Microbiome and general biology, June 20

It was a quiet day on the microbiome research front, so there will only be one post today. But, with vampire bats, Bacillus anthracis, and fish-eating spiders, it’s a good one!

Pregnancy and Birth

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.08.36 PMStudy Finds Certain Birth Defects are more Common in Hispanics – Cheri Cheng

“”One of the things that caught our eye was, while Hispanics represent 17 percent of the population, 24 percent of premature babies are Hispanic,” said Dr. Edward McCabe, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization.”

Animal models of human microbiota

BacillusColonic Immune Suppression, Barrier Dysfunction, and Dysbiosis by Gastrointestinal Bacillus anthracis Infection – Yaíma L. Lightfoot – PLOS ONE

“Herein, we investigated the pathogenesis of GI anthrax in animals orally infected with toxigenic non-encapsulated B. anthracis Sterne strain (pXO1+ pXO2−) spores that resulted in rapid animal death.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.53.32 PMBiology Students Study Stomach Bacteria – Pengxeu Thao – University of Minnesota Morris

Wyckoff and her students are spending the summer studyingHelicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a Gram-negative bacterium found in the human stomach.”

Amphibian microbiome

AmphibCool Temperatures Reduce Antifungal Activity of Symbiotic Bacteria of Threatened Amphibians – Implications for Disease Management and Patterns of Decline – Joshua H. Daskin – PLOS ONE

“We characterized, at a range of temperatures approximating natural seasonal variation, the anti-Bd activity of bacterial symbionts from the skins of three species of rainforest tree frogs (Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola, and Litoria serrata)”

Plant microbiology

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.09.21 PMScientists look to bacteria to protect crop yields in the face of climate change – Jennifer Huizen – E&E Publishing

“If proved effective, this technology would decrease the amount of key nutrients like nitrogen and, most notably, water needed by the plant, while increasing the yield,” said Lin Myat, a postdoctoral fellow of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell “

belongs to

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.06.07 PMβ-Carboxysomal proteins assemble into highly organized structures in Nicotiana chloroplasts – Myat T. Lin – The Plant Journal

“We demonstrate that a foreign protein can be targeted with a 17-amino-acid CcmN peptide to the shell proteins inside chloroplasts. Our experiments establish the feasibility of introducing carboxysomes into chloroplasts for the potential compartmentalization of Rubisco or other proteins.”

Food microbiology

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.23.17 PMHaley Oliver: Master of Meat – Jef Akst – The Scientist

“In her own lab at Purdue University, Oliver studies the spread of Listeria in other foods, such as melons, and investigates sanitation strategies that may limit contamination and increase food shelf life. “

Infection and host response

InflammationInflammation: Gone with Translation – Carola G. Vinuesa, Thomas Preiss – PLOS Genetics

“Over the last few years, a number of studies have investigated global gene activation induced by pathogen-derived stimuli to gain insights into the modes of induction of the inflammatory mediators and regulators.”

Dengue

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.18.31 PMThe Need for More Research and Public Health Interventions on Dengue Fever in Burkina Faso – Valéry Ridde – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…our aim in this article is to draw attention to the need for rapid deployment of research and interventions on dengue fever in Burkina Faso, because it appears to have been overlooked, with the focus being, instead, on malaria.”

Dengue NKTInvariant NKT Cell Response to Dengue Virus Infection in Human
Ponpan Matangkasombut – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“iNKT cells activation were analyzed by the expression of CD69 by flow cytometry. Their cytokine production was then analyzed after α-GalCer stimulation”

General microbiology

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.19.15 PMVampire Bats and Rabies: Toward an Ecological Solution to a Public Health Problem – Benjamin Stoner-Duncan – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“In the first half of 2011, 21 school-age children and two adults died of rabies transmitted by the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) in and around the small rural village of Yupicusa in the Peruvian Amazon”

VectorCrossing the Interspecies Barrier: Opening the Door to Zoonotic Pathogens – Christian Gortazar – PLOS Pathogens

“The species barriers separating nonhuman animal species from humans represent a major hurdle for effective exposure to, infection by, and subsequent spread of zoonotic pathogens among humans”

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.35.19 PMHuman sweat can reduce bacteria fighting capabilities – ZeeNews

“A new research has revealed that human sweat can diminish bacteria-fighting qualities of brass objects like door knobs and taps within an hour of contact.”

