime,
More flowers than I can remember—
But none with the purple, gold, and red
That dye the flowers of September!

—Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

General microbiome
*Editorial: Unveiling the Hidden Theatre of Microbes – Böttcher T – ChemBioChem

Chitosan-chelated zinc modulates cecal microbiota and attenuates inflammatory response in weaned rats challenged with Escherichia coli – Feng et al – Journal of Microbiology

Multi-site human microbiome
Potential Associations Among Alteration of Salivary miRNAs, Saliva Microbiome Structure, and Cognitive Impairments in Autistic Children – Ragusa et al – Int. J. Mol. Sci.

Human respiratory microbiome
Review: The importance of airway and lung microbiome in the critically ill – Martin-Loeches et al – Critical Care

Human skin microbiome
A Novel Mycovirus Evokes Transcriptional Rewiring in the Fungus Malassezia and Stimulates Beta Interferon Production in Macrophages – Clancey et al – mBio

A Novel Virus Alters Gene Expression and Vacuolar Morphology in Malassezia Cells and Induces a TLR3-Mediated Inflammatory Immune Response – Park et al – mBio

*Review: Challenges in Human Skin Microbial Profiling for Forensic Science: A Review – Neckovic et al – Genes

Human gut microbiome
Context-aware dimensionality reduction deconvolutes gut microbial community dynamics – Martino et al – Nat Biotechnol

Animal microbiome
*The relationship between microbiomes and selective regimes in the sponge genus Ircinia – Kelly et al – bioRxiv

Flow cytometry with cell sorting and sequencing as a tool for the study of the Humboldt Current krill stomach microbiota – Henriquez-Castillo et al – bioRxiv

Microbes in the news
EurekAlert News: Researchers receive $3 million NSF grant to ‘understand the rules of life – Zhou J

August 4, 2020

Greetings Everyone. Today’s Microbiome Digest comprises of a wide variety of topics covering soil microbiota, tumor to water to extremophile microbiome. The digest has some reviews, books, as well as interesting articles on how synthetic microbial communities facilitate sustainable growth and the role of microbial communities in balancing the environment. A terrific news article covering the isolation of microbes buried beneath the sea floor for more than 100 million years. Today’s digest can be summarized by a quote by Julie Morley.

“Every being devotes and dedicates itself to some innate purpose. Single cells, microbes, plants, insects, animals – every being makes it own unique contribution” – Julie J. Morley

General microbiome

*Shifts in the microbiota associated with male mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) exposed to an obligate gut fungal symbiont (Zancudomyces culisetae) – Jonas Frankel-Bricker – Scientific Reports

Microbiome-derived metabolites reproduce the mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased insulin sensitivity observed in type 2 diabetes – Ormsby et al – bioRxiv

*Synthetic microbial communities of heterotrophs and phototrophs facilitate sustainable growth – Zuñiga et al – Nature Communications

Multi-site human microbiome

Microbiome harbored within tumors: a new chance to revisit our understanding of cancer pathogenesis and treatment – Zhao et al – Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy

Human skin microbiome
Paradigms and Perspectives: The skin microbiome as a clinical biomarker in atopic eczema: Promises, navigation, and pitfalls – Reiger et al – The journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Human gut microbiome
Review: Gut microbiota and atherosclerosis: role of B cell for atherosclerosis focusing on the gut-immune-B2 cell axis – Chen et al – Journal of Molecular Medicine

Gut microbiome a promising target for management of respiratory diseases – Trivedi et al – Biochemical Journal

*A carbohydrate-active enzyme (CAZy) profile links successful metabolic specialization of Prevotella to its abundance in gut microbiota – Aakko et al – Scientific Reports

Effects of antibiotic treatment on gut microbiota and how to overcome its negative impacts on human health – Ribeiro et al – ACS Infect. Dis

Animal experiments
Dynamics of uterine microbiota in postpartum dairy cows with clinical or subclinical endometritis – Pascottini et al – Scientific Reports

Plant, root, and soil microbiome
Book chapter: The Extended Microbiota: How Microbes Shape Plant-Insect Interactions – Mayoral-Peña et al – Evolutionary Ecology of Plant-Herbivore Interaction

Response of Soil Microbial Community to C:N:P Stoichiometry along a Caragana korshinskii Restoration Gradient on the Loess Plateau, China – Zhang et al – forests

Review: The endosphere microbial communities, a great promise in agriculture – Adeleke et al – International Microbiology

Water and extremophile microbiome
Influence of microorganisms on initial soil formation along a glacier forefield on King George Island, maritime Antarctica – Krauze et al – Biogeosciences

Review: Microbial communities of soda lakes and pans in the Carpathian Basin: a review – Tamás Felföldi – Biologia Futura

