Microbiome Digest, October 29, 2014

The genome of Mycoplasma Mnola, helminths in wild rats, fungi in strawberry roots, and the top 100 most cited papers of all time. Can you guess which one is #1?

Human genital microbiome

An Emerging Mycoplasma Associated with Trichomoniasis, Vaginal Infection and Disease – Jennifer M. Fettweis – PLOS ONE

“In this study, the mycoplasma was found almost exclusively in women infected with the sexually transmitted pathogen Trichomonas vaginalis, but rarely observed in women with no diagnosed disease.”

Human gut microbiome

Bacteriology and Changes in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Adults with Community-Acquired Perforated Appendicitis – Hong Gil Jeon – PLOS ONE

“We retrospectively reviewed records of adult patients diagnosed with perforated appendicitis at an 800-bed teaching hospital between January 2000 and December 2011. “

Animal microbiome

Changes in the intestinal bacterial community during the growth of white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei – Zhaobin Huang – Aquaculture Research

“In this study, we documented the changes in the intestinal bacterial community at four stages in Litopenaeus vannamei…, using 454 pyrosequencing techniques. “

Assessment of Helminth Biodiversity in Wild Rats Using 18S rDNA Based Metagenomics – Ryusei Tanaka – PLOS ONE

“In this study, we assessed parasite diversity in wild rats using 18S rDNA-based metagenomics. 18S rDNA PCR products were sequenced using an Illumina MiSeq sequencer and the analysis of the sequences using the QIIME software successfully classified them into several parasite groups.”

Soil microbiome

Linking soil microbial communities to vascular plant abundance along a climate gradient – Luca Bragazza – New Phytologist

“Microbial community structure and function were measured seasonally in four peatlands located along an altitude gradient representing a natural gradient of climate and associated vascular plant abundance.”

* Influence of Soil Type, Cultivar and Verticillium dahliae on the Structure of the Root and Rhizosphere Soil Fungal Microbiome of Strawberry – Srivathsa Nallanchakravarthula – PLOS ONE

“In this study we examined the effects of different soils and cultivars, and the presence of a soil-borne fungal pathogen, Verticillium dahliae, on the fungal microbiome of the rhizosphere soil and roots of strawberry plants, using high-throughput pyrosequencing.”

Metagenomics / Bioinformatics

Evaluation of a Hybrid Approach Using UBLAST and BLASTX for Metagenomic Sequences Annotation of Specific Functional Genes – Ying Yang – PLOS ONE

“A hybrid annotation pipeline proposed previously for taxonomic assignments was evaluated in this study for metagenomic sequences annotation of specific functional genes, such as antibiotic resistance genes, arsenic resistance genes and key genes in nitrogen metabolism. “

Metabolomics

Long-term phenotypic evolution of bacteria – Germán Plata – Nature

“Here we perform a comparative analysis of bacterial growth and gene deletion phenotypes using hundreds of genome-scale metabolic models. “

Phages and viruses

Conditional tolerance of temperate phages via transcription-dependent CRISPR-Cas targeting – Gregory W. Goldberg – Nature

“Here we show that the Staphylococcus epidermidis CRISPR-Cas system can prevent lytic infection but tolerate lysogenization by temperate phages. “

Science, publishing and career

The top 100 papers – Richard Van Noorden – Nature

“To mark the anniversary, Nature asked Thomson Reuters, which now owns the SCI, to list the 100 most highly cited papers of all time.”

Bibliometrics: Is your most cited work your best? – John P. A. Ioannidis – Nature

“John P. A. Ioannidis and colleagues asked the most highly cited biomedical scientists to score their top-ten papers in six ways.”

Recommendations for the Role of Publishers in Access to Data – Jennifer Lin, Carly Strasser – PLOS Biology

“As appeals for public access of research data continue to proliferate, many scholarly publishers—alongside funders, institutions, and libraries—are expanding their role to address this need. “

How to Make More Published Research True – John P. A. Ioannidis – PLOS ONE

“Currently, many published research findings are false or exaggerated, and an estimated 85% of research resources are wasted.”

Prominent Geomicrobiologist Dies – Tracy Vence – The Scientist

“Katrina Edwards, whose research focus was on discovering life beneath the ocean floor, has passed away at age 46.”

