Microbiome digest, November 3, 2014

Human oral and vaginal microbiomes, rumen microbiome of impalas, sample handling and sponges, and two remarkable pieces in the New York Times.

Human oral microbiome

The association between the upper digestive tract microbiota by HOMIM and oral health in a population-based study in Linxian, China – Guoqin Yu – BMC Public Health

“Human Oral Microbe Identification Microarrays were used to test for the presence of 272 human oral bacterial species (97 genera) in upper digestive tract (UDT) samples collected from 659 participants. “

Pregnancy and birth microbiome

Poster: Comparison of the Vaginal Microbiomes of Pregnant Women of Four Ethnicities
and Identification of Taxa Associated with Urogenital Disease – Mendz GL – ECCMID Poster

“Principal component analysis suggested differences in the bacterial populations of healthy women and those with genital infections, with clustering of the latter along the Protobacteria axis “

Animal microbiome

Examination of the Rumen Bacteria and Methanogenic Archaea of Wild Impalas (Aepyceros melampus melampus) from Pongola, South Africa – Laura M. Cersosimo – Microbial Ecology

“In the present study, next-generation sequencing and real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to investigate the diversity and density of the bacteria and methanogenic archaea residing in the rumen of five adult male impalas”

Effects of sample handling and cultivation bias on the specificity of bacterial communities in keratose marine sponges – Cristiane C. Hardoim – Frontiers in Microbiology

Bacterial community profiling of the sympatric keratose species Sarcotragus spinosulus and Ircinia variabilis (Dictyoceratida, Irciniidae) was performed by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 454-pyrosequecing of 16S rRNA gene fragments. “

Plant microbiome

Soil type-dependent effects of a potential biocontrol inoculant on indigenous bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of field-grown lettuce – Susanne Schreiter – FEMS Microbiology Ecology

“16S rRNA gene fragments amplified from total community DNA were analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and pyrosequencing. “

Are heterotrophic and silica-rich eukaryotic microbes an important part of the lichen symbiosis? – David M Wilkinson – Mycology: An International Journal on Fungal Biology

“In this necessarily speculative paper we highlight areas for future research and how newer technologies may be useful for understanding the full suite of organisms involved in the lichen symbiosis.”

Soil microbiome

Selection on soil microbiomes reveals reproducible impacts on plant function – Kevin Panke-Buisse – ISME Journal

“Analysis of the soil microbial community using 16 S rRNA gene sequencing showed distinct microbiota profiles assembling by flowering time treatment.”

Chemolithotrophy in the continental deep subsurface: Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), USA – Magdalena R. Osburn – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Geochemical data, energetic modeling, and DNA sequencing were combined with principle component analysis to describe this deep (down to 8100 ft below surface), terrestrial environment.”

Bioinformatic tools

* Seeing the forest for the genes: Using metagenomics to infer the aggregated traits of microbial communities – Noah Fierer – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Microbial ecologists could benefit by borrowing the concept of community-aggregated traits (CATs) from plant ecologists to glean more insight from the ever-increasing amount of metagenomic data being generated.”

Metabolomics

Fructan supplementation of senior cats affects stool metabolite concentrations and fecal microbiota concentrations, but not nitrogen partitioning in excreta – K.A. Barry – Journal of Animal Science

“Fructan supplementation may benefit senior cats as it modulates stool odor-forming compounds and decreases some protein catabolites and pathogenic gut microbiota concentrations without affecting N retention.”

Proteomics

From the Banfield lab: Development of an enhanced metaproteomic approach for deepening the microbiome characterization in the human infant gut – Weili Xiong – Journal of Proteome Research

“….we have designed a novel metaproteomic strategy based on double filtering (DF) the raw samples, a method that fractionates microbial from human cells to enhance microbial protein identification and characterization in complex fecal samples from healthy premature infants. “

More microbiology

Complementarity between targeted real-time specific PCR and conventional broad-range 16S rDNA PCR in the syndrome-driven diagnosis of infectious diseases – A.-S. Morel – European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

“Herein, we report our experience in the diagnosis of infectious diseases over two years, during which 32,948 clinical samples from 18,056 patients were received from France and abroad.”

