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Annual Review of Microbiology

Racquel Kim Sherwood, Craig R Roy
The gram-negative bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila creates a novel organelle inside of eukaryotic host cells that supports intracellular replication. The L. pneumophila-containing vacuole evades fusion with lysosomes and interacts intimately with the host endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Although the natural hosts for L. pneumophila are free-living protozoa that reside in freshwater environments, the mechanisms that enable this pathogen to replicate intracellularly also function when mammalian macrophages phagocytose aerosolized bacteria, and infection of humans by L...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Caitlin A Brennan, Wendy S Garrett
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. While cancer is largely considered to be a disease of genetic and environmental factors, increasing evidence has demonstrated a role for the microbiota (the microorganisms associated with the human body) in shaping inflammatory environments and promoting tumor growth and spread. Herein, we discuss both human data from meta'omics analyses and data from mechanistic studies in cell culture and animal models that support specific bacterial agents as potentiators of tumorigenesis-including Fusobacterium nucleatum, enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis, and colibactin-producing Escherichia coli...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Anna V Sherwood, Tina M Henkin
Riboswitches are RNA elements that act on the mRNA with which they are cotranscribed to modulate expression of that mRNA. These elements are widely found in bacteria, where they have a broad impact on gene expression. The defining feature of riboswitches is that they directly recognize a physiological signal, and the resulting shift in RNA structure affects gene regulation. The majority of riboswitches respond to cellular metabolites, often in a feedback loop to repress synthesis of the enzymes used to produce the metabolite...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Gina R Lewin, Camila Carlos, Marc G Chevrette, Heidi A Horn, Bradon R McDonald, Robert J Stankey, Brian G Fox, Cameron R Currie
The ancient phylum Actinobacteria is composed of phylogenetically and physiologically diverse bacteria that help Earth's ecosystems function. As free-living organisms and symbionts of herbivorous animals, Actinobacteria contribute to the global carbon cycle through the breakdown of plant biomass. In addition, they mediate community dynamics as producers of small molecules with diverse biological activities. Together, the evolution of high cellulolytic ability and diverse chemistry, shaped by their ecological roles in nature, make Actinobacteria a promising group for the bioenergy industry...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Alan T Bull, Juan A Asenjo, Michael Goodfellow, Benito Gómez-Silva
The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the oldest and most arid nonpolar environment on Earth. It is a coastal desert covering approximately 180,000 km(2), and together with the greater Atacama region it comprises a dramatically wide range of ecological niches. Long known and exploited for its mineral resources, the Atacama Desert harbors a rich microbial diversity that has only recently been discovered; the great majority of it has not yet been recovered in culture or even taxonomically identified. This review traces the progress of microbiology research in the Atacama and dispels the popular view that this region is virtually devoid of life...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Barbara S Sixt, Raphael H Valdivia
Species of Chlamydia are the etiologic agent of endemic blinding trachoma, the leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted diseases, significant respiratory pathogens, and a zoonotic threat. Their dependence on an intracellular growth niche and their peculiar developmental cycle are major challenges to elucidating their biology and virulence traits. The last decade has seen tremendous advances in our ability to perform a molecular genetic analysis of Chlamydia species. Major achievements include the generation of large collections of mutant strains, now available for forward- and reverse-genetic applications, and the introduction of a system for plasmid-based transformation enabling complementation of mutations; expression of foreign, modified, or reporter genes; and even targeted gene disruptions...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Nicolás Rascovan, Raja Duraisamy, Christelle Desnues
High-throughput sequencing technologies have revolutionized how we think about viruses. Investigators can now go beyond pathogenic viruses and have access to the thousands of viruses that inhabit our bodies without causing clinical symptoms. By studying their interactions with each other, with other microbes, and with host genetics and immune systems, we can learn how they affect health and disease. This article reviews current knowledge of the composition and diversity of the human virome in physiologically healthy individuals...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Eduardo A Groisman
Two-component systems are a dominant form of bacterial signal transduction. The prototypical two-component system consists of a sensor that responds to a specific input(s) by modifying the output of a cognate regulator. Because the output of a two-component system is the amount of phosphorylated regulator, feedback mechanisms may alter the amount of regulator, and/or modify the ability of a sensor or other proteins to alter the phosphorylation state of the regulator. Two-component systems may display intrinsic feedback whereby the amount of phosphorylated regulator changes under constant inducing conditions and without the participation of additional proteins...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Delphine Bronesky, Zongfu Wu, Stefano Marzi, Philippe Walter, Thomas Geissmann, Karen Moreau, François Vandenesch, Isabelle Caldelari, Pascale Romby
Staphylococcus aureus RNAIII is one of the main intracellular effectors of the quorum-sensing system. It is a multifunctional RNA that encodes a small peptide, and its noncoding parts act as antisense RNAs to regulate the translation and/or the stability of mRNAs encoding transcriptional regulators, major virulence factors, and cell wall metabolism enzymes. In this review, we explain how regulatory proteins and RNAIII are embedded in complex regulatory circuits to express virulence factors in a dynamic and timely manner in response to stress and environmental and metabolic changes...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Austin Booth, Carlos Mariscal, W Ford Doolittle
We review the theoretical implications of findings in genomics for evolutionary biology since the Modern Synthesis. We examine the ways in which microbial genomics has influenced our understanding of the last universal common ancestor, the tree of life, species, lineages, and evolutionary transitions. We conclude by advocating a piecemeal toolkit approach to evolutionary biology, in lieu of any grand unified theory updated to include microbial genomics.
