Microbiome digest, September 25, 2014

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Asbestos and microbiome, human gut microbiome during a long stay in the hospital, gut microbiome of 15 mammals, Wolbachia in insects, microbiome of plant roots, and eukaryotes in Norwegian waters.

Human respiratory microbiome

Airways microbiota: Hidden Trojan horses in asbestos exposed individuals? – Dimitrios E. Magouliotis – Medical Hypotheses

“Here, we propose and discuss that certain proteins secreted by airways symbiotic microbiota create membrane pores to the airway epithelial cells, through which asbestos fibers can penetrate the lung parenchyma and reach the sub-pleural areas.”

Human gut microbiome

Membership and Behavior of Ultra-Low-Diversity Pathogen Communities Present in the Gut of Humans during Prolonged Critical Illness – Alexander Zaborin – mBio

“We analyzed the 16S rRNA amplicon composition in fecal samples of selected patients during their prolonged stay in an intensive care unit (ICU) and observed the emergence of ultra-low-diversity communities (1 to 4 bacterial taxa) in 30% of the patients.”

Mammal microbiome

Convergence of gut microbiomes in myrmecophagous mammals – Frederic Delsuc – Molecular Ecology

“Here, we expand upon previous mammalian gut microbiome studies … to characterize the composition of gut microbiota in 15 species representing all placental myrmecophagous lineages and their close relatives from zoo- and field-collected samples.

Insect microbiome

Symbionts Commonly Provide Broad Spectrum Resistance to Viruses in Insects: A Comparative Analysis of Wolbachia Strains – Julien Martinez – PLOS Pathogens

“We have investigated antiviral protection in 19 Wolbachia strains originating from 16 Drosophila species after transfer into the same genotype of Drosophila simulans. “

Plant microbiome

Niche and host-associated functional signatures of the root surface microbiome – Maya Ofek-Lalzar – Nature Communications

“Metagenomic (genetic potential) analysis identifies a core set of functional genes associated with root colonization in both plant hosts, and metatranscriptomic (functional expression) analysis revealed that most genes enriched in the root zones are expressed. “

Water microbiome

Deep-branching Novel Lineages and High Diversity of Haptophytes in the Skagerrak (Norway) Uncovered by 454 Pyrosequencing – Elianne S. Egge – Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology

“Nano- and picoplanktonic subsurface samples were collected monthly for 2 yr, and the haptophytes were targeted by amplification of RNA/cDNA with Haptophyta-specific 18S ribosomal DNA V4 primers. “

Microbes in the news

Intensive Loss of Gut Bacteria Diversity – Molly Sharlach – The Scientist

In a study published today (September 23) in mBio, researchers also fed ICU patients’ “ultra-low-diversity” gut microbes to C. elegans roundworms.

How Termites Evolved to Decompose Plant Matter: Gut Bacteria and Fungus – Catherine Griffin – Science World Report

“In order to better understand this interaction, the researchers analyzed plant decomposition genes in the first genome sequencing of a fungus-farming termite and its fungal crop, and bacterial gut communities.”

Science and Career

Scientists Are Not Trusted By Americans – Here’s Why – Science 2.0

“A paper in PNAS finds that Americans seem wary of researchers because they get grant funding and do not trust scientists pushing political and cultural agendas. “

Read The Nasty Comments Women In Science Deal With Daily – Macrina Cooper-White – Huffington Post

“Every day you’re faced with some comment, some snide remark, some inability to get a name on a research paper. “

Bik’s Picks

Water on Earth is older than the sun, scientists say – Deborah Netburn – Los Angeles Times

“Some of the water molecules in your drinking glass were created more than 4.5 billion years ago, according to new research.”

Science Graphic of the Week: Three Ways to Visualize Our Melting Northern Ice Cap – Nick Stockton – Wired.com

“These three visualizations, by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, illustrate this steadily unfolding situation, which has nightmarish implications..“

Healthy food might be bad for patients – here’s why – Amanda Squire – The Conversation

“The truth is that healthy food as we think of it may not be what patients really need.”

Brazil releases ‘good’ mosquitoes to fight dengue fever – BBC News

“Brazilian researchers in Rio de Janeiro have released thousands of mosquitoes infected with bacteria that suppress dengue fever.”

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General microbiology and science

Some new bioinformatic tools,  dengue response and vaccines, and host response and transcriptomics.