Fungal Community in Antarctic Soil Along the Retreating Collins Glacier (Fildes Peninsula, King George Island) – dos Santos et al – microorganims

Culture Independent Diversity of Bacterial Communities Indigenous to Lower Altitude at Laohugou Glacial Environment – Ali et al – Geomicrobiology Journal

Review: Methanosarcina acetivorans: A Model for Mechanistic Understanding of Aceticlastic and Reverse Methanogenesis – James G. Ferry – Front.Microbiol

The Composition of Microbial Communities in Six Streams, and Its Association With Environmental Conditions, and Foodborne Pathogen Isolation – Chung et al – Front.Microbiol

Food microbiology
FoodOmics as a new frontier to reveal microbial community and metabolic processes occurring on table olives fermentation – Vaccalluzzo et al – Food Microbiology

Book: A Bioinformatics Primer for the Analysis of Illumina MiSeq Data of Litter-Associated Fungi and Bacteria – Seena et al – Methods to Study Litter Decomposition

Review: Method development for cross-study microbiome data mining: challenges and opportunities – Su et al – Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal

Microbes in the news
*Scientists pull living microbes, possibly 100 million years old, from beneath the sea – Elizabeth Pennnisi – Science

July 1, 2020

Greetings Everyone,
I want to began the month of July on a note that diversity is the basis for life. I can’t think of anything better to teach us about diversity, co-existence, and evolution than the fascinating Microbiome.
The microbiome affects us right from our birth till the end affecting our mental as well as physical health. The microbiome exhibits all sorts of differences in shape, size, color, metabolic functions in order to sustain life.
Much to learn from these tiny beings!!!!
Today’s Digest comprises of some interesting studies about effect of microbiome on chemotherapy and studies on tumor microbiome. It also includes articles exploring genetics of gut microbiome and the role of microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally has a news article about taking microbiome therapies to clinical trials.
Hope you enjoy reading today’s digest!!
“Life on earth is such a good story you cannot afford to miss the beginning… Beneath our superficial differences we are all of us walking communities of bacteria. The world shimmers, a pointillist landscape made of tiny living beings”. – Lynn Margulis

General microbiome
Human Microbiota and Effectiveness of Cancer Chemotherapy – Shvets et al – Experimental Oncology

Immunity to commensal skin fungi promotes psoriasiform skin inflammation – Hurabielle et al – PNAS

Human Tumor microbiome
*Perspective: Probing the tumor micro(b)environment – Atreya et al – Science

Human Eye microbiome
Review: Current Knowledge on the Human Eye Microbiome: A Systematic Review of Available Amplicon and Metagenomic Sequencing Data – Delbeke et al – Acta Ophthalmologica

Human nearly-sterile sites (blood, organs, brain)
Blood Bacterial Profiles Associated with HIV Infection and Immune Recovery – Serranno-Villar et al – The Journal of Infectious Diseases

Human gut microbiome
*Genetics of human gut microbiome composition – Kurilshikov et al – bioRxiv

Review: The microbiome in inflammatory bowel diseases: from pathogenesis to therapy – Liu et al – Protein&Cell

Built environment
Vertical Stratification in Urban Green Space Aerobiomes – Robinson et al – bioRxiv

Food microbiology
Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? – Firth et al – BMJ

DRAM for distilling microbial metabolism to automate the curation of microbiome function – Shaffer et al – bioRxiv

MetaRibo-Seq measures translation in microbiomes – Fremin et al – Nature Communications

Microbes on the market
Enterome Secures €46M to Take Microbiome Therapies to Clinical Trials – Helen Albert – Labiotech.eu

Human Microbiome Therapeutics Market Research: Global Status & Forecast by Geography, Type & Application (2016-2026)

June 2, 2020

Happy Month of June to all,
June serves as the national month for Alzheimer’s and brain awareness. So I will start today’s digest with some news articles about the same.
Further the digest covers some very fascinating research articles about how the microbiome influences transcriptional profile in Drosophila melanogaster to peripheral blood microbial signatures in COPD. Digest also features some awesome microbe related science communication articles.
Enjoy reading!!!
Have a Safe, Healthy, Happy, and Productive month ahead.