Bik’s Picks

The Art of Science: Popsicles Go Viral – The Finch and Pea

“Lick a virus? Probably not a good idea, unless it’s a Dangerous Popsicle, a sweet treat created by artist and designer Wei Li. “

Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research – Science Direct

“Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. “

Antares Rocket Explosion Destroyed These Kids’ Science Projects – Rheana Murray – ABC News

“Students across the nation watched their science projects go up in flames as the rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after takeoff.”

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Microbiome digest, October 15, 2014

A seminar this Friday with Pat Schloss, but without HMP girl, aspartame and gut microbiome in a rat model, bacteria in arsenic contaminated soil, and inter-kingdom horizontal gene transfer.

Human oral microbiome

General Immune Status and Oral Microbiology in Patients with Different Forms of Periodontitis and Healthy Control Subjects – Jana Schmidt – PLOS ONE

“Subgingival plaque samples were taken from each individual and immediately cultivated for microbiological examination.”

Pregnancy and birth

* The vaginal microbiome, vaginal anti-microbial defence mechanisms and the clinical challenge of reducing infection-related preterm birth – SS Witkin – BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

“Ascending bacterial infection is implicated in about 40–50% of preterm births. “

Animal models of microbiome research

* Low-Dose Aspartame Consumption Differentially Affects Gut Microbiota-Host Metabolic Interactions in the Diet-Induced Obese Rat – Marie S. A. Palmnäs – PLOS ONE

“Serum metabolomics analysis revealed aspartame to be rapidly metabolized and to be associated with elevations in the short chain fatty acid propionate, a bacterial end product and highly gluconeogenic substrate, potentially explaining its negative affects on insulin tolerance. “

Effect of dietary supplementation with resveratrol on nutrient digestibility, methanogenesis and ruminal microbial flora in sheep – T. Ma – Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition

“Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of resveratrol on methanogenesis and microbial flora in Dorper × thin-tailed Han cross-bred ewes. “

Soil microbiome

Changing precipitation pattern alters soil microbial community response to wet-up under a Mediterranean-type climate – Romain L Barnard – ISME Journal

“Here, we investigated the effects of extending winter rainfall into the normally dry summer period on soil microbial response to a controlled rewetting event”

Surface binding and intracellular uptake of arsenic in bacteria isolated from arsenic contaminated site – Neha Vishnoi, Sonal Dixit, D.P. Singh – Ecological Engineering

“The present study deals with the surface binding and uptake of arsenic (As) in two bacterial strains (Bacillus subtilis and Paenibacillus macerans) isolated from the As contaminated soil.”

Water microbiome

Effects of ecological engineered oxygenation on the bacterial community structure in an anoxic fjord in western Sweden – Michael Forth – ISME Journal

“We used molecular ecologic methods to study changes in bacterial community structure in response to the oxygenation in the Byfjord. “

Food microbiology

Assessment of the bacterial and fungal diversity in home-made yoghurts of Xinjiang, China by pyrosequencing – Haiyan Xu – Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

“The bacterial and fungal community diversity in 22 home-made yoghurt samples was analyzed by pyrosequencing. “

CRISPRs, phages, viruses

In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics – Joe Palca – NPR Morning Edition

“That’s certainly true for Jennifer Doudna. She hasn’t won a Nobel Prize, but many are whispering that she’s in line to win one for her work on something called CRISPR/Cas9 — a tool for editing genes.”

Bioinformatics and metagenomics

* Inter-phylum HGT has shaped the metabolism of many mesophilic and anaerobic bacteria – Alejandro Caro-Quintero and Konstantinos T Konstantinidis – ISME Journal

“Here, we devised a novel bioinformatic pipeline, which minimized the effect of over-representation of specific taxa in the available databases and other limitations of homology-based approaches by analyzing genomes in standardized triplets, to quantify gene exchange between bacterial genomes representing different phyla. “

* Origins of major archaeal clades correspond to gene acquisitions from bacteria
Shijulal Nelson-Sathi – Nature

“To investigate the origin of higher taxa in archaea, we have determined gene distributions and gene phylogenies for the 267,568 protein-coding genes of 134 sequenced archaeal genomes in the context of their homologues from 1,847 reference bacterial genomes.”

Evidence of Carbon Fixation Pathway in a Bacterium from Candidate Phylum SBR1093 Revealed with Genomic Analysis – Zhiping Wang – PLOS ONE

“A phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene reveals that the phylotypes within candidate phylum SBR1093 are primarily clustered into 5 clades with a shallow branching pattern. “

Metagenomic Approach Reveals Variation of Microbes with Arsenic and Antimony Metabolism Genes from Highly Contaminated Soil – Jinming Luo – PLOS ONE

“Metagenomic analysis revealed that microbes from 18 phyla were present in the 5 samples of soil contaminated with high As and Sb.”

