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Trends in Microbiology

Patrick Ebner, Friedrich Götz
The excretion of cytoplasmic and signal-peptide-less proteins (ECP) by microorganisms and eukaryotes remains a fascinating topic. In principle, it appears to be a waste of energy. However, it turns out that - extracellularly - some cytoplasmic proteins (CPs) exert a completely different function such as contributing to pathogenicity or evasion of the immune system. Such CPs have been referred to as 'moonlighting' proteins. ECP is boosted by many endogenous or external factors that impair the membrane or cell wall structure...
November 12, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Hildegard Uecker
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 22, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Graham Bell, Craig MacLean
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 22, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Shuliang Chen, Serena Bonifati, Zhihua Qin, Corine St Gelais, Li Wu
SAMHD1 is a host triphosphohydrolase that degrades intracellular deoxynucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs) to a lower level that restricts viral DNA synthesis, and thus prevents replication of diverse viruses in nondividing cells. Recent progress indicates that SAMHD1 negatively regulates antiviral innate immune responses and inflammation through interacting with various key proteins in immune signaling and DNA damage-repair pathways. SAMHD1 can also modulate antibody production in adaptive immune responses. In this review, we summarize how SAMHD1 regulates antiviral immune responses through distinct mechanisms, and discuss the implications of these new functions of SAMHD1...
October 15, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Andreea Molnar
Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly global problem that requires different approaches to be undertaken. This article argues that games could be used to complement existing antibiotic-resistance awareness campaigns as they have several characteristics that could help people engage with information.
October 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Samuel Kilcher, Martin J Loessner
Viruses of bacteria (bacteriophages or phages) are highly evolved nanomachines that recognize bacterial cell walls, deliver genetic information, and kill or transform their targets with unparalleled specificity. For a long time, the use of genetically modified phages was limited to phage display approaches and fundamental research. This is mostly because phage engineering has been a complex and time-consuming task, applicable for only a few well characterized model phages. Recent advances in sequencing technology and molecular biology gave rise to rapid and precise tools that enable modification of less-well-characterized phages...
October 12, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Brindar K Sandhu, Shonna M McBride
Clostridioides difficile is a spore-forming, anaerobic, intestinal pathogen that causes severe diarrhea that can lead to death. In 2011, C. difficile infected ∼500000 people in the USA and killed ∼29000 people. C. difficile infection (CDI) is the most common healthcare-related infection in the USA, leading to increased healthcare costs of $4.8 billion. This pathogen transmits via the oral-fecal route as a highly contagious and resilient spore. Upon exposure to primary bile acids in the intestine, C. difficile germinates, and in the absence of colonization resistance from the normal microbiota, the bacterium colonizes the colon and produces toxins...
October 5, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Alexis J Bick, Janet P Hapgood
Persistence of the latent reservoir remains a challenge to curing HIV infection. Using shRNA screening, new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying latency regulation indicate that the estrogen receptor is a potent repressor of proviral reactivation and may serve as a promising therapeutic target in combination with other latency-reversing agents.
October 3, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Luis L P daSilva, Gonzalo A Mardones
Nef is a major pathogenic factor of human and simian immunodeficiency viruses that hijacks protein trafficking through physical interaction with vesicle coats. This alters the subcellular localization of proteins involved in immunity and neutralizes their function. Understanding the structural bases for these interactions could reveal new targets for antiviral intervention.
October 1, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Kimberly M Davis, Ralph R Isberg
It has been known for decades that individual cells within pathogenic bacterial populations have reduced antibiotic susceptibility, which is linked to decreased metabolic rates. A similar phenomenon occurs with virulence-associated proteins, as reduced expression is associated with increased fitness of individual cells. Non-producers within the population can benefit from the virulence proteins produced by others in the population without suffering a fitness cost, thus maintaining a genetically uniform population...
September 19, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Nandhini Saranathan, Perumal Vivekanandan
G-quadruplexes (G4s) are noncanonical nucleic acid secondary structures formed by guanine-rich DNA and RNA sequences. In this review we aim to provide an overview of the biological roles of G4s in microbial genomes with emphasis on recent discoveries. G4s are enriched and conserved in the regulatory regions of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Importantly, G4s in hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) genomes modulate genes crucial for virus replication. Recent studies on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) shed light on the role of G4s within the microbial transcripts as cis-acting regulatory signals that modulate translation and facilitate immune evasion...