Microbes in the news

There Is No ‘Healthy’ Microbiome – Ed Yong – New York Times

“The microbiome is complex, varied, ever changing and context-dependent — qualities that are the enemies of easy categorization.”

Study: Ice Man has traces of bacteria that undermined his health – BetaWired

“…they found evidence of the presence of Treponema denticola, an opportunistic pathogen implicated in the development of periodontal diseases. “

Science, publishing, and career

How Do Small Things Make a Big Difference? Activities to Teach about Human–Microbe Interactions – Chandana Jasti – The American Biology Teacher

“In these guided inquiry activities, students investigate human–microbe interactions as they work together to interpret and analyze authentic data from published articles and develop scientific models.”

2014 Life Sciences Salary Survey – Jyoti Madhusoodanan – The Scientist

“This year’s data reveal notable variation in compensation for life scientists working in different fields, sectors, and regions of the world.”

Academic Science Isn’t Sexist – Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci – New York Times

Our analyses show that women can and do prosper in math-based fields of science, if they choose to enter these fields in the first place.”

and two rebuttals:
Academic science is sexist: We do have a problem here – Emily Willingham
The flawed and offensive logic of “Academic Science Isn’t Sexist” in the @nytimes – Jonathan Eisen – The Tree of Life

Bik’s Picks

Standing time and all-cause mortality in a large cohort of Australian adults – Hidde P. van der Ploeg – Preventive Medicine

“Increasing standing may hold promise for alleviating the health risks of prolonged sitting.”

A Face to Remember – Kerry Grens – The Scientist

“Once dominated by correlational studies, face-perception research is moving into the realm of experimentation—and gaining tremendous insight.”

* With a very cute picture: Rovers Disguised as Baby Penguins Can Quietly Infiltrate Penguin Colonies – Rachel Nuwer – Smithsonian

“Pursuing this hunch, they outfitted the rover with a big ball of fluff and a little penguin head and arms. ”

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General microbiology and science digest, October 27, 2014

A new Shiny R tool for microbial communities, virus-like pictures in human distal gut, interaction between oral bacteria, dancing your PhD, and X-ray movies of human joints in action.

Bioinformatics

* Seed: a user-friendly tool for exploring and visualizing microbial community data
Daniel Beck – Bioinformatics

“Seed is written in R using the Shiny library. This provides access to powerful R based functions and libraries through a simple user interface. “

Viruses and phages

With cool pictures: Characterization of virus-like particles associated with the human faecal and caecal microbiota – Lesley Hoyles – Research in Microbiology

“Various methodologies for the recovery of VLPs from faeces were tested and optimized, including successful down-stream processing of such samples for the purpose of an in-depth electron microscopic analysis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and efficient DNA recovery.”

Transcriptomics / Proteomics / Metabolomics

Thermophilic microbial cellulose decomposition and methanogenesis pathways recharacterized by metatranscriptomic and metagenomic analysis – Yu Xia – Scientific Reports

“The metatranscriptomic recharacterization in the present study captured microbial enzymes at the unprecedented scale of 40,000 active genes belonged to 2,269 KEGG functions were identified.”

Proteomic and transcriptional analysis of interaction between oral microbiota Porphyromonas gingivalis and Streptococcus oralis – Kazuhiko Maeda – Journal of Proteome Research

“Here, using shotgun proteomics we examined the molecular basis of mixed-biofilm formation by P. gingivalis with Streptococcus oralis.”

Review: Toward the comprehensive understanding of the gut ecosystem via metabolomics-based integrated omics approach – Wanping Aw, Shinji Fukuda – Seminars in Immunopathology

“In this review, we discuss in detail the relationship between gut microbiota and its metabolites … in the host health and etiopathogenesis of various pathological states such as multiple sclerosis, autism, obesity, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. “

More Microbiology

Biofilms: Five-Star Accommodations for the Aerobically Challenged – Robert A. Cramer – Current Biology

“A recent study finds that fungal biofilms are capable of supporting growth of anaerobic bacteria, suggesting that these fungi can promote bacterial growth in otherwise toxic environments.”

