General microbiology and science, August 19, 2014

Proteomics in biofilms at different temperatures, neonatal immune metabolic network, co-occurrence, something wonky with Unifrac, and microbiome in the news.

Metabolomics and proteomics

Turning up the heat on biofilms – Christina Tobin Kåhrström – Nature Reviews Microbiology

“This study used tandem mass tag (TMT)-based proteomics to measure protein expression in acid mine drainage biofilms at 40 °C, 43 °C and 46 °C. “

Identification of a human neonatal immune-metabolic network associated with bacterial infection – Claire L. Smith – Nature Communications

“Here, a system-level investigation of neonatal systemic responses to infection shows a surprisingly strong but unbalanced homeostatic immune response; developing an elevated set-point of myeloid regulatory signalling and sugar-lipid metabolism with concomitant inhibition of lymphoid responses. “

Secondary metabolite gene expression and interplay of bacterial functions in a tropical freshwater cyanobacterial bloom – Kevin Penn – ISME Journal

“To characterize microbial activities in a cyanoHAB, transcripts from a eutrophic freshwater reservoir in Singapore were sequenced for six samples collected over one day-night period.”

Microbial Ecology

Demonstrating microbial co-occurrence pattern analyses within and between ecosystems
Ryan J. Williams – Frontiers in Microbiology

“To demonstrate our co-occurrence analysis approach, we gathered publicly available 16S rRNA amplicon datasets to compare and contrast microbial co-occurrence at different taxonomic levels across different ecosystems. “

Fluvial network organization imprints on microbial co-occurrence networks – Stefanie Widder – PNAS USA

“We combined co-occurrence analyses of biofilms based on next-generation sequencing with a probabilistic hydrological model, and showed how fragementation of microbial co-occurrence networks change across stream networks. “

Bioinformatics

Equivalent input produces different output in the UniFrac significance test – Jeffrey R Long – BMC Bioinformatics

“UniFrac produces different outputs for these equivalent forms of the same input tree.”

More microbes

PNAS has an upcoming 100th Anniversary Special Feature on Vaccines. Here is the introduction: Vaccines: Science, health, longevity, and wealth – Rino Rappuoli – PNAS

“The special issue of the centenary of PNAS provides an opportunity to review the his- tory of vaccines, the most exciting features of vaccine science, and to contemplate the future. “

Microbes in the news

Gut Check: Exploring your Microbiome – University of Colorado Boulder course

“Join us on a guided tour of the human gut and its microscopic inhabitants. “

* The ‘Whoville’ in Your Gut: Your Microbiome – Raphael Kellman – Everyday Health

“Just as Horton’s neighbors could not “see” the tiny residents of Whoville, most of us are unaware of the microscopic world within us. “

Your Gut Bacteria Want You to Eat a Cupcake – Julie Beck – The Atlantic

“But a recent review published in BioEssays suggests that these bacteria might be a little too big for their britches, bossing their hosts around and demanding certain kinds of foods. “

* Diversify Your Microbiome by Rock Climbing Indoors – Embriette Hyde – MicroBEnet

“Though I don’t feel as though the findings in the study are earth shattering, they do illustrate an important point-the built environments that we inhabit each and every day-whether they are our houses, workplaces, or gyms-are perfect places for sharing microbes of all sorts-both environmental and human-associated. “

Sea Smells By The Sea Shore – Benjamin Wolfe – PopSci.com

“A microbiologist explores the distinctive odors of a day at the beach”

Bik’s Picks

Effect of soccer shoe upper on ball behaviour in curve kicks – Hideyuki Ishii – Nature Scientific Reports

“In this study, by using a finite element simulation, we investigated the factors that affect ball behaviour immediately after impact in a curve kick. Five experienced male university soccer players performed one curve kick. “‘

Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants – George Wittemyer – PNAS USA

“…to our knowledge we provide the first detailed assessment of African elephant illegal killing rates at population, regional, and continental scales. “

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General microbiology and science, June 16

It’s late and I got lots for you, so no pictures today. Dengue, phages, ecology, techniques, and lots more.

Antibiotic resistance

Review: Microbiological effects of sublethal levels of antibiotics – Dan I. Andersson & Diarmaid Hughes – Nature Reviews Microbiology

“In this Review, we discuss the ecology of antibiotics and the ability of subinhibitory concentrations to select for bacterial resistance. “

A Bacterial Battle  – Lisa M. Jarvis – Chemical and Engineering News

“The regulatory path to approving new antibiotics has been cleared, but work still remains to rebuild a healthy drug pipeline”

Bacteria are everywhere
How safe is your kitchen? – Lyxan Toledanes – The Daily News Online

Despite a spacious kitchen, Parker sat on the counter next to Masters’ prep area, where she was chopping vegetables and chicken on separate cutting mats. 

Adventures in the microbiome (part 2) – Mike Edmund

“There’s an intriguing case report that was just published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection”

Stafford students find bacteria on tainted tablets – Amanda Oglesby

“Four sixth-graders huddled over a table inside All Saints Regional Catholic School as they took turns swabbing bacteria from the surfaces of an iPhone and iPad.”

