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Trends in Microbiology

Xiu Jia, Francisco Dini-Andreote, Joana Falcão Salles
Our planet teems with microorganisms that often present a skewed abundance distribution in a local community, with relatively few dominant species coexisting alongside a high number of rare species. Recent studies have demonstrated that these rare taxa serve as limitless reservoirs of genetic diversity, and perform disproportionate types of functions despite their low abundances. However, relatively little is known about the mechanisms controlling rarity and the processes promoting the development of the rare biosphere...
March 14, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
James A Tsatsaronis, Sandra Franch-Arroyo, Ulrike Resch, Emmanuelle Charpentier
Both extracellular RNAs and extracellular vesicles (EVs) have recently garnered attention as novel mediators of intercellular communication in eukaryotes and prokaryotes alike. EVs not only permit export of RNA, but also facilitate delivery and trans-kingdom exchange of these and other biomolecules, for instance between microbes and their hosts. In this Opinion article, we propose that EV-mediated export of RNA represents a universal mechanism for interkingdom and intrakingdom communication that is conserved among bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic microbes...
March 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Katherine S Xue, Louise H Moncla, Trevor Bedford, Jesse D Bloom
The rapid global evolution of influenza virus begins with mutations that arise de novo in individual infections, but little is known about how evolution occurs within hosts. We review recent progress in understanding how and why influenza viruses evolve within human hosts. Advances in deep sequencing make it possible to measure within-host genetic diversity in both acute and chronic influenza infections. Factors like antigenic selection, antiviral treatment, tissue specificity, spatial structure, and multiplicity of infection may affect how influenza viruses evolve within human hosts...
March 10, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Sean G Mack, Randi L Turner, Daniel J Dwyer
The dramatic spread and diversity of antibiotic-resistant pathogens has significantly reduced the efficacy of essentially all antibiotic classes, bringing us ever closer to a postantibiotic era. Exacerbating this issue, our understanding of the multiscale physiological impact of antimicrobial challenge on bacterial pathogens remains incomplete. Concerns over resistance and the need for new antibiotics have motivated the collection of omics measurements to provide systems-level insights into antimicrobial stress responses for nearly 20 years...
March 9, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Ariel Amir, Nathalie Q Balaban
For many decades, the wedding of quantitative data with mathematical modeling has been fruitful, leading to important biological insights. Here, we review some of the ongoing efforts to gain insights into problems in microbiology - and, in particular, cell-cycle progression and its regulation - through observation and quantitative analysis of the natural fluctuations in the system. We first illustrate this idea by reviewing a classic example in microbiology - the Luria-Delbrück experiment - and discussing how, in that case, useful information was obtained by looking beyond the mean outcome of the experiment, but instead paying attention to the variability between replicates of the experiment...
March 8, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Jian Sun, Huimin Zhang, Ya-Hong Liu, Youjun Feng
Antibiotic resistance has become a global public health priority. Polymyxins, a family of cationic polypeptide antibiotics, act as a final line of refuge against severe infections by Gram-negative pathogens with pan-drug resistance. Unfortunately, this last-resort antibiotic has been challenged by the emergence and global spread of mobilized colistin resistance determinants (mcr). Given the fact that it has triggered extensive concerns worldwide, we present here an updated view of MCR-like colistin resistance...
March 7, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Jennifer B H Martiny, Kendra E Walters
Despite the enormous diversity of bacteria, a recent study reveals that soils are globally dominated by a small list of taxa. Characterizing the traits of these bacteria offers the potential for predicting functional differences among soil communities.
March 6, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Max Teplitski, Marcos de Moraes
Outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness, linked to the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and sprouts, continue to capture the attention of the general public and scientists. The recurrence of these outbreaks, despite heightened producer and consumer awareness, combined with improved sanitation protocols and technology, can be explained by the hypothesis that enteric pathogens, such as nontyphoidal Salmonella spp. and enterovirulent Escherichia coli, have evolved to exploit plants as alternative hosts. This review explores the genetic and genomic context for this hypothesis...
March 1, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Holger Daims, Michael Wagner
In this infographic, the key metabolic functions of Nitrospira and the role that these bacteria play in nitrification and other processes in the environment is shown. Nitrospira plays pivotal roles in nitrification as an aerobic chemolithoautotrophic nitrite-oxidizing bacterium. These bacteria often occur in close association with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria or archaea that convert ammonia to nitrite, which is further oxidized to nitrate by Nitrospira. However, in 'reciprocal feeding' interactions, Nitrospira can also provide ammonia oxidizers with ammonia released from urea or cyanate, which is further nitrified as described above...
February 28, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Gail Teitzel
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 28, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Chiaho Shih, Ching-Chun Yang, Gansukh Choijilsuren, Chih-Hsu Chang, An-Ting Liou
This infographic about hepatitis B virus explores its replication cycle, natural history of infection and pathogenesis, and how this can be controlled and treated. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a common worldwide blood-borne pathogen. Chronic hepatitis B can progress to an inactive carrier state, and then, in some patients, give rise to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver, leading to death. An HBV surface-antigen vaccine is effective, but treatments are currently not curative. HBV replicates via reverse transcription...