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Alexander Harms, Frédéric V Stanger, Christoph Dehio
The ubiquitous proteins with FIC (filamentation induced by cyclic AMP) domains use a conserved enzymatic machinery to modulate the activity of various target proteins by posttranslational modification, typically AMPylation. Following intensive study of the general properties of FIC domain catalysis, diverse molecular activities and biological functions of these remarkably versatile proteins are now being revealed. Here, we review the biological diversity of FIC domain proteins and summarize the underlying structure-function relationships...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
David G Bourne, Kathleen M Morrow, Nicole S Webster
Corals are fundamental ecosystem engineers, creating large, intricate reefs that support diverse and abundant marine life. At the core of a healthy coral animal is a dynamic relationship with microorganisms, including a mutually beneficial symbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium spp.) and enduring partnerships with an array of bacterial, archaeal, fungal, protistan, and viral associates, collectively termed the coral holobiont. The combined genomes of this coral holobiont form a coral hologenome, and genomic interactions within the hologenome ultimately define the coral phenotype...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Joerg Graf
In most animals, digestive tracts harbor the greatest number of bacteria in the animal that contribute to its health: by aiding in the digestion of nutrients, provisioning essential nutrients and protecting against colonization by pathogens. Invertebrates have been used to enhance our understanding of metabolic processes and microbe-host interactions owing to experimental advantages. This review describes how advances in DNA sequencing technologies have dramatically altered how researchers investigate microbe-host interactions, including 16S rRNA gene surveys, metagenome experiments, and metatranscriptome studies...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Matthew D Youngblut, Ouwei Wang, Tyler P Barnum, John D Coates
Respiration of perchlorate and chlorate [collectively, (per)chlorate] was only recognized in the last 20 years, yet substantial advances have been made in our understanding of the underlying metabolisms. Although it was once considered solely anthropogenic, pervasive natural sources, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, indicate an ancient (per)chlorate presence across our solar system. These discoveries stimulated interest in (per)chlorate microbiology, and the application of advanced approaches highlights exciting new facets...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
J Ross Fitzgerald, Matthew T G Holden
Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen and an important cause of livestock infections. The first S. aureus genomes to be published, 15 years ago, provided the first view of genome structure and gene content. Since then, thousands of genomes from a wide array of strains from different sources have been sequenced. Comparison of these sequences has resulted in broad insights into population structure, bacterial evolution, clone emergence and expansion, and the molecular basis of niche adaptation. Furthermore, this information is now being applied clinically in outbreak investigations to inform infection control measures and to determine appropriate treatment regimens...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
David Roy Smith, Patrick J Keeling
The DNA double helix has been called one of life's most elegant structures, largely because of its universality, simplicity, and symmetry. The expression of information encoded within DNA, however, can be far from simple or symmetric and is sometimes surprisingly variable, convoluted, and wantonly inefficient. Although exceptions to the rules exist in certain model systems, the true extent to which life has stretched the limits of gene expression is made clear by nonmodel systems, particularly protists (microbial eukaryotes)...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Daniel Wall
The ability of bacteria to recognize kin provides a means to form social groups. In turn these groups can lead to cooperative behaviors that surpass the ability of the individual. Kin recognition involves specific biochemical interactions between a receptor(s) and an identification molecule(s). Recognition specificity, ensuring that nonkin are excluded and kin are included, is critical and depends on the number of loci and polymorphisms involved. After recognition and biochemical perception, the common ensuing cooperative behaviors include biofilm formation, quorum responses, development, and swarming motility...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Michael S Behnke, J P Dubey, L David Sibley
Toxoplasma gondii is a widespread parasite of warm-blooded vertebrates that also causes opportunistic infections in humans. Rodents are a natural host for asexually replicating forms, whereas cats serve as the definitive host for sexual development. The laboratory mouse provides a model to study pathogenesis. Strains of T. gondii are globally diverse, with more than 16 distinct haplogroups clustered into 6 major clades. Forward genetic analysis of genetic crosses between different lineages has been used to define the molecular basis of acute virulence in the mouse...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Kamna Singh, Joshua N Milstein, William Wiley Navarre
The H-NS (heat-stable nucleoid structuring) protein affects both nucleoid compaction and global gene regulation. H-NS appears to act primarily as a silencer of AT-rich genetic material acquired by horizontal gene transfer. As such, it is key in the regulation of most genes involved in virulence and in adaptation to new environmental niches. Here we review recent progress in understanding the biochemistry of H-NS and how xenogeneic silencing affects bacterial evolution. We highlight the strengths and weaknesses of some of the models proposed in H-NS-mediated nucleoprotein complex formation...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
Jeremy C Henderson, Shawn M Zimmerman, Alexander A Crofts, Joseph M Boll, Lisa G Kuhns, Carmen M Herrera, M Stephen Trent
Determining the chemical composition of biological materials is paramount to the study of natural phenomena. Here, we describe the composition of model gram-negative outer membranes, focusing on the predominant assembly, an asymmetrical bilayer of lipid molecules. We also give an overview of lipid biosynthetic pathways and molecular mechanisms that organize this material into the outer membrane bilayer. An emphasis is placed on the potential of these pathways as targets for antibiotic development. We discuss deviations in composition, through bacterial cell surface remodeling, and alternative modalities to the asymmetric lipid bilayer...
September 8, 2016: Annual Review of Microbiology
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