 

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.11.49 PMFish Predation by Semi-Aquatic Spiders: A Global Pattern – Martin Nyffeler – PLOS ONE

“More than 80 incidences of fish predation by semi-aquatic spiders – observed at the fringes of shallow freshwater streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and fens – are reviewed.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.15.09 PMUS sets up honey bee loss task force – BBC News

“In the plan announced on Friday, Mr Obama directed the EPA and the agriculture department to lead a government-wide task force to develop a strategy within six months to fight bee and other pollinator declines.“

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.17.07 PMStrict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms – Science Daily

“Researchers at Duke University found that taking food away from C. elegans triggers a state of arrested development: while the organism continues to wriggle about, foraging for food, its cells and organs are suspended in an ageless, quiescent state. “

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.26.39 PMFinding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication – Science Daily

“The novelty of the authors’ approach is that the participants were not instructed to think and talk about a given topic in an experimental setting. “

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General microbiology and science, June 19

How to store your sputum samples, how LPS gets inserted into the outer membrane, and why pigs have an even number of toes.

Techniques in microbiome research

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.16.59 PMTime between sputum sample collection and storage significantly influences bacterial sequence composition from Cystic Fibrosis respiratory infections – Leah Cuthbertson – Journal of Clinical Microbiology

“Aliquots were stored at room temperature before freezing at -80°C for increasing intervals up to 72 hour period. Samples were treated with propidium monoazide, to distinguish live from dead cells, prior to DNA extraction, and 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing was used to characterise the bacterial composition.”

General microbiology

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.26.58 PMStructural basis for outer membrane lipopolysaccharide insertion – Haohao Dong – Nature

“Here we report the first crystal structure of the unique integral membrane LPS translocon LptD–LptE complex….These findings not only help us to understand important aspects of bacterial outer membrane biogenesis, but also have significant potential for the development of novel drugs against multi-drug resistant pathogenic bacteria.”

Immunology

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.13.17 PMTeaching the immune system “self” respect and tolerance – Lucienne Chatenoud – Science

Tolerance is what we would like to restore to cure such disabling diseases. Kasagi et al. (2) indicate that it may be possible to teach the immune system to tolerate “self” again.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.15.42 PMIn Vivo–Generated Antigen-Specific Regulatory T Cells Treat Autoimmunity Without Compromising Antibacterial Immune Response – Shimpei Kasagi – Science

“These antigen-specific Treg cells specifically ameliorated autoimmunity without compromising immune responses to bacterial antigen. We have thus successfully generated antigen-specific Treg cells with therapeutic activity toward autoimmunity”

Phages, viruses, CRISPRs

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.18.44 PMHaloarcula hispanica CRISPR authenticates PAM of a target sequence to prime discriminative adaptation – Ming Li – Nucleic Acids Research

Science and ethics

Cheating common, say Brazil’s students – Jack Grove – Times Higher Education

“Of a sample of 47 papers published last year, 29 showed signs of word-by-word plagiarism, seven contained self-plagiarism, three had “mosaic plagiarism” (otherwise known as “synonym substitution”) and one exhibited signs of collusion.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.23.10 PMThe Dangers Of Data Mining – Tommaso Dorigo – Science 2.0

On my first day at the Erice School of Science Journalism this past week I attended a lecture by Alessio Cimarelli, who discussed “When Data Journalism meets Science: a “Hackathon””.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 11.32.23 PMEvolutionary biology: Why cattle, pigs are even-toed – Science Daily

During their evolution, the basic limb skeletal structure was significantly modified such that today’s hippopotami have four toes, while the second and fifth toe face backwards in pigs.”

 

U.S. Says 75 Government Scientists Possibly Exposed To Live Anthrax – Reuters – Huffington Post

The potential exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency’s Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria.”

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