General microbiome and science, June 30

Monday is always a busy day, so lots of papers today. Phages, CRISPRs, antibiotic resistance, probiotics, archaea, biofilms and a Goldilocks planet.

Antibiotics and resistance

Horizontal gene transfer in the human gastrointestinal tract: potential spread of antibiotic resistance genes – JR Huddleston – Infection and Drug Resistance

“This review aims to give an overview of the major horizontal transfer mechanisms and their evolution and then demonstrate the human lower gastrointestinal tract as an environment in which horizontal gene transfer of resistance determinants occurs.”

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.47PM, Jun 30Bacterial persisters: formation, eradication, and experimental systems
Sophie Helaine, Elisabeth Kugelberg – Trends in Microbiology

“Toxin–antitoxin (TA) modules have an important role in the formation of persisters and several studies show that they can form in response to different triggers.”

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.48PM, Jun 30Antibiotic Treatment Suppresses Rotavirus Infection and Enhances Specific Humoral Immunity – Robin Uchiyama – Journal of Infectious Diseases

“Microbiota ablation resulted in reduced rotavirus infection/diarrhea and a more durable rotavirus antibody response, suggesting that antibiotic administration before rotavirus vaccination could raise low seroconversion rates that correlate with the vaccine’s inefficacy in developing regions.”

And:  Antibiotics Help Control Rotavirus Infections and Enhance Antirotaviral Immunity: Are You Serious? – Luther A. Bartelt and Richard L. Guerrant – Journal of Infectious Diseases

“Yes, we must understand intriguing new findings; but no, we are far from serious about widespread use of antimicrobials with routine immunizations.”

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.44PM, Jun 30Transferrin Iron Starvation Therapy for Lethal Bacterial and Fungal Infections – Lin Lin – Journal of Infectious Diseases

“These results provide proof of principle that bacterial infections can be treated in vivo by attacking host targets (ie, trace metal availability) rather than microbial targets.”

Bacterial detection in blood and other sites

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.45PM, Jun 30Identification of pathogens from blood culture bottles in spiked and clinical samples using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass-spectrometry analysis – Simone Konnerth – BMC Research Notes

“MALDI-TOF MS using the SARAMIS database was applied to 37 spiked blood culture samples. Identification rates of spiked samples were as follows: The species level was determined in 16 of 21 (76.2%) Gram negative bacteria and in 11 of 13 (84.6%) Gram positive bacteria. “

Infection and host response

Type I and III Interferon Production in Response to RNA Viruses – Elizabeth Reid and Bryan Charleston – Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research

“There are now many examples of RNA viruses inducing type I and type III IFNs, and although these IFNs act through different receptors, in many systems studied, they induce a similar spectrum of genes. “

CRISPRs

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.50PM, Jun 30Review: Adapting to new threats: the generation of memory by CRISPR-Cas immune systems – Robert Heler – Molecular Microbiology

“Recent studies have begun to elucidate the genetic requirements for adaptation and have demonstrated that rather than being a stochastic process, the selection of new spacers is influenced by several factors. We review here our current knowledge of the CRISPR adaptation mechanism”

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.53PM, Jun 30The three major types of CRISPR-Cas systems function independently in CRISPR RNA biogenesis in Streptococcus thermophilus – Jason Carte – Molecular Microbiology

“Our findings indicate that multiple CRISPR-Cas systems can function independently in crRNA biogenesis within a given organism – an important consideration in engineering coexisting CRISPR-Cas pathways”

Viruses and phages

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.53PM, Jun 30Exploiting gut bacteriophages for human health – Marion Dalmasso – Trends in Microbiology

“We emphasise the complexity and individuality of the phageome, and the link to the health state of the host. We highlight the practical applications of bacteriophages in medicine and in the food chain.”

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.52PM, Jun 30Environmental bacteriophages : viruses of microbes in aquatic ecosystems – Télesphore Sime – Ngando – Frontiers in Microbiology

“The present chapter sought to review the literature on the diversity and functional roles of viruses of microbes in environmental microbiology, focusing primarily on prokaryotic viruses (i.e. phages) in aquatic ecosystems, which form the bulk of our knowledge in modern environmental viral ecology.”