Host response and gene expression

Single-cell RNA-seq: advances and future challenges – Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba – Nucleic Acids Research

“Different single-cell RNA-seq protocols have been introduced and are reviewed here—each one with its own strengths and current limitations.”

Corset: enabling differential gene expression analysis for de novo assembled transcriptomes – Nadia M Davidson and Alicia Oshlack – Genome Biology

“Here we present Corset, a method that hierarchically clusters contigs using shared reads and expression, then summarizes read counts to clusters, ready for statistical testing. Using a range of metrics, we demonstrate that Corset out-performs alternative methods.”

Bioinformatics

Suffix tree searcher: exploration of common substrings in large DNA sequence sets
David Minkley – BMC Research Notes

“The program accommodates very large numbers of very large sequences, with aggregate size reaching tens of billions of nucleotides. The program makes use of pre-sorted persistent “building blocks” to reduce the time required to construct new trees.”

SnipViz: a compact and lightweight web site widget for display and dissemination of multiple versions of gene and protein sequences – Daniel Jaschob – BMC Research Notes

“SnipViz is a client-side software tool designed to disseminate multiple versions of related gene and protein sequences on web sites. SnipViz has a space-efficient, interactive, and dynamic interface for navigating, analyzing and visualizing sequence data.”

Dengue

 

Dengue vaccine trial poses public health quandary – Dennis Normile – Science

 

“The vaccine, developed by Sanofi Pasteur, proved safe, had an overall efficacy rate of 56.5%, and reduced cases of severe disease by 88.5%. But it had limited efficacy against dengue 2, one of four dengue virus serotypes in circulation.”

Predictors of hospital stay and mortality in dengue virus infection-experience from Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan – Muhammad Abdul Khalil – BMC Research Notes

“Increasing age, coagulopathy and acute kidney injury in patients with DVI is associated with increased hospital stay.”

 

 

Science and publishing

A crisis of trust – Pubpeer

“As PubPeer developed, and especially once we enabled anonymous posting, we were shocked at the number of comments pointing out much more fundamental problems in papers, involving very questionable research practices and rather obvious misconduct. “

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Note to Science: The GOP’s Just Not That That Into You – Jeffrey Kluger – Time

“If the Speaker, by his own admission, isn’t qualified to debate climate change, fine, he’s excused from the conversation—and he should be expected not to offer further opinion on the matter. “

The first Science Hack Day in China – Ariel Waldman – BoingBoing

“Over the course of the weekend in a Shanghai incubator space, kids, parents, scientists, artists and technologists joined forces to play with science and prototype ideas. “

Exclusive: Naked Mole Rat Filled With Regret Over Evolutionary Choices – The Allium

“In an exclusive interview with The Allium, the Naked Mole Rat has revealed its regret at some of the evolutionary choices it has made, in particular the whole nakedness and the teeth.”

 

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Microbiome digest, July 23

Just one post today. Invading oral bacteria found in liver cirrhosis patients guts, obesity, biofilms and dispersal, motile and electric bacteria, dengue, and Weird Al Yankovic.

General microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.12.37 PMRadio show: City Visions: Exploring the Human Microbiome

“City Visions host David Onek explores these questions and more with Bay Area leading researchers Katie Pollard of the Gladstone Institutes, Susan Lynch of UCSF, and Peter diLaura of Second Genome.”

Human gut microbiome

Nan Qin Nature GutAlterations of the human gut microbiome in liver cirrhosis – Nan Qin – Nature

“Here we characterize the gut microbiome in liver cirrhosis by comparing 98 patients and 83 healthy control individuals… Most (54%) of the patient-enriched, taxonomically assigned species are of buccal origin, suggesting an invasion of the gut from the mouth in liver cirrhosis. “

Lancet DiabetesObesity, inflammation, and the gut microbiota – Amanda J Cox – The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

“In this Review, we provide evidence supporting perturbation of the intestinal microbiota and changes in intestinal permeability as potential triggers of inflammation in obesity.”

ParasitesOpinion: (Self-) infections with parasites: re-interpretations for the present
Julius Lukeš – Trends in Parasitology

“Here, we critically review cases in which humans were deliberately infected with parasites. Moreover, we summarize the contribution of (self-) infections and propose protist and helminth candidates, chosen on the basis of several criteria, to test as possible therapy for selected human diseases.”