More microbiology

* The Phylogeny of Everything, the Origin of Eukaryotes, and the Rules of Taxonomy: Death to Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya! Long live Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Eukaryota, and Prokaryota! – Judge Starling

“The molecular revelation based on orthologous ribosomal RNA sequences that prokaryotes are separable into two basic taxa—archaebacteria and eubacteria, and that these two taxa are approximately equidistant from eukaryotes, prompted Woese et al. (1990) to come up with a tripartite taxonomy of all life forms.”

Adhesion as a weapon in microbial competition – Jonas Schluter – ISME Journal

“We test the predictions of our model using the enteric pathogen Vibrio cholerae, which produces an extracellular matrix important for biofilm formation. “

Microbes in the news:

* Google Hangout on Friday: MicroSeminar: A new way of doing conferences – Pat Schloss

“You will not see HMP Girl, no quotes of specious statistics, no mention of obscure disease, and no venturing into the weeds of bioinformatics. I will be describing unpublished experiments from the lab where we have taken various sources of microorganisms and used them to colonize mice that lack their own microbiota.”

‘Grapes of Wrath’: Stomping out grape disease one vineyard at a time – Phys.org

“A Rochester Institute of Technology scientist and an RIT alumnus are close to completing the genetic blueprint, or microbiome, of grape crown gall tumor disease—the bane of vineyards worldwide. ”

Redefining Human: The Microbiome Documentary Series – Root House Studio – Kickstarter

“We know science documentaries can be painfully boring, so Redefining Human will use a variety of new techniques to turn this complex science into an informative and entertaining documentary series.”

What’s in my microbiome? – Richard Sprague

“To find out what’s in my microbiome now, I bought a $400 kit from the San Francisco company uBiome. “

Science, publishing and career

* Rise of the Rest: The Growing Impact of Non-Elite Journals – Anurag Acharya – Google / Arxiv

“Our analysis indicates that the number of top-1000 papers published in non-elite journals for the representative subject category went from 149 in 1995 to 245 in 2013, a growth of 64%.”

Review rewards – Welcome efforts are being made to recognize academics who give up their time to peer review – Nature Editorial

“A welcome movement is under way to publicly register and recognize the hitherto invisible efforts of referees.”

Overqualified or underqualified? – Carrie Arnold – Science

“As unemployment stretched from weeks into months, Milstein decided that her Ph.D. was working against her. “

 

Satire: Facebook Offers To Freeze Female Employee’s Newborn Children – The Onion

“Women deserve to have the option to postpone motherhood until they feel fully prepared, which is why Facebook will also cover the cryonic facility’s annual maintenance costs for as many years as our employees feel they need. “

Bik’s Picks

360-Degree View of the Tomato – Anna Azvolinsky – The Scientist

“Researchers have sequenced 360 varieties of the tomato plant to create a comprehensive map of the evolution of the fruit from its wild form to the modern varieties. “

Extinct giant kangaroos didn’t hop, they walked – Andy Coghlan – New Scientist

“They had faces like rabbits and some were 2 metres tall. But now it seems that an extinct giant kangaroo didn’t hop – it walked.“

 

Chimpanzees have favorite ‘tool set’ for hunting staple food of army ants – Science Daily

“New research shows that chimpanzees search for the right tools from a key plant species when preparing to ‘ant dip’ — a crafty technique enabling them to feast on army ants without getting bitten. “

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General microbiology and science digest, October 2, 2014

Viruses and metagenomics, the soil of Central Park, and sweat eating bacteria.

Ecology

Loops and autonomy promote evolvability of ecosystem networks – Jianxi Luo – Scientific Reports

“To correlate ecosystem structure and evolvability, we adopt the NK model originally from evolutionary biology to generate and assess the ruggedness of fitness landscapes of a wide spectrum of model food webs with gradual variation in the amount of feeding loops and link density. “

Erosion of functional independence early in the evolution of a microbial mutualism
Kristina L. Hillesland – PNAS USA

“We show that as the bacterium Desulfovibrio vulgaris evolved for 1,000 generations in conditions forcing cooperation with the archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis, it lost a key metabolic trait that would be required for it to grow alone in most environments.”