Microbes in the news

* Sorry, Your Gut Bacteria Are Not the Answer to All Your Health Problems – Gabrielle Canon – Mother Jones

“We’re told that tweaks to the microbiome can cure everything from allergies to Ebola. Not exactly, say experts. …despite the optimism, some researchers caution that much of what we hear about microbiome science isn’t always, well, science. “

* Orthopedic surgeon studies bear bacteria to aid bear attack victims – Healio

“Working with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Iwersen has been collecting cultures of bacteria from the mouths of grizzly bears and correlating them with the types of bacteria found in the bear bites on patients. “

Mexican scientist investigates intestinal bacteria – BetaWired

“Recent findings of the investigator Xicotencatl Gracida Canales…at Harvard University in Cambridge, USA, suggest that in the absence of an intestinal shield, variations in bacterial metabolism can affect reproductive cells and cause infertility in an animal model called C. Elegans.”

Algae-Based Material Takes On Body Odor – Dana Dovey – NewsWeek

“A team of Swedish researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology has found a way to eliminate the growth of this smell-inducing bacteria using one of nature’s best antimicrobials, algae.”

MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowship: From Source to Tap: Linking the Drinking Water Microbiome to Human Health – Sarah Haig – MicroBEnet

“We hypothesize that the microbial communities in municipally treated drinking water are a source of opportunistic pathogens, posing a risk to people with cystic fibrosis”

Science, publishing, career

Is NIH policy the best way to sex equality in studies? – Bethany Brookshire – Science News

“The end goal will be to make sure that NIH-funded scientists “balance male and female cells and animals in preclinical studies in all future [grant] applications” to the NIH.”

Some suggestions for having diverse speakers at meetings – Jonathan Eisen – The Tree of Life

“Some people were asking what one can do to improve gender diversity at meetings so I thought I would post this which I was meaning to do anyway “

‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ finalists announced – John Bohannon – Science

“Rather than reading a paper about it, why not watch a dance? A ballet and a modern dance on those very topics have made it into the finals of this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest.”

Bik’s Picks

Interactive world map of vaccine-preventable outbreaks – Council for Foreign Relations

“This interactive map visually plots global outbreaks of measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and other diseases that are easily preventable by inexpensive and effective vaccines.”

Dietary cocoa flavanols reverse age-related memory decline in mice – Science Daily

“Dietary cocoa flavanols —- naturally occurring bioactives found in cocoa —- reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults, according to a new study. Flavanols are also found naturally in tea leaves and in certain fruits and vegetables”

Amazing X-ray GIFs Show Joints In Motion – Lisa Winter – IFL Science

“Cameron Drake of San Francisco has created a collection of magnificent images showing joints in motion. He was aided by orthopedic physician Dr. Noah Weiss and the finished product is completely amazing. “

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Microbiome Digest, October 20, 2014

Oral core microbiome, symbionts in crabs, sponges, and Drosophila, metabolites in dolphin’s breath, and retraction of a paper favored by Dr. Oz.

Pregnancy and birth

NEC in Twin Pregnancies: Incidence and Outcomes – Sathyaprasad C Burjonrappa, Brian Shea, Diya Goorah – Journal of Neonatal Surgery

“There is a remarkable higher incidence of NEC amongst twins. Abnormal colonization of the gastrointestinal tract appears to be an immediate postpartum event.”

Human oral microbiome

Intraindividual variation in core microbiota in peri-implantitis and periodontitis – Noriko Maruyama – Scientific Reports

“To improve our knowledge of the different communities of complex oral microbiota, we compared the microbial features between peri-implantitis and periodontitis in 20 patients with both diseases. “

Antimicrobial Effect of Lemongrass Oil against Oral Malodor Microorganisms and the Pilot Study of Safety and Efficacy of Lemongrass Mouthrinse on Oral Malodor – Panitta Satthanakul – Journal of Applied Microbiology

“Antimicrobial activity of LG mouthrinse was examined against common odorigenic microorganisms using broth microdilution assay and the disc diffusion method. A randomized double-blind clinical study was performed in 20 healthy volunteers.”