General Microbiology

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.14.29 PMDispersed cells represent a distinct stage in the transition from bacterial biofilm to planktonic lifestyles – Song Lin Chua – Nature Communications

“Here we use single-nucleotide resolution transcriptomic analysis to show that the physiology of dispersed cells from Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms is highly different from those of planktonic and biofilm cells. “

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.15.00 PMBrownian motion? – Bacteria swim with bodies and flagella – Kevin Stacey – Brown University

“Using a new technique to track the swimming motion of a single bacterium, researchers have discovered that the movement of the bacterium’s body — not just thrust from the flagellum — allow movement through fluids.”

NewScientistBacteria that don’t need to eat: Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy – Catherine Brahic – New Scientist

“Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. “

NatureCell communication: Stop the microbial chatter – Vivien Marx – Nature

“Bacteria can coat everything from thermal springs to teeth. Researchers are looking for antibiotics that can subvert the signalling that the microbes use to carve their niche.”

Dengue

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.19.32 PMSafety, immunogenicity and efficacy of a recombinant tetravalent dengue vaccine: A meta-analysis of randomized trials – Vivaldo G. da Costa – Vaccine

“..we conducted a meta-analysis to determine a more precise estimate of the overall parameters of safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of CYD-TDV. A data search was conducted in the PubMed, Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and SciELO databases with defined selection criteria.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.19.57 PMKinome siRNA screen identifies novel cell-type specific dengue host target genes – Yong-Jun Kwon – Antiviral Research

“To identify novel human host cell targets important for dengue virus infection and replication, an image-based high-throughput siRNA assay screening of a human kinome siRNA library was conducted using human hepatocyte cell line Huh7 infected with a recent dengue serotype 2 virus isolate BR DEN2 01-01.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Bat polarizationA functional role of the sky’s polarization pattern for orientation in the greater mouse-eared bat – Stefan Greif – Nature Communications

“Here we demonstrate that the female greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) uses polarization cues at sunset to calibrate a magnetic compass, which is subsequently used for orientation during a homing experiment. “

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.20.54 PMScience and politics: Hello, Governor – Virginia Gewin – Nature

“When California’s governor enlisted the aid of two palaeoecologists, their careers took an unusual turn.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 7.21.49 PMYouTube distraction: Foil – Weird Al Yankovic music video

“fungal rot, bacterial formation, microbes, enzymes, mould and oxidation”

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General microbiology and science, July 18

Talking to bacteria to make them feel more comfortable (Bacteria whisperers!), probiotics, viruses vs. helminths, and women in Science.

Phages, viruses, helminths

Virus-helminth coinfection reveals a microbiota-independent mechanism of immunomodulation – Lisa C. Osborne – Science

“Helminth coinfection resulted in impaired antiviral immunity and was associated with changes in the microbiota and STAT6-dependent helminth-induced alternative activation of macrophages.”

Probiotics

Lactobacillus rhamnosus L34 and Lactobacillus casei L39 suppress Clostridium difficile-induced IL-8 production by colonic epithelial cells – Prapaporn Boonma – BMC Microbiology

“We screened Lactobacillus conditioned media from 34 infant fecal isolates for the ability to suppress C. difficile-induced IL-8 production from HT-29 cells. Factors produced by two vancomycin-resistant lactobacilli, L. rhamnosus L34 (LR-L34) and L.casei L39 (LC-L39), suppressed the secretion and transcription of IL-8 without inhibiting C. difficile viability or toxin production. “

Cross-talk between probiotic lactobacilli and host immune system – T.S. Kemgang – Journal of Applied Microbiology

“This review summarizes the interplay existing between the host immune system and probiotic lactobacilli, that is, with emphasis on lactobacilli as a prototype probiotic genus.”

General microbiology

Talking to bacteria? Towards light-mediated sensing of bacterial comfort – G. Zafrilla – Letters in Applied Microbiology

“The framework is to convert the human voice into electric pulses, these into light pulses exciting bacterial fluorescent proteins, and convert light-emission back into electric pulses, which will be finally transformed into synthetic voice messages.”

Bacteria in the news

More Forgotten Virus, Bacteria Vials Found at Federal Lab – Newsplex.com

“Food and Drug Administration officials said Wednesday the undocumented collection contained 327 carefully packaged vials, listing pathogens like dengue, influenza and rickettsia.”

1 weird tip to not die of smallpox – Beth Skwarecki – PLOS Blogs

Jenner then attempted to infect the child with smallpox twenty more times in his life. Fortunately for the kid, the vaccine had worked.”