Bioslime: new sensor to detect harmful bacteria on food industry surfaces – BarfBlog

“The Biolisme project is using research from the University to develop a sensor capable of collecting and detecting Listeria monocytogenes on food industry surfaces, thereby preventing contaminated products from entering the market.”

Viruses and phages

Functional long-range RNA–RNA interactions in positive-strand RNA viruses – Beth L. Nicholson & K. Andrew White – Nature Reviews Microbiology

“In this Review, we discuss recent insights into the structure and function of these intriguing genomic features and highlight their diverse roles in the gene expression and genome replication of positive-strand RNA viruses.”

Unravelling the structural and mechanistic basis of CRISPR–Cas systems – John van der Oost – Nature Reviews Microbiology

“In this Review, we summarize the recent structural and biochemical insights that have been gained for the three major types of CRISPR–Cas systems, which together provide a detailed molecular understanding of the unique and conserved mechanisms of RNA-guided adaptive immunity in bacteria and archaea.”

The elemental composition of virus particles: implications for marine biogeochemical cycles – Luis F. Jover – Nature Reviews Microbiology

“In this Analysis article, we use a biophysical scaling model of intact virus particles that has been validated using sequence and structural information to quantify differences in the elemental stoichiometry of marine viruses compared with their microbial hosts. “

Phage therapies for plants and people – Michael Gross – Current Biology

Dengue

NEA to explore biological control methods to tackle dengue

“One of the techniques involves the use of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are infected with a certain bacteria, to control their population.”

Techniques general

Storage of Human Biospecimens: Selection of the Optimal Storage Temperature – Allison Hubel – Biopreservation and Biobanking

“The overall objective of this article is to describe the scientific basis for selecting a storage temperature for a biospecimen based on current scientific understanding. To that end, this article reviews some physical basics of the temperature, nucleation, and ice crystal growth present in biological samples stored at low temperatures (−20°C to −196°C), and our current understanding of the role of temperature on the activity of degradative molecules present in biospecimens.”

DNA polymerase hybrids derived from the family-B enzymes of Pyrococcus furiosus and Thermococcus kodakarensis: improving performance in the polymerase chain reaction – Ashraf M. Elshawadfy – Frontiers Microbiology

“The significance of this work is the observation that improvements in PCR performance are easily attainable by blending elements from closely related archaeal polymerases, an approach that may, in future, be extended by using more polymerases from these organisms.”

Metabolomics, Proteomics, Mass spectrometry

Bruker Announces Powerful New Mass Spectrometry Systems and Solutions for Life-Science Research, Clinical Research, Biopharma and Applied Markets – Wall Street Journal

“At the 62(nd) ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics today, Bruker Corporation (NASDAQ:BRKR) today announced mass spectrometry-based product introductions for life-science research and proteomics, for clinical research, for pharma/biopharma/CRO customers, as well as for applied and industrial markets. “

Medically, Proteomics Advances Will Rival the Genetics Advances of the Last Ten Years – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

“..in explaining why proteomics is likely to have such a major impact, Dr. Anderson starts with a major difference between the genetic testing common today, and the proteomic testing that is fast coming on the scene. “

Metagenomics and informatics

Detecting concerted demographic response across community assemblages using hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation – Yvonne L. Chan – Molecular Biology and Evolution

“Here we present a statistical framework for such an analysis based on hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation (hABC) with the goal of detecting concerted demographic histories across an ecological assemblage.”

An Experimentally Determined Evolutionary Model Dramatically Improves Phylogenetic Fit – Jesse D. Bloom – Molecular Biology and Evolution

“Experimental determination of a parameter-free evolutionary model via mutagenesis, functional selection, and deep sequencing.”

Ecology

Trait-based approaches for understanding microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning – Sascha Krause – Frontiers in Microbiology

“We argue that combining eco-physiological studies with contemporary molecular tools in a trait-based framework can reinforce our ability to link microbial diversity to ecosystem processes. “

The importance of the viable but non-culturable state in human bacterial pathogens – Laam Li – Frontiers in Microbiology

“The conditions that trigger the induction of the VBNC state and resuscitation from it are summarized and the mechanisms underlying these two processes are discussed. “

Deciphering microbial interactions and detecting keystone species with co-occurrence networks – David Berry – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Here, we simulate multi-species microbial communities with known interaction patterns using generalized Lotka-Volterra dynamics. We then construct co-occurrence networks and evaluate how well networks reveal the underlying interactions and how experimental and ecological parameters can affect network inference and interpretation.”

Scientific writing and publishing

Sources of error in the retracted scientific literature – Arturo Casadevall, R. Grant Steen and Ferric C. Fang – The FASEB Journal

“Analysis of the retraction notices for 423 articles indexed in PubMed revealed that the most common causes of error-related retraction are laboratory errors, analytical errors, and irreproducible results.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Magnets: Artificial Magnetic Bacteria: Living Magnets at Room Temperature – Miguel Martín – Adv. Funct. Mater

After grafting the magnetic nanoparticles, the artificial magnetic bacteria remain alive. In fact they are converted into living magnets at room temperature.”

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