Tree diversity does not always improve resistance of forest ecosystems to drought – Charlotte Grossiord – PNAS USA

“Within our study network of 160 forest stands across Europe, we found that mixed species forests are less exposed to drought stress in some regions only. “

Phages, viruses, and metagenomics

Dynamics of CRISPR Loci in Microevolutionary Process of Yersinia pestis Strains – Maria Paloma S. Barros – PLOS ONE

“This study allowed observing a microevolutionary process in a group of Y. pestis isolated from Brazil. “

Metagenomic approaches for direct and cell culture evaluation of the virological quality of wastewater – Tiong Gim Aw – Journal of Virological Methods

“In this study, NGS and bioinformatics have been employed for the direct detection and characterization of viruses in wastewater and of viruses isolated after cell culture. “

Metagenomics / Bioinformatics

Analysis of the Relationship between Genomic GC Content and Patterns of Base Usage, Codon Usage and Amino Acid Usage in Prokaryotes: Similar GC Content Adopts Similar Compositional Frequencies Regardless of the Phylogenetic Lineages – Hui-Qi Zhou – PLOS ONE

“The GC contents of 2670 prokaryotic genomes that belong to diverse phylogenetic lineages were analyzed in this paper. “

Benchmarking Undedicated Cloud Computing Providers for Analysis of Genomic Datasets
Seyhan Yazar – PLOS ONE

“We benchmarked two established cloud computing services, Amazon Web Services Elastic MapReduce (EMR) on Amazon EC2 instances and Google Compute Engine (GCE), using publicly available genomic datasets”

SDT: A Virus Classification Tool Based on Pairwise Sequence Alignment and Identity Calculation – Brejnev Muhizi Muhire – PLOS ONE

“Here we present Sequence Demarcation Tool (SDT), …that aims to provide a robust and highly reproducible means of objectively using pairwise genetic identity calculations to classify any set of nucleotide or amino acid sequences.”

A two-stage statistical procedure for feature selection and comparison in functional analysis of metagenomes – Naruekamol Pookhao – Bioinformatics

“We propose a two-stage statistical procedure for selecting informative features and identifying differentially abundant features between two or more groups of microbial communities.”

FOAM (Functional Ontology Assignments for Metagenomes): a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) database with environmental focus – Emmanuel Prestat – Nucleic Acids Research

“A new functional gene database, FOAM (Functional Ontology Assignments for Metagenomes), was developed to screen environmental metagenomic sequence datasets. “

Microbes in the News

Soil Microbiome of Central Park – Jef Akst – The Scientist

“The soil of New York City’s Central Park is bursting with biodiversity spanning all three domains of life, according to a study published today”

Supporting the “Good” Gut Microbes – Anna Azvolinksy – The Scientist

“During systemic infection, mice kick-start the production of a specific sugar to feed and protect the beneficial bacteria in their guts while fighting pathogenic strains.”

Sweat-Eating Bacteria: Acne Miracle Cure? – Discovery News

“A new, small study has shown that applying a topical creme containing the bacteria leads to healthier skin and could be used to treat acne and promote healing in wounds.”

Women in Science

* Sexism in Science – sbhatnagar3 – Phylogenomics Blogspot

“Please don’t treat these seminars as a fashion show. It distracts the people away from your work”.”

Bik’s Picks

Behavior of bats at wind turbines – Paul. M. Cryan – PNAS USA

“Bats are dying in unprecedented numbers at wind turbines, but causes of their susceptibility are unknown. “

Flexible energetics of cheetah hunting strategies provide resistance against kleptoparasitism – David M. Scantlebury – Science

“We show that daily energy expenditure (DEE) of cheetahs was similar to size-based predictions and positively related to distance traveled.”

Previously unseen details of seafloor exposed in new map – Science Daily

“Twice as accurate as the previous version, the new map features a much more vivid picture of seafloor structures, including thousands of previously uncharted mountains.”

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General microbiology and science, August 26, 2014

Here, we have CRISPRs, phages, marine metagenomics, a universal bacterial/archaeal primer (The One?), single-cell genomics, light and bacteria, and Bik’s Picks.

Phages and CRISPRs

Abundant and Diverse Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat Spacers in Clostridium difficile Strains and Prophages Target Multiple Phage Types within This Pathogen – Katherine R. Hargreaves – mBio

“We detected multiple matches between spacers and regions in 31 C. difficile phage and prophage genomes”

Evolutionary consequences of intra-patient phage predation on microbial populations
Kimberley D Seed – eLife

“Here, we show that predatory interactions of a phage with an important environmentally transmitted pathogen, Vibrio cholerae, can modulate the evolutionary trajectory of this pathogen during the natural course of infection within individual patients.”