Animal microbiome

Molecular evidence of digestion and absorption of epibiotic bacterial community by deep-sea crab Shinkaia crosnieri – Tomo-o Watsuji – ISME Journal

“A phylogenetic analysis showed that many of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences obtained from the intestine were closely related to the sequences of the epibionts, thus they were probably derived from the epibionts.”

* In vivo function and comparative genomic analyses of the Drosophila gut microbiota identify candidate symbiosis factors – Peter D. Newell – Frontiers in Microbiology

“We compared microbiota isolates with con-specific or closely related bacterial species isolated from non-fly environments. “

* Two distinct microbial communities revealed in the sponge Cinachyrella – Marie L. Cuvelier – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Sponges of the genus Cinachyrella are common in Caribbean and Floridian reefs and their archaeal and bacterial microbiomes were explored here using 16S rDNA tag pyrosequencing.”

* Symbiotic archaea in marine sponges show stability and host specificity in community structure and ammonia oxidation functionality – Fan Zhang – FEMS Microbiology Ecology

“PCR cloning and sequencing of archaeal 16S rRNA and amoA genes showed that the archaeal community composition and structure were different from that in seawater and varied among sponge species. “

Plant microbiome

Reduced dependence of rhizosphere microbiome on plant-derived carbon in 32-year long-term inorganic and organic fertilized soils – Chao Ai – Soil Biology and Biochemistry

“Wheat rhizosphere microbiome was studied by stable isotope probing and pyrosequencing.”

Environmental microbiome

Characterization of bacterial communities associated with seasonal water masses from Tongyoung in South Sea of Korea – Sung-Suk Suh – Ocean Science Journal

“In this study, we adopted a 16S rRNA gene tag-pyrosequencing technique to investigate the bacterial communities associated with two different water masses from Tongyoung in the South Sea of Korea. “

Bacterial community structure of a lab-scale anammox membrane bioreactor – Alejandro Gonzalez-Martinez – Biotechnology Progress

“In this study, next-generation sequencing techniques have been used for the investigation of the bacterial communities of this MBR Anammox for the first time ever. “

Metagenomics & Bioinformatics

GenomePeek: What exactly is that sequencing data? – Katelyn McNair – MicroBEnet

“I wrote the initial version of GenomePeek, and tested it with various data sets using this student’s data. I quickly found that some genes work better than others, and so currently the four genes analyzed are: 16S, recA, rpoB, and groEL.”

Metabolomics

Metabolite Content Profiling of Bottlenose Dolphin Exhaled Breath – Alexander A. Aksenov – Analytical Chemistry

“We have developed a method to reproducibly sample breath from small cetaceans, specifically Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). “

Proteomics

Symbiosis, Dysbiosis and Rebiosis – the value of metaproteomics in human microbiome monitoring – Lei Mao and Jacqueline Franke – Proteomics

“After a brief review of the history and state-of-the-art of metaproteomics in the field of environmental health research, focus of this perspective article will be put on the role of cross-species joint efforts in symbiosis, dysbiosis and rebiosis of the human gut during human development, pathogenesis and aging.”

More microbiology

Bridging the gap between viable but non-culturable and antibiotic persistent bacteria – Mesrop Ayrapetyan – Trends in Microbiology

“This discussion is intended to stimulate discourse about these seemingly different but very similar dormant states.”

* Phylogenomic Reconstruction Indicates Mitochondrial Ancestor Was an Energy Parasite
Zhang Wang, Martin Wu – PLOS ONE

“Using a phylogenomic approach and leveraging on the increased taxonomic sampling of alphaproteobacterial and eukaryotic genomes, we reconstructed the metabolisms of both proto-mitochondria and pre-mitochondria.”

Real-time video imaging as a new and rapid tool for antibiotic susceptibility testing by the disk diffusion method: a paradigm for evaluating resistance to imipenem and identifying extended-spectrum β-lactamases – Stéphanie Le Page – International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents

“..we present here for the first time video movies of the appearance of the diameter of inhibition by the disk diffusion in real-time. “

Microbes in the news

Can Microbes Help Feed the World? – Amy Mayer – BioScience

“To help meet the challenge for food, scientists are using new technologies to better understand the role that soil microbes might play in bolstering agricultural production. “

Dentists Want To See Studies On Pot-Cavity Link – CBS Local

“Patients are experiencing tooth decay, expensive dentist bills and the pain of dealing with it all. The biggest side effect is dry mouth.”

