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Annual Review of Microbiology

Chiara Rapisarda, Matteo Tassinari, Francesca Gubellini, Remi Fronzes
Bacterial secretion systems are responsible for releasing macromolecules to the extracellular milieu or directly into other cells. These membrane complexes are associated with pathogenicity and bacterial fitness. Understanding of these large assemblies has exponentially increased in the last few years thanks to electron microscopy. In fact, a revolution in this field has led to breakthroughs in characterizing the structures of secretion systems and other macromolecular machineries so as to obtain high-resolution images of complexes that could not be crystallized...
July 13, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Gabrielle A Josling, Kim C Williamson, Manuel Llinás
Sexual differentiation of malaria parasites from the asexual blood stage into gametocytes is an essential part of the life cycle, as gametocytes are the form that is taken up by the mosquito host. Because of the essentiality of this process for transmission to the mosquito, gametocytogenesis is an extremely attractive target for therapeutic interventions. The subject of this review is the considerable progress that has been made in recent years in elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing this important differentiation process...
July 5, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Kami Kim
Toxoplasma gondii is a common veterinary and human pathogen that persists as latent bradyzoite forms within infected hosts. The ability of the parasite to interconvert between tachyzoite and bradyzoite is key for pathogenesis of toxoplasmosis, particularly in immunocompromised individuals. The transition between tachyzoites and bradyzoites is epigenetically regulated and coupled to the cell cycle. Recent epigenomic studies have begun to elucidate the chromatin states associated with developmental switches in T...
June 22, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Alice Feurtey, Eva H Stukenbrock
Throughout evolutionary history in the kingdom Fungi, taxa have exchanged genetic information among species, as revealed in particular by analyses of genome sequences. In fungi, hybridization can occur by sexual mating or by fusion of vegetative structures giving rise to new species or leaving traces of introgression in the genome. Furthermore, gene exchange can occur by horizontal gene transfer between species and can even include organisms outside the kingdom Fungi. In several cases, interspecific gene exchange has been instrumental in rapid adaptive evolution of fungal species and has notably played a role in the emergence of new pathogens...
June 21, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Kyla S Ost, June L Round
Mammalian immune systems evolved within a diverse world dominated by microbes, making interactions between these two life-forms inevitable. Adaptive immunity protects against microbes through antigen-specific responses. In classical studies, these responses were investigated in the context of pathogenicity; however, we now know that they have significant effects on our resident microbes. In turn, microbes employ an arsenal of mechanisms to influence development and specificity of host immunity. Understanding these complex reactions will be necessary to develop microbiota-based strategies to prevent or treat disease...
June 21, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Manoj T Duraisingh, Kristen M Skillman
Eukaryotic pathogens must survive in different hosts, respond to changing environments, and exploit specialized niches to propagate. Plasmodium parasites cause human malaria during bloodstream infections, where they must persist long enough to be transmitted. Parasites have evolved diverse strategies of variant gene expression that control critical biological processes of blood-stage infections, including antigenic variation, erythrocyte invasion, innate immune evasion, and nutrient acquisition, as well as life-cycle transitions...
June 21, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Volker Müller, Nilanjan Pal Chowdhury, Mirko Basen
A decade ago, a novel mechanism to drive thermodynamically unfavorable redox reactions was discovered that is used in prokaryotes to drive endergonic electron transfer reactions by a direct coupling to an exergonic redox reaction in one soluble enzyme complex. This process is referred to as flavinbased electron bifurcation, or FBEB. An important function of FBEB is that it allows the generation of reduced low-potential ferredoxin (Fdred ) from comparably high-potential electron donors such as NADH or molecular hydrogen (H2 )...
June 20, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Gareth Bloomfield
Sex in social amoebae (or dictyostelids) has a number of striking features. Dictyostelid zygotes do not proliferate but grow to a large size by feeding on other cells of the same species, each zygote ultimately forming a walled structure called a macrocyst. The diploid macrocyst nucleus undergoes meiosis, after which a single meiotic product survives to restart haploid vegetative growth. Meiotic recombination is generally initiated by the Spo11 enzyme, which introduces DNA double-strand breaks. Uniquely, as far as is known among sexual eukaryotes, dictyostelids lack a SPO11 gene...
June 20, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Nora Vázquez-Laslop, Alexander S Mankin
The ribosome is a major antibiotic target. Many types of inhibitors can stop cells from growing by binding at functional centers of the ribosome and interfering with its ability to synthesize proteins. These antibiotics were usually viewed as general protein synthesis inhibitors, which indiscriminately stop translation at every codon of every mRNA, preventing the ribosome from making any protein. However, at each step of the translation cycle, the ribosome interacts with multiple ligands (mRNAs, tRNA substrates, translation factors, etc...
June 15, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Erin Wall, Nadim Majdalani, Susan Gottesman
RcsB, a response regulator of the FixJ/NarL family, is at the center of a complex network of regulatory inputs and outputs. Cell surface stress is sensed by an outer membrane lipoprotein, RcsF, which regulates interactions of the inner membrane protein IgaA, lifting negative regulation of a phosphorelay. In vivo evidence supports a pathway in which histidine kinase RcsC transfers phosphate to phosphotransfer protein RcsD, resulting in phosphorylation of RcsB. RcsB acts either alone or in combination with RcsA to positively regulate capsule synthesis and synthesis of small RNA (sRNA) RprA as well as other genes, and to negatively regulate motility...