Metagenomics

* Marine metagenomics, a valuable tool for enzymes and bioactive compounds discovery
Rosalba Barone – Frontiers in Marine Science

“We report examples of several hydrolytic enzymes and natural products isolated by functional sequenced-based and function- screening strategies assisted by new high-throughput DNA sequencing technology and recent bioinformatics tools.”

Bioinformatics

Profile Hidden Markov Models for the Detection of Viruses within Metagenomic Sequence Data – Peter Skewes-Cox – PLOS ONE

“Here, we constructed HMMER3-compatible profile hidden Markov models (profile HMMs) from all the virally annotated proteins in RefSeq in an automated fashion using a custom-built bioinformatic pipeline. “

 

Techniques

I hope they developed two primers, not just one! Development of a Prokaryotic Universal Primer for Simultaneous Analysis of Bacteria and Archaea Using Next-Generation Sequencing – Shunsuke Takahashi – PLOS ONE

“Here, we designed a universal primer based on the V3-V4 hypervariable region of prokaryotic 16S rDNA for the simultaneous detection of Bacteria and Archaea in fecal samples from crossbred pigs (Landrace×Large white×Duroc) using an Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencer.”

A Quantitative Comparison of Single-Cell Whole Genome Amplification Methods – Charles F. A. de Bourcy – PLOS ONE

“Here, we compare three state-of-the-art methods on both bulk and single-cell samples of E. coli DNA: Multiple Displacement Amplification (MDA), Multiple Annealing and Looping Based Amplification Cycles (MALBAC), and the PicoPLEX single-cell WGA kit (NEB-WGA). “

This abstract is so vague, I am not sure where to file this under – A Robust and Adaptable High Throughput Screening Method to Study Host-Microbiota Interactions in the Human Intestine – Tomas de Wouters – PLOS ONE

“In this study, we developed a robust and reproducible methodology to combine these two biological systems for high throughput application”

LC Sciences and Norgen Biotek will be conducting a free informational webinar describing 16S rRNA Sequencing and presenting a few application examples.

“If you are interested in attending the webinar, simply reply to news@lcsciences.com and we would be happy to send the webinar details.”

More microbiology

The Immune System in Children with Malnutrition — A Systematic Review
Maren Johanne Heilskov Rytter – PLOS ONE

“A systematic literature search was done in PubMed, and additional articles identified in reference lists and by correspondence with experts in the field. “

Photodynamic Therapy Using Systemic Administration of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and a 410-nm Wavelength Light-Emitting Diode for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus-Infected Ulcers in Mice – Kuniyuki Morimoto – PLOS ONE

“5-aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy accelerated wound healing and decreased bacterial counts on ulcer surfaces; in contrast, vancomycin treatment did not accelerate wound healing.”

Light Scattering Sensor for Direct Identification of Colonies of Escherichia coli Serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145 and O157 – Yanjie Tang- PLOS ONE

“SMAC was chosen for exhaustive scatter image library development, and 36 additional strains of O157:H7 and 11 non-O157 serovars were examined, with each serogroup producing unique differential scatter patterns.”

Science and publishing

Protecting human research participants in the age of big data – Susan T. Fiskea, and Robert M. Hauser – PNAS USA

“IRB review does not apply to Facebook and other private enterprises, yet they generate data that can benefit humanity”

Bik’s Picks

Magpies don’t like shiny things – Sarah Zielinski – Science News

“Magpies deserve our apology. Apparently humans have been unnecessarily maligning the birds for centuries. “

Richard III ate like a king before biting the dust – Bruce Bower – Science News

“Well-known royal’s brief reign included a sudden shift to fancy food and drink”

What type of researcher are you? Take the Quiz – Roche Life Science

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Microbiome digest, August 15, 2014

Today we got donkey, goat, and camel milk, deodorants, kitten microbiomes, and coffee as a new mouth rinse.

Pregnancy and birth

Gut microbiota in preterm infants with gross blood in stools: A prospective, controlled study – Mohamed Ben Said – Early Human Development

“Each case was paired with two controls who were hospitalized in the same unit and were matched for gestational age and birth weight. The diversity of the gut microbiota was analyzed using 16S rRNA gene PCR and temporal temperature gel electrophoresis. “

Human oral microbiome

Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora aqueous extract – N. Meckelburg – Letters in Applied Microbiology

“This study revealed an inhibitory action of Coffea canephora against dental biofilm. This coffee species caused bacterial lysis and consequent release of calcium into the medium.”