Bik’s Picks

Brain surgery, by robot, through the cheek – Science Daily

“Engineers have developed a surgical robot designed to perform brain surgery by entering through the cheek instead of the skull that can operate on a patient in an MRI scanner. Additionally, the engineers have designed the system so that much of it can be made using 3-D printing in order to keep the price low.”

* Hilarious cartoons on Imgur: Real Scientists vs. Movie Scientists 

* Authors retract green coffee bean diet paper touted by Dr. Oz – Ivan Oransky – Retraction Watch

“Two authors of a 2012 paper sponsored by a company that made grand claims about green coffee bean extract’s abilities to help people lose weight have retracted it. The study was cited by The Dr. Oz Show, and last month it cost the company a $3.5 million settlement with the Feds.”

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General microbiology and science, August 25, 2014

Microbial networks, proteomics of Fusobacterium, ants carrying pathogens into hospitals, and what’s in your lab freezer?

Bioinformatics

Sparse and compositionally robust inference of microbial ecological networks – Zachary D. Kurtz – arXiv at Cornel University Library

“Here, we present SPIEC-EASI (SParse InversE Covariance Estimation for Ecological Association Inference), a statistical method for the inference of microbial ecological interactions from metagenomic datasets that addresses both of these issues. “

Metabolomics / proteomics

Modelling the Emergent Dynamics and Major Metabolites of the Human Colonic Microbiota – Helen Kettle – Environmental Microbiology

“We present here a first attempt at modelling microbial dynamics in the human colon incorporating both uncertainty and adaptation. “

Proteomics of Fusobacterium nucleatum within a model developing oral microbial community  – Erik L. Hendrickson – MicrobiologyOpen

“About 1210 F. nucleatum proteins were detected in single species F. nucleatum control samples, 1192 in communities with P. gingivalis, 1224 with S. gordonii, and 1135 with all three species.”

Techniques

* (Preprint) Sources of PCR-induced distortions in high-throughput sequencing datasets – Justus M Kebschull, Anthony M Zador – bioRXiv

We examined the effects of bias, stochasticity, template switches and polymerase errors introduced during PCR on sequence representation in next-generation sequencing libraries. “

More microbes

* Ants as vectors of pathogenic microorganisms in a hospital in Sao Paulo county, Brazil – Heros J Máximo – BMC Research Notes

“Ants in hospitals may carry both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and methods of controlling urban ants should be adopted and strictly adhered to, to minimize the risk of infection in hospital patients.”

Microbes in the news

What’s in your laboratory freezer? – Timothy J. Donahue – American Society of Microbiology

“I ask all microbiologists to make sure that you and your colleagues know what they have in the lab (freezer, refrigerator, store room, etc).”

* Hot Spring Bacteria Can Live Off Invisible Light Alone – Brian Stallard – Nature World News

“Researcher(sic) studying cyanobacteria in hot springs have discovered that the potentially harmful algae can live in near-darkness, absorbing far-red light and converting it into energy while releasing oxygen. “

Insect-borne bacteria destroy ancient Italian olive groves – Tom Kington – GulfNews

“The ancient olive groves of southern Italy, which provide much of the oil the country exports, are being destroyed by deadly, insect-borne bacterium that has already infected nearly half a million trees and has no known cure.”

Uncultured Bacteria (with video) – Serious Science

“Northeastern University Prof. Kim Lewis on great plate count anomaly, siderophores, and human microbiome”

#BacteriaHysteria

* How to Keep Bacteria Out of Your Child’s Lunchbox – FoodSafetyNews

“If possible, a child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator during school, but the lid should be left open so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.”

* Chick-fil-A incorporates bacteria-killing copper into restrooms – The News Herald

“Seidel said that Chick-fil-A Owner and Operator Dallas Stoudenmire has realized his responsibility to keep customers bacteria free and is taking the right steps to do so.”