Alzheimer’s and brain awareness news posts

Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month 2020 – Bankston – ASBMB Today

Could the gut microbiome be linked to autism? – Svoboda – Nature Outlook

General microbiome
*Interactions between the microbiome and mating influence the female’s transcriptional profile in Drosophila melanogaster – Delbare et al – bioRxiv

Phenotypic changes of bacteria through opportunity and global methylation leads to antibiotic resistance – Neerathilingam et al – bioRxiv

Human nearly-sterile sites
Peripheral blood microbial signatures in COPD – Morrow et al – bioRxiv

Human gut microbiome
Prebiotics and community composition influence gas production of the human gut microbiota – Yu et al – bioRxiv

Short-term High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Exercise Does Not Affect Gut Bacterial Community Diversity or Composition of Lean and Overweight Men -Rettedal et al – Experimental Physiology

Animal experiments
Integrative omics analysis of the termite gut system adaptation to Miscanthus diet identifies lignocellulose degradation enzymes – Clusinska et al – Communications Biology

Water and extremophile microbiome
Phylum-level Diversity of the Microbiome of the Extremophilic Basidiomycete Fungus Pisolithus Arhizus (Scop.) Rauschert: An Island of Biodiversity in a Thermal Soil Desert – Culling et al – MicrobiologyOpen

Food microbiology
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus 2016SWU.05.0601 Regulates Immune Balance in Ovalbumin-Sensitized Mice by Modulating the Immune-Related Transcription Factors Expression and Gut Microbiota – Song et al – Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

Harnessing Ultrasound-Stimulated Phase Change Contrast Agents to Improve Antibiotic Efficacy Against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms – Durham et al – bioRxiv

Microbiome Science communication articles
The hunt for a healthy microbiome – Eisenstein – Nature Outlook

The complex relationship between drugs and the microbiome – Savage -Nature Outlook

The Infant Gut Microbiome and Probiotics that Work – Smilowitz and Taft – The Scientist

Clearing up of toxic pollutants using a bacterial protein

A science communication commentary on a recently published paper

Most pollutants are introduced in our environment in the form of herbicides, pesticides, and industrial effluents. The aromatic phenolic compounds, produced by a variety of industries, including phenol-formaldehyde resin, petrochemical plants, coal conversion, and leather processing make up for a major percentage of these pollutants. Improper treatment of these toxic pollutants can lead to heavily contaminated soil and groundwater.

Microorganisms particularly the bacterial species termed as Pseudomonas sp. have been used for a long time to clean up phenol from water in treatment plants. One such (methyl) phenol-degrading strain Pseudomonas putida KCTC 1452 has been studied with respect to its metabolic pathways involved in biodegradation.  The bacterium uses a protein called as DmpR, an acronym for di-methyl phenol regulator, for phenol degradation. While DmpR protein has been used in biosensors for detection of  pollutants in environment, the exact mechanism of DmpR activation has puzzled researchers for many years.

A recent study made a breakthrough by solving the molecular structure of the protein, DmpR when bound to phenol. The challenge was overcome by an international team of researchers from three different countries. Scientists from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), South Korea worked together with scientists from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft, Netherlands and the Department of Molecular Biology, Umea University, Sweden to understand the mechanism of DmpR by solving its phenol-bound crystal structure. This study published in Nature Communications, provides valuable insights into the oligomerization and the signal transduction mechanism of DmpR, which eventually results in degradation of phenolic pollutants.

The team led by Dr. Eui Jeon Woo at the Disease Target Structure Research Center, KRIBB and  Dr. Chirlmin Joo at the Department of Bionanoscience, at the Kavli Institute pioneered the DmpR structural studies advancing the DmpR biosensor technology field. Their discovery of the tetrameric oligomerization state, in contrast to previously thought hexameric state, of the protein helped in understanding its binding to signal transduction factors. The researchers also discovered that protein itself does not utilize energy from hydrolysis of ATP, the cellular currency, to attain oligomeric state but rather directs the energy towards signal transduction and transcriptional activation of proteins involved in the (methyl)phenol-degradative system. With a better understanding of this protein structure and function, highly sensitive whole-cell biosensors can be engineered which can sense and degrade these toxic pollutants. Such sensors can help to prevent accumulation of toxic chemicals that could otherwise cause serious ecological damage as well as contaminate food supplies.  Similarly, DmpR related proteins could also be developed as biosensors that can be used to test different pollutant levels present in the water bodies for protection of the aquatic flora and fauna, thus helping towards preserving ecological niches.

Citation: Park, K., Kim, S., Lee, S. et al. Tetrameric architecture of an active phenol-bound form of the AAA+ transcriptional regulator DmpR. Nat Commun 11, 2728 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16562-5

Arti Dumbrepatil is a science writer. She did her postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. During her tenure at the University of Michigan, she has worked as a Science Communication Fellow (at the Natural History Museum, UMICH) and as a Science Communication Writer (LSA, UMICH). Arti continues to write as a contributing science writer to American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB),Microbiome Digest,Bio Voice News.

Twitter @rtisciwrites

May 1, 2020

Greetings from Durham, NC!

Hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. Today’s digest includes several host-microbiome studies, environmental microbiome studies, and an intriguing EurekAlert news article.
In this light digest of today, I wanted to highlight a cool review about correlation of the oral microbiome with children’s health and a very interesting article on cell wall architecture of the gram-positive bacteria.
COVID-19 pandemic has opened a sort of Pandora’s box filled with great science along with pseudoscience. So, the digest has these two great articles from Nature: one about chloroquine and other about the race for coronavirus vaccines.
Staying at home is difficult for everyone, here is a fun activity to do: coloring space microbes book.

Stay Safe and entertained at home!!!!

COVID-19 news articles

The race for coronavirus vaccines: a graphical guide – Callaway – Nature

Chloroquine hype is derailing the search for coronavirus treatments – Ledford – Nature

General microbiome
*The architecture of the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall– Pasquina-Lemonche et al. – Nature

Pregnancy and early life
Maternal H. pylori is associated with differential fecal microbiota in infants born by vaginal delivery – Hernandez et al. – Scientific Reports

Metabolic Effects of Bovine Milk Oligosaccharides on Selected Commensals of the Infant Microbiome—Commensalism and Postbiotic Effects – Jakobsen et al. – Metabolites

Multi-site human microbiome
*Review: Oral microbiome: possible harbinger for children’s health – Xiao et al. – Nature International Journal of Oral Science

Animal microbiome
Links between the rumen microbiota, methane emissions and feed efficiency of finishing steers offered dietary lipid and nitrate supplementation – Bowen et al. – PLOS ONE

Plant, root, and soil microbiome
Variation in rhizosphere microbial communities and its association with the symbiotic efficiency of rhizobia in soybean – Han et al. – The ISME Journal

Water and extremophile microbiome
Review: Exopolysaccharides from marine bacteria: production, recovery and applications – Dave et al. – Environmental Sustainability

Stromatolitic digitate sinters form under wide‐ranging physicochemical conditions with diverse hot spring microbial communities – Sriaporn et al. – gebiology

Built environment
Comparative analysis of bacterial community and functional species in oil reservoirs with different in situ temperatures – Tian et al. – International Microbiology

Medusa: Software to build and analyze ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions – Medlock et al. – PLOS Computational Biology

Review: The National Microbiome Data Collaborative: enabling microbiome science – Wood-Charlson et al. – Nature Reviews Microbiology

Probiotics / prebiotics
Lactobacillus plantarum NA136 ameliorates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by modulating gut microbiota, improving intestinal barrier integrity, and attenuating inflammation – Zhao et al. -Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Microbes in the news
Scientists explore links between genetics, gut microbiome and memory – DOE/PACIFIC NORTHWEST NATIONAL LABORATORY

April 1, 2020

Hello Everyone, I am excited for my first post here. Continuing the trend the first few papers are on COVID-19 : first one talks about its classification and nomenclature. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Last but not the least, keep up the hand washing.


* The species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2- Coronaviridae Study – Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses – Nature Microbiology

Functional assessment of cell entry and receptor usage for SARS-CoV-2 and other lineage B betacoronaviruses – Letko et al. – Nature Microbiology

General microbiome
Variation in prostaglandin metabolism during growth of the diatom Thalassiosira rotula – Dato et al. – Scientific Reports

Pregnancy and early life
Factors affecting early-life intestinal microbiota development – Vandenplas et al. – Nutrition

Multi-site human microbiome
Gut, oral and skin microbiome of Indian patrilineal families reveal perceptible association with age – Chaudhari et al. – Scientific Reports

Human gut microbiome
Implication of the gut microbiome composition of type 2 diabetic patients from northern China – Li et al. – Scientific Reports

The microbiota programs DNA methylation to control intestinal homeostasis and inflammation– Ansari et al. – Nature Microbiology

Animal microbiome
The Contest of Microbial Pigeon Neighbors: Interspecies Competition Between Serratia marcescens and the Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans – Haleva et al. – Fungal Biology

Plant, root, and soil microbiome
Pseudomonas PS01 Isolated from Maize Rhizosphere Alters Root System Architecture and Promotes Plant Growth – Chu et al. – Microorganisms

Phages and viruses
Viruses with different genome types adopt a similar strategy to pack nucleic acids based on positively charged protein domains – Requião et al. – Scientific Reports

*Review: 5 challenges in understanding the role of the virome in health and disease – Wang David – PLOS Pathogens

Whole-genome sequencing of Burkholderia pseudomallei from an urban melioidosis hot spot reveals a fine-scale population structure and localised spatial clustering in the environment – Rachlin et al. – Scientific Reports

Comprehensive evaluation of complex polymicrobial specimens using next generation sequencing and standard microbiological culture – Cummings et al. – Scientific Reports

Review: Potential of proteomics to probe microbes – Matilda et al. – Journal of Basic Microbiology