Human gut microbiome

Review: Exploring gut microbes in Human health and disease: pushing the envelope
Jun Sun, Eugene B. Chang – Genes & Diseases

“In this review and commentary, we highlight recent progress in our understanding of the intestinal microbiome in the context of health and diseases, focusing on mechanistic concepts that underlie the complex relationships between host and microbes.”

Review: Emergence of fecal microbiota transplantation as an approach to repair disrupted microbial gut ecology – Alexander Khoruts, Alexa R. Weingarden – Immunology Letters

“Mechanistic understanding will be required in development of next generation microbiota therapeutics, which may include FMT or defined microbial consortia.”

Gut Bacteria May Play a Role in Autism – Melinda Wenner Moyer – Scientific American

“One open question is whether these microbial differences drive the development of the condition or are instead a consequence of it. “

Skin microbiome

Deodorants and antiperspirants affect the axillary bacterial community – Chris Callewaert — Archives of Dermatological Research

“The effect of deodorants and antiperspirants on the axillary bacterial community was examined on nine healthy subjects, who were restrained from using deodorant/antiperspirant for 1 month. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was used to investigate the individual microbial dynamics.”

Goat and Ass Milk microbiome

Analysis of raw goat milk microbiota: Impact of stage of lactation and lysozyme on microbial diversity – Elizabeth A. McInnis – Food Microbiology

“Milk from transgenic goats containing lysozyme had a similar microbiota over time.”

Fasscinating stuff: Cleopatra took daily baths in assmilk to keep her skin wrinklefree. Maybe lactic acid bacteria were her secret?  Biotyping of cultivable lactic acid bacteria isolated from donkey milk – D. Carminati – Letters in Applied Microbiology

“The large amounts of antimicrobial components and defence factors present in donkey’s milk provide protection from microbial infections and distinguish donkey’s milk from the milks of other mammals”

The Kitten Microbiome Project

“Keeping track of the cutest, fluffiest microbiome project around”

Insect microbiome

Microbial impacts on insect evolutionary diversification: From patterns to mechanisms
Fabrice Vavre, Natacha Kremer – Current Opinion in Insect Science

“Symbiosis can favor rapid shifts in host phenotypic traits, particularly through the contribution of symbionts to the host’s physiology.”

How resident microbes modulate ecologically-important traits of insects
Kerry M. Oliver, Adam J. Martinez – Current Opinion in Insect Science

“In addition to their better-known roles in nutrient provisioning and degrading plant polymers, there is emerging evidence that microorganisms also aid herbivores in countering plant defenses. “

Metabolomics

Building blocks for automated elucidation of metabolites: natural product-likeness for candidate ranking – Kalai Vanii Jayaseelan and Christoph Steinbeck – BMC Bioinformatics

“In this study, we investigated whether additional existing knowledge, such as the fact that the unknown compound is a natural product, can be used to improve the ranking of the correct structure in the result list after the structure elucidation process.”

Phages and viruses

Bacteriophage as effective decolonising agent for elimination of MRSA from anterior nares of BALB/c mice – Sanjay Chhibber – BMC Microbiology

“Phage MR-10, given along with mupirocin showed an additive effect and the combination was able to effectively eradicate the colonising MRSA population from the nares of mice by day 5.”

Crystal structure of a CRISPR RNA-guided surveillance complex bound to a ssDNA target – Sabin Mulepati, Annie Héroux, Scott Bailey – Science

“The structure reveals that the CRISPR RNA and target strands do not form a double helix but instead adopt an underwound ribbon-like structure. “

Bik’s Picks – weekend edition

15 Real-Life Scientists Share Their Favorite Science Fiction Books, Movies – Jacqueline Howard – Huffington Post

“There’s a big difference between science and science fiction, but there’s abundant evidence to suggest that sci-fi books and movies can spark a lifelong interest in science.”

After donkey and goat milk, this one was only appropriate: A Nice Tall Glass of Camel’s Milk – Olga Khazan – The Atlantic

“An oasis in the dromedary-dairy desert?”

Male Mathematicians Agree That Fields Medal Gender Balance Is Now OK – The Allium

“Now that a woman has won the fields medal, there is true and genuine equality and there is no need to worry any more about it.”

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Microbiome digest, July 30

Host diet, sex, and the microbiome, smoking cessation, eukaryotic microbes, CRISPRs and my picks.