September 14, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Shumpei Watanabe, Yuta Shirogane, Yuma Sato, Takao Hashiguchi, Yusuke Yanagi
Measles virus (MeV) may persist in the brain, causing fatal neurodegenerative diseases, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, and measles inclusion-body encephalitis. However, the mechanism of MeV propagation in the brain remains unexplained because human neurons affected by the diseases do not express the known receptors for MeV. Recent studies have revealed that certain changes in the ectodomain of the MeV fusion (F) protein play a key role in MeV spread in the brain. These changes destabilize the prefusion form of the F protein and render it hyperfusogenic, which in turn allows the virus to propagate in neurons...
September 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Hanne L P Tytgat, Franklin L Nobrega, John van der Oost, Willem M de Vos
Bacterial communities are known to impact human health and disease. Mixed species biofilms, mostly pathogenic in nature, have been observed in dental and gastric infections as well as in intestinal diseases, chronic gut wounds and colon cancer. Apart from the appendix, the presence of thick polymicrobial biofilms in the healthy gut mucosa is still debated. Polymicrobial biofilms containing potential pathogens appear to be an early-warning signal of developing disease and can be regarded as a tipping point between a healthy and a diseased state of the gut mucosa...
September 12, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Antonio Gregorio Dias Junior, Natalia G Sampaio, Jan Rehwinkel
Induction of interferons during viral infection is mediated by cellular proteins that recognise viral nucleic acids. MDA5 is one such sensor of virus presence and is activated by RNA. MDA5 is required for immunity against several classes of viruses, including picornaviruses. Recent work showed that mutations in the IFIH1 gene, encoding MDA5, lead to interferon-driven autoinflammatory diseases. Together with observations made in cancer cells, this suggests that MDA5 detects cellular RNAs in addition to viral RNAs...
September 7, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Michelle Meyer, Delphine C Malherbe, Alexander Bukreyev
Testing vaccine efficacy against the highly lethal Ebola virus (EBOV) in humans is almost impossible due to obvious ethical reasons and the sporadic nature of outbreaks. For such situations, the 'animal rule' was established, requiring the product be tested in animal models, expected to predict the response observed in humans. For vaccines, this testing aims to identify immune correlates of protection, such as antibody or cell-mediated responses. In the wake of the 2013-2016 EBOV epidemic, and despite advancement of promising candidates into clinical trials, protective correlates remain ambiguous...
September 7, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Francois Balloux, Ola Brønstad Brynildsrud, Lucy van Dorp, Liam P Shaw, Hongbin Chen, Kathryn A Harris, Hui Wang, Vegard Eldholm
Hospitals worldwide are facing an increasing incidence of hard-to-treat infections. Limiting infections and providing patients with optimal drug regimens require timely strain identification as well as virulence and drug-resistance profiling. Additionally, prophylactic interventions based on the identification of environmental sources of recurrent infections (e.g., contaminated sinks) and reconstruction of transmission chains (i.e., who infected whom) could help to reduce the incidence of nosocomial infections...
September 4, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Nathan T Porter, Ana S Luis, Eric C Martens
This infographic on Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (Bt) explores the ability of this microbe to digest a broad array of complex carbohydrates, alter its surface features, and its emerging role in gastrointestinal diseases. The infographic of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (Bt) illustrates two key facets of its symbiotic lifestyle in the human gut: a broad ability to digest dietary fiber polysaccharides and host glycans, and a dynamic cell-surface architecture that promotes both interactions with and evasion of the host immune system...
September 4, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Patrick A de Jonge, Franklin L Nobrega, Stan J J Brouns, Bas E Dutilh
The host range of a bacteriophage is the taxonomic diversity of hosts it can successfully infect. Host range, one of the central traits to understand in phages, is determined by a range of molecular interactions between phage and host throughout the infection cycle. While many well studied model phages seem to exhibit a narrow host range, recent ecological and metagenomics studies indicate that phages may have specificities that range from narrow to broad. There is a growing body of studies on the molecular mechanisms that enable phages to infect multiple hosts...
September 1, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
M R Gillings, M Westoby, T M Ghaly
Pollution is the dissemination of material that has harmful effects. Mobile DNA elements and antibiotic-resistance genes are being disseminated into the environment via human activity, and are increasingly being viewed as serious pollutants. These pollutants differ from conventional contaminants in important ways: they can replicate, and they can evolve.
August 28, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Clare M Smith, Christopher M Sassetti
The outcome of chronic infections is highly variable. The heterogeneous disease outcomes in natural populations differ from genetically homogeneous infection models. Here, we use tuberculosis as a 'case study' to contrast the genetic landscape in natural populations with standard infection models, discussing new strategies to bridge this gap.
August 27, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
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