Women in Science

Science Has a Gender Problem. Science Just Made It Worse – Katy Waldman – Slate

“Transgender sex workers should not be expected to thank Science for “raising awareness” of them as erotic objects, jokes, or disease vectors. “

Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault – Kathryn B. H. Clancy – PLOS ONE

“Little is known about the climate of the scientific fieldwork setting as it relates to gendered experiences, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. We conducted an internet-based survey of field scientists (N = 666) to characterize these experiences. “

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Long read: One of a kind: What do you do if your child has a condition that is new to science? – Seth Mnookin – The New Yorker

“At first, they said, he seemed to represent a challenging problem for each new specialist to solve. But, as one conjecture after another was proved wrong, the specialists lost interest; many then insisted that the cause of Bertrand’s illness lay in someone else’s area of expertise. “

Introduction to special issue: Slicing the wheat genome – Kellye Eversole – Science

“Together, these Research Articles explore multiple dimensions of the 17-gigabase wheat genome and pave the way toward achieving a full reference sequence to underpin wheat research and breeding”

 

Earth-like soils on Mars? Ancient fossilized soils potentially found deep inside impact crater suggest microbial life – Science Daily

“Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says a geologist based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.”

How Colors Smell – Julie Beck – The Atlantic

“But what color is the smell of, say, soap? A new study published in PLOS One finds that some people say white, some say yellow, some say blue. “

Suspects in science museum’s dinosaur heist turn themselves in – Andrew Kenney – Charlotte Observer

“A man and woman, both 21, turned themselves over to N.C. State Capitol Police on Thursday in the case of the missing model dinosaur.”

 

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Microbiome and general science digest, July 11

Most recent results from American gut, a metagenomics pipeline, arsenic toxicity, polio and dengue vaccines, and pregnancy urine metabolomics to predict preterm birth.

Human gut microbiome

American GutAmerican Gut releases latest results and pipeline – Jeff Leach – American Gut

“The latest American Gut results are out and we’re very excited to share them with the American Gut community. We now have sequencing and analysis data from 3,238 participants, and as of today, this data equates to 101 million DNA sequences and 27 gigabytes of sequencing information.”

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 04.27PM, Jul 11Place of upbringing in early childhood as related to inflammatory bowel diseases in adulthood: a population-based cohort study in Northern Europe – Signe Timm – European Journal of Epidemiology

“This study suggests a protective effect from livestock farm living in early childhood on the occurrence of IBD in adulthood, however only among subjects born after 1952. We speculate that lower microbial diversity is an explanation for the findings.”

Pregnancy and birth

Urinary pretermUrinary metabolic profiles in early pregnancy are associated with preterm birth and fetal growth restriction in the Rhea mother–child cohort study – Léa Maitre – BMC Medicine

“Here we used an exploratory metabolic profiling approach (metabolomics) to investigate the association between birth outcomes and metabolites in maternal urine collected early in pregnancy as part of the prospective mother–child cohort Rhea study. “

Metagenomics

MedusaMetagenomic Data Utilization and Analysis (MEDUSA) and Construction of a Global Gut Microbial Gene Catalogue – Fredrik H. Karlsson, Intawat Nookaew, Jens Nielsen – PLOS Computational Biology

“Here we present the bioinformatics pipeline MEDUSA that facilitates analysis of metagenomic reads at the gene and taxonomic level. We also constructed a global human gut microbial gene catalogue by combining data from 4 studies spanning 3 continents. “

Proteomics

Proteomics Staph aureusGenomics and Proteomics Provide New Insight into the Commensal and Pathogenic Lifestyles of Bovine and Human-associated Staphylococcus epidermidis strains – Kirsi Savijoki – Journal of Proteome Research

“Pilot experimental infection studies indicated that while ATCC12228 was able to infect bovine host, the PM221 strain caused more severe clinical signs. “

Dengue

Demanou DengueEvidence of Dengue Virus Transmission and Factors Associated with the Presence of Anti-Dengue Virus Antibodies in Humans in Three Major Towns in Cameroon – Maurice Demanou – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“Sera were screened for anti-dengue virus IgG and IgM antibodies. Risk factors of seropositivity were tested using logistic regression methods with random effects.”