Gut microbiome

Individual diet has sex-dependent effects on vertebrate gut microbiota – Daniel I. Bolnick – Nature Communications

“Here we show that gut microbiota composition depends on interactions between host diet and sex within populations of wild and laboratory fish, laboratory mice and humans. “

Smoking Cessation Alters Intestinal Microbiota: Insights from Quantitative Investigations on Human Fecal Samples Using FISH – Biedermann L – Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

“As determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization, an independent direct quantitative microbial approach, we could confirm that intestinal microbiota composition in humans is influenced by smoking.”

More microbiology

Diversity of diversity: conceptual and methodological differences in biodiversity estimates of eukaryotic microbes as compared to bacteria – Jean-David Grattepanche – Trends in Microbiology

“High-throughput sequencing tools underestimate the diversity of eukaryotes by removing morphospecies.”

Microbes in the news

A Trip Overseas Could Change The Bugs Living In Your Gut – Bahar Gholipour – Huntington Post

“I was amazed to see how profoundly a single food poisoning event impacted the gut bacteria,” David, who was a researcher at Harvard University at the time of the study, said in a statement.

Researcher Using Next-Generation Sequencing, Other New Methods to Rapidly Identify Pathogens – Joe Montgomery – Kansas State University News Office – Labmanager.com

“Benjamin Hause, an assistant research professor at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Kansas State University, recently published an article about one of his discoveries, porcine enterovirus G, which is an important find in the United States.”

Antibiotics and resistance

Perturbation of Iron Homeostasis Promotes the Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance – Orsolya Méhi – Molecular Biology and Evolution

“To decipher the underlying molecular mechanisms, we first performed a global transcriptome analysis and demonstrated that the set of genes regulated by Fur change substantially in response to antibiotic treatment. “

Phages, viruses, and CRISPRs

Adaptation in bacterial CRISPR-Cas immunity can be driven by defective phages – Alexander P. Hynes – Nature Communications

“Here we demonstrate that cells can acquire spacers from defective phages at a rate directly proportional to the quantity of replication-deficient phages to which the cells are exposed.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Contamination hits cell work: Mycoplasma infestations are widespread and costing laboratories millions of dollars in lost research – Ewen Callaway – Nature

“A total of 11% of the samples were found to contain Mycoplasma DNA at levels indicative of contamination.”

Five daily portions of fruit and vegetables may be enough to lower risk of early death – Science Daily

“Eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, particularly from cardiovascular disease, but beyond five portions appears to have no further effect, finds a new study.”

Lands’ End Announces Science-Themed Tees For Girls After Mom’s Letter Goes Viral – Jessica Samakow – The Huffington Post

My daughter was very confused. Lots of her friends that are girls love science, too. Why were there no cool science shirts for girls?”

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General microbiology and science, July 15

Dengue virus replication, poliovirus transmission, marine viral communities, primer choice, and CRISPRs systems and antibiotic resistance.

Dengue virus

Letter: Are viral small RNA regulating Dengue virus replication beyond serotype 2? – Esteban Finol – PNAS

Letter: Reply to Finol: Viral small RNA from Dengue virus and its egulatory role in different serotypes – Mazhar Hussain and Sassan Asgari – PNAS

Poliovirus

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.00PM, Jul 15The role of older children and adults in wild poliovirus transmission – Isobel M. Blake – PNAS

“We fit a mathematical model of poliovirus transmission to time series data from two large outbreaks that affected adults (Tajikistan 2010, Republic of Congo 2010) using maximum-likelihood estimation based on iterated particle-filtering methods. “

Phages and viruses

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.01PM, Jul 15Modeling ecological drivers in marine viral communities using comparative metagenomics and network analyses – Bonnie L. Hurwitz – PNAS

“Here we combine advances in bioinformatics (shared k-mer analyses) and social networking (regression modeling) to develop an annotation- and assembly-free visualization and analytical strategy for comparative metagenomics that uses all the data in a unified statistical framework. “

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.02PM, Jul 15Contrasted coevolutionary dynamics between a bacterial pathogen and its bacteriophages – Alex Betts – PNAS

“We used experimental evolution between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and a panel of its lytic phages and found the full known range of coevolutionary dynamics.”