Science and publishing

Concerns Raised Online Linger – Kate Yandell – The Scientist

“The great majority of comments point out some kind of problem,” PubPeer moderators wrote in an e-mail to The Scientist.

Bik’s Picks

Eye implant developed at Stanford could lead to better glaucoma treatments – Bjorn Carey – Stanford News

“A tiny eye implant developed by Stephen Quake’s lab could pair with a smartphone to improve the way doctors measure and lower a patient’s eye pressure.”

Scientists grow an organ in an animal from cells created in lab – Science Daily

“The researchers have created a thymus — an organ next to the heart that produces immune cells known as T cells that are vital for guarding against disease.”

Mozzarella and cheddar are the perfect pizza toppers, according to science – Jenn Harris – LA Times

“Understanding the value of a pie spotted with perfectly crisp cheese, a group of scientists in New Zealand set out to find which cheeses create the perfect topping.”

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General microbiology and science, August 19, 2014

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

Metabolomics and proteomics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microbial Ecology

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

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

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

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

Bioinformatics

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

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

More microbes

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

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

Microbes in the news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bik’s Picks

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

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

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

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

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General microbiology and science, July 22

Amplifying long PCR products, primer design, metagenomic analysis and ecology, network analysis and the Picks.

Techniques

Long-range PCR in next-generation sequencing: comparison of six enzymes and evaluation on the MiSeq sequencer – Haiying Jia – Nature Scientific Reports

“We evaluated six long-range DNA polymerases to amplify three amplicons, with sizes of 12.9 kb, 9.7 kb, and 5.8 kb, respectively. “

DegePrime, a Program for Degenerate Primer Design for Broad-Taxonomic-Range PCR in Microbial Ecology Studies – Luisa W. Hugerth – Applied and Environmental Microbiology

“Here, we present the computer program DegePrime that, for each position of a multiple sequence alignment, finds a degenerate oligomer of as high coverage as possible and outputs its coverage among taxonomic divisions.”

Metagenomic analysis and ecology

Implications of streamlining theory for microbial ecology – Stephen J Giovannoni – ISME Journal

“The small genomes of obligate insect endosymbionts have been attributed to genetic drift caused by small effective population sizes (Ne). In contrast, streamlining theory attributes small cells and genomes to selection for efficient use of nutrients in populations where Ne is large and nutrients limit growth.”

Parallel Evolution of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mitis to Pathogenic and Mutualistic Lifestyles – Mogens Kilian – mBio

“In a comparative analysis of 35 genomes, including phylogenetic analyses of all predicted genes, we have shown that the pathogenic pneumococcus has evolved into a master of genomic flexibility while lineages that evolved into the nonpathogenic S. mitis secured harmonious coexistence with their host by stabilizing an approximately 15%-reduced genome devoid of many virulence genes.”

Proteomics

Elevated temperature alters proteomic responses of individual organisms within a biofilm community – Annika C Mosier – ISME Journal

“The study is the first application of tandem mass tag (TMT)-based proteomics to a microbial community. We accurately, precisely and reproducibly quantified thousands of proteins in biofilms growing at 40, 43 and 46 °C. “

Bioinformatics

Detecting Communities Based on Network Topology – Wei Liu – Nature Scientific Reports

“We analyzed 16 different types of networks, and compared our partitions with Infomap, LPA, Fastgreedy and Walktrap, which are popular algorithms for community detection. Most of the partitions generated using our approach compare favorably to those generated by these other algorithms. “

Dr. Bik’s Picks

FGF5 is a crucial regulator of hair length in humans – Claire A. Higgins – PNAS

“In this study, we obtained DNA from families segregating excessively long eyelashes consistent with an autosomal recessive trait.”

Science and Culture: Hunting fractals in the music of J. S. Bach – Stephen Ornes – PNAS

“Bach has similarly attracted the attention of other fractal hunters, including Harlan Brothers, a jazz guitarist, composer, and mathematician in Branford, Connecticut. For more than a decade, Brothers has been mapping fractals in music.”

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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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