Carrasco DenguePredictive Tools for Severe Dengue Conforming to World Health Organization 2009 Criteria – Luis R. Carrasco – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“Higher risk of severe dengue (SD) was associated with female gender, lower than normal hematocrit level, abdominal distension, vomiting and fever on admission. “

Infection and host response

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 03.35PM, Jul 11Development of Fatal Intestinal Inflammation in MyD88 Deficient Mice Co-infected with Helminth and Bacterial Enteropathogens – Libo Su – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“We found that MyD88 knockout mice co-infected with H. polygyrus and C. rodentium developed more severe intestinal inflammation and elevated mortality compared to the wild-type mice.”‘

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 04.28PM, Jul 11Distinct Lipid A Moieties Contribute to Pathogen-Induced Site-Specific Vascular Inflammation – Connie Slocum – PLOS Pathogens

“our results point to a pivotal role for activation of the non-canonical inflammasome in P. gingivalis infection and demonstrate that P. gingivalis evades immune detection at TLR4 facilitating chronic inflammation in the vasculature. “

Dengue

Dengue vaccine lancetClinical efficacy and safety of a novel tetravalent dengue vaccine in healthy children in Asia: a phase 3, randomised, observer-masked, placebo-controlled trial – Maria Rosario Capeding – The Lancet

“Our findings show that dengue vaccine is efficacious when given as three injections at months 0, 6, and 12 to children aged 2–14 years in endemic areas in Asia, and has a good safety profile. “

Also see comment: Dengue vaccines: dawning at last? – Annelies Wilder-Smith – The Lancet

Poliovirus

Jacob John polioEffect of a single inactivated poliovirus vaccine dose on intestinal immunity against poliovirus in children previously given oral vaccine: an open-label, randomised controlled trial – Jacob John – The Lancet

“The substantial boost in intestinal immunity conferred by a supplementary dose of IPV given to children younger than 5 years who had previously received OPV shows a potential role for this vaccine in immunisation activities to accelerate eradication and prevent outbreaks of poliomyelitis.”

Also see comment: Polio endgame management: focusing on performance with or without inactivated poliovirus vaccine – Kimberly M Thompson – The Lancet

Microbes in the News

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 04.28PM, Jul 11 1How Gross Is Your Phone? A Motherboard Science Experiment – Jason Koebler – Motherboard

“All I wanted to do was recreate a relatively simple study I had just written about. Instead, I ended up creating something vaguely dangerous, which mortified the director of a local DIY biology lab. Here’s what happens when you perform experiments on your coworkers.”

Arsenic metabolism

Screen shot 2014-07-11 at 04.29PM, Jul 11Lung tumors in mice induced by “whole-life” inorganic arsenic exposure at human-relevant doses – Michael P. Waalkes – Archives of Toxicology

“Breeder male and female CD1 mice were exposed to 0, 50, 500 or 5,000 ppb arsenic (as sodium arsenite) in the drinking water for 3 weeks prior to breeding, during pregnancy and lactation, and after weaning (at week 3) groups of male and female offspring (initial n = 40) were exposed for up to 2 years.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Scorpions are master architects, according to new research – Science Daily

“The burrows made by scorpions follow a very sophisticated design, beginning with a short, vertical entrance shaft that flattened out a few centimeters below the surface into a horizontal platform, new research has found.”

Beach Sand Used To Make A Battery That Lasts Three Times Longer – Douglas Main – Popular Science

“Sink your toes into this: Beach sand can be used to make lithium-ion batteries that last three times longer than current models, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.”

World Now “A Safer Place”, thanks to creation of Potential Pandemic Virus – The Allium

“Yes, I get your point that they could potentially kill millions of people and hospitalise millions more, causing untold human suffering and extraordinary economic damage, but think of all the advantages to the creation of these bugs”.

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General microbiome and science, July 8

Metabolic networks, CRISPR induced immunity, and influence of extraction methods and primers on microbiome analysis. Plus some smallpox in the Lost&Found, and a big citation scandal in SAGE journals.

Microbial ecology / metabolomics

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.07.56 PMIdentifying All Moiety Conservation Laws in Genome-Scale Metabolic Networks – Andrea De Martino – PLOS ONE

“ Our method is deployed for the analysis of moiety conservation relationships in two large-scale reconstructions of the metabolism of the bacterium E. coli, in six tissue-specific human metabolic networks, and, finally, in the human reactome as a whole, revealing that bacterial metabolism could be evolutionarily designed to cover broader production spectra than human metabolism.”