Archaea

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.55PM, Jun 30Taxonomic database and cut-off value for processing mcrA gene 454 pyrosequencing data by MOTHUR – Sizhong Yang – Journal of Microbiological Methods

“The functional mcrA gene of methanogens can generate phylogeny as congruent as the 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. “

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.59PM, Jun 30Biofilm formation of mucosa-associated methanoarchaeal strains
Corinna Bang – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Here, the ability of three methanoarchaeal strains, Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosphaera stadtmanae, which form part of the human gut microbiota, and the Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 to grow on different surfaces and form biofilms was investigated.”

Biofilms (see also Archaea above and Probiotics below)

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 07.02PM, Jun 30Development of an in vitro periodontal biofilm model for assessing antimicrobial and host modulatory effects of bioactive molecules
Emma Millhouse – BMC Oral Health

Multi-species biofilms were either treated with either molecule, or alternatively epithelial cells were treated with these prior to biofilm co-culture. Biofilm composition was evaluated and inflammatory responses quantified at a transcriptional and protein level.

Probiotics

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.43PM, Jun 30Review: Enumeration of probiotic strains: Review of culture-dependent and alternative techniques to quantify viable bacteria – Catherine Davis – Journal of Microbiological Methods

“Consensus on an operational definition of viability and systematic efforts to validate these alternative techniques ultimately will strengthen the accuracy and reliability of probiotic strain enumeration.”

Inhibitory effect of Lactobacillus salivarius on Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation
Chien-Chen Wu – Molecular Oral Microbiology

“We analyzed 64 L. salivarius strains and found that two, K35 and K43, significantly inhibited S. mutans biofilm formation with inhibitory activities more pronounced than those of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), a prototypical probiotic that shows anti-caries activity.

General taxonomy and phylogeny

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 07.04PM, Jun 30Considering external information to improve the phylogenetic comparison of microbial communities: a new approach based on constrained Double Principal Coordinates Analysis (cDPCoA) – S Dray – Molecular Ecology Resources

“In this work, we extend DPCoA to integrate the information of external variables measured on communities. The constrained Double Principal Coordinates Analysis (cDPCoA) is able to enforce a priori classifications to retrieve subtle differences and(or) remove the effect of confounding factors. “

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.43PM, Jun 30Understanding molecular identification and polyphasic taxonomic approaches for genetic relatedness and phylogenetic relationships of microorganisms – Surajit Das – Journal of Microbiological Methods

“In this regard, a polyphasic taxonomic approach is advantageous because it exploits simultaneously both conventional as well as molecular identification techniques.”

Metabolomics

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 07.01PM, Jun 30Nutrient sharing in the microbial world – Erica C. Seth and Michiko E. Taga – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Cofactor cross-feeding can contribute to both the health and nutrition of a host organism, the virulence and persistence of pathogens, and the composition and function of environmental communities. “

Metagenomics

Combination of Metagenomics and Culture Based Methods to Study the Interaction Between Ochratoxin A and Gut Microbiota – Mingzhang Guo – Toxicological Sciences

“Changes in functional genes of gut microbiota including signal transduction, carbohydrate transport, transposase, amino acid transport system and mismatch repair were observed.”

Chromosomal organization

NuChart-II: a graph-based approach for the analysis and interpretation of Hi-C data (PDF) – Fabio Tordini – Proceedings of the CIBB 2014

“NuChart-II is a highly optimized implementation of a previous prototype package developed in R, in which the graph-based representation of Hi-C data was tested, but that also showed inevitable problems of scalability while working genome-wide on large datasets.”

Science and education

Screen shot 2014-06-30 at 06.58PM, Jun 30Starting small: using microbiology to foster scientific literacy
Amy F. Savage, Brooke A. Jude – Trends in Microbiology

“In order to achieve scientific literacy for all students, Bard College recently implemented Citizen Science, a common January course for all first-year students. Structured around the question ‘how do we reduce the global burden of disease?’, this course uses microbiological tools to develop an understanding of potential answers.”