June 13, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Frédérique Le Roux, Melanie Blokesch
Vibrio is a genus of ubiquitous heterotrophic bacteria found in aquatic environments. Although they are a small percentage of the bacteria in these environments, vibrios can predominate during blooms. Vibrios also play important roles in the degradation of polymeric substances, such as chitin, and in other biogeochemical processes. Vibrios can be found as free-living bacteria, attached to particles, or associated with other organisms in a mutualistic, commensal, or pathogenic relationship. This review focuses on vibrio ecology and genome plasticity, which confers an ability to adapt to new niches and is driven, at least in part, by horizontal gene transfer (HGT)...
June 13, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
Kevin S Lang, Houra Merrikh
Within the last decade, it has become clear that DNA replication and transcription are routinely in conflict with each other in growing cells. Much of the seminal work on this topic has been carried out in bacteria, specifically, Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis; therefore, studies of conflicts in these species deserve special attention. Collectively, the recent findings on conflicts have fundamentally changed the way we think about DNA replication in vivo. Furthermore, new insights on this topic have revealed that the conflicts between replication and transcription significantly influence many key parameters of cellular function, including genome organization, mutagenesis, and evolution of stress response and virulence genes...
June 1, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
H Steven Seifert
Advances in understanding mechanisms of nucleic acids have revolutionized molecular biology and medicine, but understanding of nontraditional nucleic acid conformations is less developed. The guanine quadruplex (G4) alternative DNA structure was first described in the 1960s, but the existence of G4 structures (G4-S) and their participation in myriads of biological functions are still underappreciated. Despite many tools to study G4s and many examples of roles for G4s in eukaryotic molecular processes and issues with uncontrolled G4-S formation, there is relatively little knowledge about the roles of G4-S in viral or prokaryotic systems...
May 31, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
M Daniel-Ivad, S Pimentel-Elardo, J R Nodwell
Specialized metabolites are bacterially produced small molecules that have an extraordinary diversity of important biological activities. They are useful as biochemical probes of living systems, and they have been adapted for use as drugs for human afflictions ranging from infectious diseases to cancer. The biosynthetic genes for these molecules are controlled by a dense network of regulatory mechanisms: Cell-cell signaling and nutrient sensing are conspicuous features of this network. While many components of these mechanisms have been identified, important questions about their biological roles remain shrouded in mystery...
May 23, 2018: Annual Review of Microbiology
David Negus, Chris Moore, Michelle Baker, Dhaarini Raghunathan, Jess Tyson, R Elizabeth Sockett
Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a small deltaproteobacterial predator that has evolved to invade, reseal, kill, and digest other gram-negative bacteria in soils and water environments. It has a broad host range and kills many antibiotic-resistant, clinical pathogens in vitro, a potentially useful capability if it could be translated to a clinical setting. We review relevant mechanisms of B. bacteriovorus predation and the physiological properties that would influence its survival in a mammalian host. Bacterial pathogens increasingly display conventional antibiotic resistance by expressing and varying surface and soluble biomolecules...
September 8, 2017: Annual Review of Microbiology
Juan J Quereda, Pascale Cossart
Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) regulating virulence have been identified in most pathogens. This review discusses RNA-mediated mechanisms exploited by bacterial pathogens to successfully infect and colonize their hosts. It discusses the most representative RNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms employed by two intracellular [Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium)] and two extracellular (Vibrio cholerae and Staphylococcus aureus) bacterial pathogens. We review the RNA-mediated regulators (e...
September 8, 2017: Annual Review of Microbiology
B Joseph Hinnebusch, Clayton O Jarrett, David M Bland
Interest in arthropod-borne pathogens focuses primarily on how they cause disease in humans. How they produce a transmissible infection in their arthropod host is just as critical to their life cycle, however. Yersinia pestis adopts a unique life stage in the digestive tract of its flea vector, characterized by rapid formation of a bacterial biofilm that is enveloped in a complex extracellular polymeric substance. Localization and adherence of the biofilm to the flea foregut is essential for transmission. Here, we review the molecular and genetic mechanisms of these processes and present a comparative evaluation and updated model of two related transmission mechanisms...
September 8, 2017: Annual Review of Microbiology
James A Hoch
This is a tale of how technology drove the discovery of the molecular basis for signal transduction in the initiation of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis and in bacterial two-component systems. It progresses from genetics to cloning and sequencing to biochemistry to structural biology to an understanding of how proteins evolve interaction specificity and to identification of interaction surfaces by statistical physics. This is about how the people in my laboratory accomplished this feat; without them little would have been done...
September 8, 2017: Annual Review of Microbiology
Corey S Westfall, Petra Anne Levin
How cells establish, maintain, and modulate size has always been an area of great interest and fascination. Until recently, technical limitations curtailed our ability to understand the molecular basis of bacterial cell size control. In the past decade, advances in microfluidics, imaging, and high-throughput single-cell analysis, however, have led to a flurry of work revealing size to be a highly complex trait involving the integration of three core aspects of bacterial physiology: metabolism, growth, and cell cycle progression...
September 8, 2017: Annual Review of Microbiology
Andrei Rajkovic, Michael Ibba
Elongation factor P (EF-P) binds to ribosomes requiring assistance with the formation of oligo-prolines. In order for EF-P to associate with paused ribosomes, certain tRNAs with specific d-arm residues must be present in the peptidyl site, e.g., tRNAPro . Once EF-P is accommodated into the ribosome and bound to Pro-tRNAPro , productive synthesis of the peptide bond occurs. The underlying mechanism by which EF-P facilitates this reaction seems to have entropic origins. Maximal activity of EF-P requires a posttranslational modification in Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Bacillus subtilis...
September 8, 2017: Annual Review of Microbiology
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