CRISPRs and antibiotic resistance

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.03PM, Jul 15A CRISPR-Cas system enhances envelope integrity mediating antibiotic resistance and inflammasome evasion – Timothy R. Sampson – PNAS

“We demonstrate that components of a clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats–CRISPR associated (CRISPR-Cas) system, a prokaryotic defense against viruses and foreign nucleic acid, act to regulate the permeability of the bacterial envelope, ultimately providing these cells with the capability to resist membrane damage caused by antibiotics. “

Extraction and amplification techniques

The Influence of DNA Extraction Procedure and Primer Set on the Bacterial Community Analysis by Pyrosequencing of Barcoded 16S rRNA Gene Amplicons – Ingo C. Starke – Molecular Biology International

“In this study, the effect of different DNA extraction procedures and primer sets on pyrosequencing results regarding the composition of bacterial communities in the ileum of piglets was investigated. “

Metagenomics general

Interpreting 16S metagenomic data without clustering to achieve sub-OTU resolution – Mikhail Tikhonov – ISME Journal

“We present a clustering-free approach to multi-sample Illumina data sets that can identify independent bacterial subpopulations regardless of the similarity of their 16S tag sequences. “

 

General Microbiology

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.04PM, Jul 15Recovery of a Medieval Brucella melitensis Genome Using Shotgun Metagenomics – Gemma L. Kay – mBio

“We sequenced the metagenome of a calcified nodule from the skeleton of a 14th-century middle-aged male excavated from the medieval Sardinian settlement of Geridu. We obtained 6.5-fold coverage of a Brucella melitensis genome”

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.05PM, Jul 15Review: The Ins and Outs of Bacterial Iron Metabolism – Elaine R. Frawley and Ferric C. Fang – Molecular Microbiology

“The recent discovery of putative iron efflux transporters in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is discussed in the context of cellular iron homeostasis.”

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.05PM, Jul 15 1Genetic information transfer promotes cooperation in bacteria – Tatiana Dimitriu – PNAS

“Our experiments and models converge to show that when both cheating and cooperative genes are transferred, cooperators win against cheaters because transfer increases assortment among alleles, favoring cooperation.”

Challenges and Opportunities of Integrative Taxonomy for Research and Society – Taxonomic Research in the Era of OMICS Technologies (PDF)  (Herausforderungen und Chancen der integrativen Taxonomie für Forschung und Gesellschaft) – Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina e.V.

Microbiomes and metagenomes in need of professional classification – Rudolf Amann
The intestinal microbiome and human health: a new challenge for taxonomy of metagenomic data – Bärbel Stecher
Characterizing species boundaries and species histories in closely related fungi using comparative population genomic approaches – Eva H. Stukenbrock

Coming of ageThe coming of age of microbial ecology – Ana E. Escalante and Silvia Pajares – Chapter in Open Access book: Frontiers in Ecology, Evolution and Complexity

“Despite major challenges, new technological advances in genomic sciences have prompted microbial ecology into a revolution in data generation that has allowed us to move beyond studies of single isolates to the study of entire microbial communities without reliance on culture-dependent methods.”

Review: The Dynamic Interactions between Salmonella and the Microbiota, within the Challenging Niche of the Gastrointestinal Tract – C. M. Anjam Khan – International Scholarly Research Notices

“This gastrointestinal pathogen not only faces the hostile defenses of the host’s immune system, but also faces fierce competition from the large and diverse community of microbiota for space and nutrients.”

 

Science and publishing

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 05.59PM, Jul 15Is Social Media Saving Science? – Michael White – Pacific Standard

“Why do editors and expert reviewers, whose primary job is to vet manuscripts, miss major flaws that are so obvious to readers after the papers are published?”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.07PM, Jul 15Effect of sleep deprivation on the human metabolome – Sarah K. Davies – PNAS

“Clear daily rhythms were observed in most metabolites, with 24 h wakefulness mainly reducing the amplitude of these rhythms.”

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.06PM, Jul 15Comparison of five different RNA sources to examine the lactating bovine mammary gland transcriptome using RNA-Sequencing – Angela Cánovas – Nature Scientific Reports

“Our results provide a comparison between different sampling methods (invasive and non-invasive) to define the transcriptome of mammary gland tissue and milk cells.’

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 06.07PM, Jul 15 1Superior time perception for lower musical pitch explains why bass-ranged instruments lay down musical rhythms – Michael J. Hove – PNAS

“Here, we show that, when two streams of tones are presented simultaneously, the brain better detects timing deviations in the lower-pitched than in the higher-pitched stream and that tapping synchronization to the tones is more influenced by the lower-pitched stream. “

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