February 27, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 27, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Laurie Pinaud, Philippe J Sansonetti, Armelle Phalipon
Microbial pathogens possess a diversity of weapons that disrupt host homeostasis and immune defenses, thus resulting in the establishment of infection. The best-characterized system mediating bacterial protein delivery into target eukaryotic cells is the type III secretion system (T3SS) expressed by Gram-negative bacteria, including the human enteric pathogens Shigella, Salmonella, Yersinia, and enteropathogenic/enterohemorragic Escherichia coli (EPEC/EHEC). The emerging global view is that these T3SS-bearing pathogens share similarities in their ability to target key cellular pathways such as the cell cytoskeleton, trafficking, cell death/survival, and the NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways...
February 21, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Ludmila Chistoserdova, Marina G Kalyuzhnaya
Methylotrophy is a field of study dealing with microorganisms capable of utilization of compounds devoid of carbon-carbon bonds (C1 compounds). In this review, we highlight several emerging trends in methylotrophy. First, we discuss the significance of the recent discovery of lanthanide-dependent alcohol dehydrogenases for understanding both the occurrence and the distribution of methylotrophy functions among bacteria, and then we discuss the newly appreciated role of lanthanides in biology. Next, we describe the detection of other methylotrophy pathways across novel bacterial taxa and insights into the evolution of methylotrophy...
February 19, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Sonja-Verena Albers, Ken F Jarrell
Each of the three domains of life exhibits a unique motility structure: while Bacteria use flagella, Eukarya employ cilia, and Archaea swim using archaella. Since the new name for the archaeal motility structure was proposed, in 2012, a significant amount of new data on the regulation of transcription of archaella operons, the structure and function of archaellum subunits, their interactions, and cryo-EM data on in situ archaellum complexes in whole cells have been obtained. These data support the notion that the archaellum is evolutionary and structurally unrelated to the flagellum, but instead is related to archaeal and bacterial type IV pili and emphasize that it is a motility structure unique to the Archaea...
February 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
John M Atack, Aimee Tan, Lauren O Bakaletz, Michael P Jennings, Kate L Seib
A wide variety of bacterial pathogens express phase-variable DNA methyltransferases that control expression of multiple genes via epigenetic mechanisms. These randomly switching regulons - phasevarions - regulate genes involved in pathogenesis, host adaptation, and antibiotic resistance. Individual phase-variable genes can be identified in silico as they contain easily recognized features such as simple sequence repeats (SSRs) or inverted repeats (IRs) that mediate the random switching of expression. Conversely, phasevarion-controlled genes do not contain any easily identifiable features...
February 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Benoit Chassaing, Eric Cascales
The intestinal microbiota plays an important role in health, particularly in promoting intestinal metabolic capacity and in maturing the immune system. The intestinal microbiota also mediates colonization resistance against pathogenic bacteria, hence protecting the host from infections. In addition, some bacterial pathogens deliver toxins that target phylogenetically related or distinct bacterial species in order to outcompete and establish within the microbiota. The most widely distributed weapons include bacteriocins, as well as contact-dependent growth inhibition and type VI secretion systems...
February 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Alex Hopke, Alistair J P Brown, Rebecca A Hall, Robert T Wheeler
Deadly infections from opportunistic fungi have risen in frequency, largely because of the at-risk immunocompromised population created by advances in modern medicine and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This review focuses on dynamics of the fungal polysaccharide cell wall, which plays an outsized role in fungal pathogenesis and therapy because it acts as both an environmental barrier and as the major interface with the host immune system. Human fungal pathogens use architectural strategies to mask epitopes from the host and prevent immune surveillance, and recent work elucidates how biotic and abiotic stresses present during infection can either block or enhance masking...
February 13, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Paulo Durão, Roberto Balbontín, Isabel Gordo
Antibiotics target essential cellular functions but bacteria can become resistant by acquiring either exogenous resistance genes or chromosomal mutations. Resistance mutations typically occur in genes encoding essential functions; these mutations are therefore generally detrimental in the absence of drugs. However, bacteria can reduce this handicap by acquiring additional mutations, known as compensatory mutations. Genetic interactions (epistasis) either with the background or between resistances (in multiresistant bacteria) dramatically affect the fitness cost of antibiotic resistance and its compensation, therefore shaping dissemination of antibiotic resistance mutations...
February 10, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
Cécile Morlot, Christopher D A Rodrigues
The transport of proteins across the bacterial cell envelope is mediated by protein complexes called specialized secretion systems. These nanomachines exist in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and have been categorized into different types based on their structural components and function. Interestingly, multiple studies suggest the existence of a protein complex in endospore-forming bacteria that appears to be a new type of specialized secretion system. This protein complex is called the SpoIIIA-SpoIIQ complex and is an exception to the categorical norm since it appears to be a hybrid composed of different parts from well-defined specialized secretion systems...
February 2, 2018: Trends in Microbiology
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