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FEMS Microbiology Reviews

Petr Baldrian
Globally, forests represent highly productive ecosystems that act as carbon sinks where soil organic matter is formed from residuals after biomass decomposition as well as from rhizodeposited carbon. Forests exhibit a high level of spatial heterogeneity and the importance of trees, the dominant primary producers, for their structure and functioning. Fungi, bacteria and archaea inhabit various forest habitats: foliage, the wood of living trees, the bark surface, ground vegetation, roots and the rhizosphere, litter, soil, deadwood, rock surfaces, invertebrates, wetlands or the atmosphere, each of which has its own specific features, such as nutrient availability or temporal dynamicy and specific drivers that affect microbial abundance, the level of dominance of bacteria or fungi as well as the composition of their communities...
November 16, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Ivan Barvík, Dominik Rejman, Natalya Panova, Hana Šanderová, Libor Krásný
RNA polymerase (RNAP) is the central enzyme of transcription of the genetic information from DNA into RNA. RNAP recognizes four main substrates: ATP, CTP, GTP and UTP. Experimental evidence from the past several years suggests that, besides these four NTPs, other molecules can be used to initiate transcription: (i) ribooligonucleotides (nanoRNAs) and (ii) coenzymes such as NAD(+), NADH, dephospho-CoA and FAD. The presence of these molecules at the 5' ends of RNAs affects the properties of the RNA. Here, we discuss the expanding portfolio of molecules that can initiate transcription, their mechanism of incorporation, effects on RNA and cellular processes, and we present an outlook toward other possible initiation substrates...
October 30, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Karine A Gibbs, Aimee Shen
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 27, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Kyle L Asfahl, Martin Schuster
Cooperation and conflict in microorganisms is being recognized as an important factor in the organization and function of microbial communities. Many of the cooperative behaviors described in bacteria are governed through a cell-cell signaling process generally termed quorum sensing. Communication and cooperation in diverse microorganisms exhibit predictable trends that behave according to social evolutionary theory, notably that public goods dilemmas produce selective pressures for divergence in social phenotypes including cheating...
September 26, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Charles J Woodrow, Nicholas J White
Artemisinins are the most rapidly acting of currently available antimalarial drugs. Artesunate has become the treatment of choice for severe malaria, and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the foundation of modern falciparum malaria treatment globally. Their safety and tolerability profile is excellent. Unfortunately, Plasmodium falciparum infections with mutations in the 'K13' gene, with reduced ring-stage susceptibility to artemisinins, and slow parasite clearance in patients treated with ACTs, are now widespread in Southeast Asia...
September 8, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Nikolas M Stasulli, Elizabeth A Shank
The ability of microbes to secrete bioactive chemical signals into their environment has been known for over a century. However, it is only in the last decade that imaging mass spectrometry has provided us with the ability to directly visualize the spatial distributions of these microbial metabolites. This technology involves collecting mass spectra from multiple discrete locations across a biological sample, yielding chemical 'maps' that simultaneously reveal the distributions of hundreds of metabolites in two dimensions...
September 2, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Manuel Montalbán-López, Auke J van Heel, Oscar P Kuipers
As the number of new antibiotics that reach the market is decreasing and the demand for them is rising, alternative sources of novel antimicrobials are needed. Lantibiotics are potent peptide antimicrobials that are ribosomally synthesized and stabilized by post-translationally introduced lanthionine rings. Their ribosomal synthesis and enzymatic modifications provide excellent opportunities to design and engineer a large variety of novel antimicrobial compounds. The research conducted in this area demonstrates that the modularity present in both the peptidic rings as well as in the combination of promiscuous modification enzymes can be exploited to further increase the diversity of lantibiotics...
September 2, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Emma S Sherling, Christiaan van Ooij
Malaria is caused by infection of erythrocytes by parasites of the genus Plasmodium To survive inside erythrocytes, these parasites induce sweeping changes within the host cell, one of the most dramatic of which is the formation of multiple membranous compartments, collectively referred to as the exomembrane system. As an uninfected mammalian erythrocyte is devoid of internal membranes, the parasite must be the force and the source behind the formation of these compartments. Even though the first evidence of the presence these of internal compartments was obtained over a century ago, their functions remain mostly unclear, and in some cases completely unknown, and the mechanisms underlying their formation are still mysterious...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Oier Etxebeste, Eduardo A Espeso
Multiple fungal species penetrate substrates and accomplish host invasion through the fast, permanent and unidirectional extension of filamentous cells known as hyphae. Polar growth of hyphae results, however, in a significant increase in the distance between the polarity site, which also receives the earliest information about ambient conditions, and nuclei, where adaptive responses are executed. Recent studies demonstrate that these long distances are overcome by signal transduction pathways which convey sensory information from the polarity site to nuclei, controlling development and pathogenesis...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Dominik Esser, Lena Hoffmann, Trong Khoa Pham, Christopher Bräsen, Wen Qiu, Phillip C Wright, Sonja-Verena Albers, Bettina Siebers
Reversible protein phosphorylation is the main mechanism of signal transduction that enables cells to rapidly respond to environmental changes by controlling the functional properties of proteins in response to external stimuli. However, whereas signal transduction is well studied in Eukaryotes and Bacteria, the knowledge in Archaea is still rather scarce. Archaea are special with regard to protein phosphorylation, due to the fact that the two best studied phyla, the Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeaota, seem to exhibit fundamental differences in regulatory systems...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Satish Adhikari, Patrick D Curtis