Emergent

Emergent Biosynthetic Capacity in Simple Microbial Communities – Hsuan-Chao Chiu – PLOS Computational Biology

“We specifically focus on detecting emergent biosynthetic capacity – instances in which a community growing on some medium produces and secretes metabolites that are not secreted by any member species when growing in isolation on that same medium. “

DIET ArchaeaDirect Interspecies Electron Transfer between Geobacter metallireducens and Methanosarcina barkeri – Amelia-Elena Rotaru – Applied and Environmental Microbiology

“M. barkeri is the second methanogen found to accept electrons via DIET and the first methanogen known to be capable of using either H2 or electrons derived from DIET for CO2 reduction. “

Optimal defenseOptimal Defense Strategies in an Idealized Microbial Food Web under Trade-Off between Competition and Defense – Selina Våge – PLOS ONE

“ Under coexistence with a competition specialist, a balance of competitive and defensive ability of the defense strategist was found to be evolutionarily stable, whereas stronger defense was optimal under increased nutrient levels in the absence of the pure competition specialist.”

Microbial detection

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.13.13 PMHuman Herpes Viruses Are Associated with Classic Fever of Unknown Origin (FUO) in Beijing Patients – Weimin Zhou – PLOS ONE

“HHVs are associated with Chinese patients (especially for children) with classic FUO. Our study adds perspective to the aetiological and clinical characteristics of classic FUO in beijing patients.”

Phages and viruses

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.13.31 PMCRISPR-Induced Distributed Immunity in Microbial Populations – Lauren M. Childs – PLOS ONE

“We analyze sequence diversity of experimentally coevolving populations of Streptococcus thermophilus and their viruses where CRISPR-Cas is active, and find the rapid emergence of distributed immunity in the host population, demonstrating the importance of this emergent phenomenon in evolving microbial communities.”

Techniques

Influence of DNA Extraction Method, 16S rRNA Targeted Hypervariable Regions, and Sample Origin on Microbial Diversity Detected by 454 Pyrosequencing in Marine Chemosynthetic Ecosystems – Perrine Cruaud – Applied and Environmental Microbiology

“Thanks to statistical and diversity analyses as well as inference of operational taxonomic unit (OTU) networks, we show that (i) while DNA extraction methods do not seem to affect the results for some samples, they can lead to dramatic changes for others; and (ii) the choice of amplification and sequencing primers also considerably affects the microbial community detected in the samples.”

Dengue

Sanofi’s dengue vaccine first to complete phase 3 – Gunjan Sinha – Nature Biotechnology

“Banking on approval, Sanofi has already started production, a move some have described as a “huge gamble” in light of the vaccine’s disappointing results from earlier studies, says Mark Clark, a pharmaceuticals analyst at Deutsche Bank in London.”

Microbes in the News

Found: Forgotten Vials of Smallpox – Maryn McKenna – Wired.com (also see CDC Media Statement)

“Workers clearing out an old storage room on the Bethesda, Md. campus of the National Institutes of Health have found a forgotten box of vials that contain smallpox.”

The Bacteria That Got Spread Throughout The US By Military Testing – Esther Inglis-Arkell – IO9

“Have you ever heard of serratia marcescens bacteria? Today they are a cause of hospital infections. In the 1960s, they were secretly sprayed across Washington, San Francisco, and New York.”

Manage Your Microbes – Laura Stec – Palo Alto Online

“I’ve been researching this wonderful advance in science for Manage Your Microbes, a cook class at Belmont Library on July 29th. “

Science, Publishing, and Career

SAGE Publications busts “peer review and citation ring,” 60 papers retracted – Retraction Watch

SAGE announces the retraction of 60 articles implicated in a peer review and citation ring at the Journal of Vibration and Control (JVC). “

13 Subtle Ways Women Are Treated Differently At Work – Jenna Goudreau – Business Insider

“Both men and women hold these views but often don’t even realize it. “It’s hard to fight this,” says Rivers, but awareness is key.

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Combining colour and temperature: A blue object is more likely to be judged as warm than a red object – Hsin-Ni Ho – Nature Scientific Reports

“It is commonly believed that reddish colour induces warm feelings while bluish colour induces cold feelings. We, however, demonstrate an opposite effect when the temperature information is acquired by direct touch.”

MandarinSequencing of diverse mandarin, pummelo and orange genomes reveals complex history of admixture during citrus domestication – G Albert Wu – Nature Biotechnology

“Here we sequence and compare citrus genomes—a high-quality reference haploid clementine genome and mandarin, pummelo, sweet-orange and sour-orange genomes—and show that cultivated types derive from two progenitor species. “

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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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