 

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.06.17 AMBird brains: Public asked to look out for clever rooks – Victoria Gill – BBC News

“The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is asking the public to take part in a national survey of bird intelligence. From 1 July, the charity is asking people to submit video clips or descriptions of the behaviour or rooks – some of our cleverest garden birds.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.06.52 AMPotentially habitable Earth-like planet discovered; May have similar temperatures to our planet – Science Daily

“A potentially habitable Earth-like planet that is only 16 light years away has been discovered. The “super-Earth” planet, GJ 832 c, takes 16 days to orbit its red-dwarf star, GJ 832, and has a mass at least five times that of Earth.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.07.35 AMStudy Implicates Smog In Autism And Schizophrenia – Science 2.0

“A recent paper found that exposure to air pollution early in life produces harmful changes in the brains of mice, including an enlargement of part of the brain that is seen in humans who have autism and schizophrenia, and that led them to conclude that smog causes autism.”

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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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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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General microbiology and science, June 10

Transcription in 12 different human tissues, bacteria in arterial plaques, and hairs with anticancer activity.

Infection and Host Response

Genome wideGenome-wide survey of tissue-specific microRNA and transcription factor regulatory networks in 12 tissues – Zhiyun Guo – Nature Scientific Reports

“Finally, we describe TSmiR (http://bioeng.swjtu.edu.cn/TSmiR), a novel and web-searchable database that houses interaction maps of TF-TS miRNA in 12 tissues.”

IntracellularIntracellular Bacteria Interfere with Dendritic Cell Functions: Role of the Type I Interferon Pathway – Laurent Gorvel – PLOS ONE

To analyze the mechanisms used by C. burnetiiand B. abortus to alter moDC activation, we performed microarray and found that C. burnetiiand B. abortus induced a specific signature consisting of TLR4TLR3STAT1 and interferon response genes.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 9.55.25 PMBacteria Present in Carotid Arterial Plaques Are Found as Biofilm Deposits Which May Contribute to Enhanced Risk of Plaque Rupture – Bernard B. Lanter – mBio

“In the current work, atherosclerotic carotid artery explants from 15 patients were all shown to test positive for the presence of eubacterial 16S rRNA genes”

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.01.00 PMRNA-seq: Impact of RNA degradation on transcript quantification – Irene Gallego Romero – BMC Biology

“We sought to quantify the impact of variation in RNA quality on estimates of gene expression levels based on RNA-seq data.”

Dengue virus

DengueSpatiotemporal Dynamics of DENV-2 Asian-American Genotype Lineages in the Americas – Daiana Mir – PLOS ONE

“Our study reveals that genetic diversity of DENV-2 AS/AM genotype circulating in the Americas mainly resulted from one single founder event and can be organized in at least four major lineages”

Phages, viruses, CRISPRs

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 9.53.22 PMCasposons: a new superfamily of self-synthesizing DNA transposons at the origin of prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas immunity – Mart Krupovic – BMC Biology

“We describe a new superfamily of archaeal and bacterial mobile elements which we denote casposons because they encode Cas1 endonuclease, a key enzyme of the CRISPR-Cas adaptive immunity systems of archaea and bacteria. “

Dr. Bik’s Picks

GeckoHow do geckos climb? – Ann Le Good – BioMedCentral

“The answer, from the recent Royal Society conference on cell adhesion, is that their climbing mechanism depends on van der Waals forces (as well as friction and shear stress). “

This one is intriguing:
AnticancerAnticancer Properties of Peptide Fragments of Hair Proteins – Sergiusz Markowicz – PLOS ONE

“We found out that the mixtures of soluble peptides obtained from human hair inhibited the proliferation of human melanoma cells in vitro. Moreover, the hair-derived peptide mixtures also inhibited the proliferation of B lymphoma cells and urinary bladder cancer cells. “

EarthEarth is around 60 million years older than previously thought — and so is the moon, new research finds – Science Daily

The timing of the giant impact between Earth’s ancestor and a planet-sized body occurred around 40 million years after the start of solar system formation. This means that the final stage of Earth’s formation is around 60 million years older than previously thought, according to new research.”

 

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