Epigenetics is a change in gene expression that is heritable without a change in DNA sequence itself. This phenomenon is well studied in eukaryotes, particularly in humans for its role in cellular differentiation, X chromosome inactivation and diseases like cancer. However, comparatively little is known about epigenetic regulation in bacteria. Bacterial epigenetics is mainly present in the form of DNA methylation where DNA methyltransferases add methyl groups to nucleotides. This review focuses on two methyltransferases well characterized for their roles in gene regulation: Dam and CcrM...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Damián Lobato-Márquez, Ramón Díaz-Orejas, Francisco García-Del Portillo
Bacterial virulence relies on a delicate balance of signals interchanged between the invading microbe and the host. This communication has been extensively perceived as a battle involving harmful molecules produced by the pathogen and host defenses. In this review, we focus on a largely unexplored element of this dialogue, as are toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems of the pathogen. TA systems are reported to respond to stresses that are also found in the host and, as a consequence, could modulate the physiology of the intruder microbe...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Nicole A Abreu, Michiko E Taga
Microbial communities govern numerous fundamental processes on earth. Discovering and tracking molecular interactions among microbes is critical for understanding how single species and complex communities impact their associated host or natural environment. While recent technological developments in DNA sequencing and functional imaging have led to new and deeper levels of understanding, we are limited now by our inability to predict and interpret the intricate relationships and interspecies dependencies within these communities...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Guy Caljon, Géraldine De Muylder, Lies Durnez, Wim Jennes, Manu Vanaerschot, Jean-Claude Dujardin
In the present review, we aim to provide a general introduction to different facets of the arms race between pathogens and their hosts/environment, emphasizing its evolutionary aspects. We focus on vector-borne parasitic protozoa, which have to adapt to both invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Using Leishmania, Trypanosoma and Plasmodium as main models, we review successively (i) the adaptations and counter-adaptations of parasites and their invertebrate host, (ii) the adaptations and counter-adaptations of parasites and their vertebrate host and (iii) the impact of human interventions (chemotherapy, vaccination, vector control and environmental changes) on these adaptations...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Miklós Bálint, Mohammad Bahram, A Murat Eren, Karoline Faust, Jed A Fuhrman, Björn Lindahl, Robert B O'Hara, Maarja Öpik, Mitchell L Sogin, Martin Unterseher, Leho Tedersoo
With high-throughput sequencing (HTS), we are able to explore the hidden world of microscopic organisms to an unpre-cedented level. The fast development of molecular technology and statistical methods means that microbial ecologists must keep their toolkits updated. Here, we review and evaluate some of the more widely adopted and emerging techniques for analysis of diversity and community composition, and the inference of species interactions from co-occurrence data generated by HTS of marker genes. We emphasize the importance of observational biases and statistical properties of the data and methods...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Lisa A Hawver, Sarah A Jung, Wai-Leung Ng
Quorum sensing (QS) is a microbial cell-to-cell communication process that relies on the production and detection of chemical signals called autoinducers (AIs) to monitor cell density and species complexity in the population. QS allows bacteria to behave as a cohesive group and coordinate collective behaviors. While most QS receptors display high specificity to their AI ligands, others are quite promiscuous in signal detection. How do specific QS receptors respond to their cognate signals with high fidelity? Why do some receptors maintain low signal recognition specificity? In addition, many QS systems are composed of multiple intersecting signaling pathways: what are the benefits of preserving such a complex signaling network when a simple linear 'one-to-one' regulatory pathway seems sufficient to monitor cell density? Here, we will discuss different molecular mechanisms employed by various QS systems that ensure productive and specific QS responses...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Erin B Purcell, Rita Tamayo
The nucleotide second messenger 3'-5' cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a central regulator of the transition between motile and non-motile lifestyles in bacteria, favoring sessility. Most research investigating the functions of c-di-GMP has focused on Gram-negative species, especially pathogens. Recent work in Gram-positive species has revealed that c-di-GMP plays similar roles in Gram-positives, though the precise targets and mechanisms of regulation may differ. The majority of bacterial life exists in a surface-associated state, with motility allowing bacteria to disseminate and colonize new environments...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Christine Moissl-Eichinger, Charles Cockell, Petra Rettberg
One of the biggest challenges of science is the determination of whether extraterrestrial life exists. Although potential habitable areas might be available for complex life, it is more likely that microbial life could exist in space. Many extremotolerant and extremophilic microbes have been found to be able to withstand numerous, combined environmental factors, such as high or low temperatures and pressures, high-salt conditions, high doses of radiation, desiccation or nutrient limitations. They may even survive the transit from one planet to another...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Michael A Welsh, Helen E Blackwell
Bacteria can utilize chemical signals to coordinate the expression of group-beneficial behaviors in a method of cell-cell communication called quorum sensing (QS). The discovery that QS controls the production of virulence factors and biofilm formation in many common pathogens has driven an explosion of research aimed at both deepening our fundamental understanding of these regulatory networks and developing chemical agents that can attenuate QS signaling. The inherently chemical nature of QS makes studying these pathways with small molecule tools a complementary approach to traditional microbiology techniques...
September 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Bethany K Okada, Mohammad R Seyedsayamdost
Natural products have traditionally served as a dominant source of therapeutic agents. They are produced by dedicated biosynthetic gene clusters that assemble complex, bioactive molecules from simple precursors. Recent genome sequencing efforts coupled with advances in bioinformatics indicate that the majority of biosynthetic gene clusters are not expressed under normal laboratory conditions. Termed 'silent' or 'cryptic', these gene clusters represent a treasure trove for discovery of novel small molecules, their regulatory circuits and their biosynthetic pathways...
August 29, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Reviews
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