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Current Opinion in Microbiology

Matteo Rossi, Nicolas Fasel
In nature, humans infected with protozoan parasites can encounter viruses, which could alter their host immune response. The impact of viruses on human parasitic diseases remains largely unexplored due to the highly sterilized environment in experimental studies and the difficulty to draw a correlation between co-infection and pathology. Recent studies show that viral infections exacerbate pathology and promote dissemination of some Leishmania infections, based on a hyper-inflammatory reaction driven by type I interferons...
August 7, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Katri Korpela, Willem M de Vos
Microbes colonising the infant intestine, especially bacteria, are considered important for metabolic and immunological programming in early life, potentially affecting the susceptibility of the host to disease. We combined published data to provide a global view of microbiota development in early life. The results support the concept that the microbiota develops with age in an orchestrated manner, showing common patterns across populations. Furthermore, infants are colonised at birth by specific, selected maternal faecal bacteria and likely their bacteriophages...
August 4, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Benjamin VanderSluis, Michael Costanzo, Maximilian Billmann, Henry N Ward, Chad L Myers, Brenda J Andrews, Charles Boone
Systematic experimental approaches have led to construction of comprehensive genetic and protein-protein interaction networks for the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetic interactions capture functional relationships between genes using phenotypic readouts, while protein-protein interactions identify physical connections between gene products. These complementary, and largely non-overlapping, networks provide a global view of the functional architecture of a cell, revealing general organizing principles, many of which appear to be evolutionarily conserved...
July 27, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Anupriya Tripathi, Clarisse Marotz, Antonio Gonzalez, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, Se Jin Song, Amina Bouslimani, Daniel McDonald, Qiyun Zhu, Jon G Sanders, Larry Smarr, Pieter C Dorrestein, Rob Knight
Hypothesis-driven research has led to many scientific advances, but hypotheses cannot be tested in isolation: rather, they require a framework of aggregated scientific knowledge to allow questions to be posed meaningfully. This framework is largely still lacking in microbiome studies, and the only way to create it is by discovery-driven, tool-driven, and standards-driven research projects. Here we illustrate these issues using several such non-hypothesis-driven projects from our own laboratories, including spatial mapping, the American Gut Project, the Earth Microbiome Project (which is an umbrella project integrating many smaller hypothesis-driven projects), and the knowledgebase-driven tools GNPS and Qiita...
July 27, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Catherine Mooser, Mercedes Gomez de Agüero, Stephanie C Ganal-Vonarburg
Considering the increasing list of diseases linked to the commensal microbiota, experimental studies of host-microbe interactions are of growing interest. Axenic and differently colonized animal models are inalienable tools to study these interactions. Factors, such as host genetics, diet, antibiotics and litter affect microbiota composition and can be confounding factors in many experimental settings. The use of gnotobiotic mice harboring defined microbiotas of different complexity plus additional housing standardization have thus become a gold standard to study the influence of the microbiome on the host...
July 26, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Michael Rm Ranieri, Cynthia B Whitchurch, Lori L Burrows
Biofilms are a typical mode of growth for most microorganisms and provide them with a variety of survival benefits. Biofilms can pose medical and industrial challenges due to their increased tolerance of antimicrobials and disinfectants. Exposure of bacteria to subinhibitory concentrations of those compounds can further exacerbate the problem, as they provoke physiological changes that lead to increased biofilm production and potential therapeutic failure. The protected niche of a biofilm provides conditions that promote selection for persisters and resistant mutants...
July 24, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Didier Gonze, Katharine Z Coyte, Leo Lahti, Karoline Faust
Nowadays, microbial communities are frequently monitored over long periods of time and the interactions between their members are explored in vitro. This development has opened the way to apply mathematical models to characterize community structure and dynamics, to predict responses to perturbations and to explore general dynamical properties such as stability, alternative stable states and periodicity. Here, we highlight the role of dynamical systems theory in the exploration of microbial communities, with a special emphasis on the generalized Lotka-Volterra (gLV) equations...
July 21, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Michael Kriss, Keith Z Hazleton, Nichole M Nusbacher, Casey G Martin, Catherine A Lozupone
Dysbiosis, an imbalance in microbial communities, is linked with disease when this imbalance disturbs microbiota functions essential for maintaining health or introduces processes that promote disease. Dysbiosis in disease is predicted when microbiota differ compositionally from a healthy control population, but only truly defined when these differences are mechanistically related to adverse phenotypes. For the human gut microbiota, dysbiosis varies across diseases. One common manifestation is replacement of the complex community of anaerobes typical of the healthy adult gut microbiome with a community of lower overall microbial diversity and increased facultative anaerobes...
July 20, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Wilmes Paul, Calatayud Marta, Van de Wiele Tom
While animal models remain essential for inferring causality, they exhibit important limitations, which restrict the direct translation of findings into new approaches aimed at steering host-microbe interactions for the improvement of human health. Different in vitro models have therefore been developed which incorporate human cell types and microbiota. By virtue of their intricate designs, these models result in human and microbial read-outs reflective of in vivo gut physiology, and present important alternatives to animal models...
July 18, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
James C Stegen, Eric M Bottos, Janet K Jansson
Microbiomes impact nearly all systems on Earth, and despite vast differences among systems, we contend that it is possible and highly beneficial to develop a unified conceptual framework for understanding microbiome dynamics that is applicable across systems. The ability to robustly predict and control environmental and human microbiomes would provide impactful opportunities to sustain and improve the health of ecosystems and humans alike. Doing so requires understanding the processes governing microbiome temporal dynamics, which currently presents an enormous challenge...
July 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Lay-Sun Ma, Clément Pellegrin, Regine Kahmann
Pathogenic and symbiotic filamentous microbes secrete effectors which suppress host immune responses and promote a successful colonization. Pathogen effectors are engaged in the arms race with their hosts and because of this they are subject to intense evolutionary pressure. Effectors particularly prone to rapid evolution display repeat-containing domains which can easily expand or contract and accumulate point mutations without altering their original function. In this review we address the diversity of function in such repeat-containing effectors, focus on new findings and point out avenues for future work...
June 18, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Omer Weissbrod, Daphna Rothschild, Elad Barkan, Eran Segal
Recent studies indicate that the gut microbiome is partially heritable, motivating the need to investigate microbiome-host genome associations via microbial genome-wide association studies (mGWAS). Existing mGWAS demonstrate that microbiome-host genotype associations are typically weak and are spread across multiple variants, similar to associations often observed in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of complex traits. Here we reconsider mGWAS by viewing them through the lens of GWAS, and demonstrate that there are striking similarities between the challenges and pitfalls faced by the two study designs...
June 14, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Geert Rb Huys, Jeroen Raes
With the vast majority of the microbial world still considered unculturable or undiscovered, microbiologists not only require more fundamental insights concerning microbial growth requirements but also need to implement miniaturized, versatile and high-throughput technologies to upscale current microbial isolation strategies. In this respect, single-cell-based approaches are increasingly finding their way to the microbiology lab. A number of recent studies have demonstrated that analysis and separation of free microbial cells by flow-based sorting as well as physical stochastic confinement of individual cells in microenvironment compartments can facilitate the isolation of previously uncultured species and the discovery of novel microbial taxa...
June 13, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Dainan Mao, Bethany K Okada, Yihan Wu, Fei Xu, Mohammad R Seyedsayamdost
The explosion of microbial genome sequences has shown that bacteria harbor an immense, largely untapped potential for the biosynthesis of diverse natural products, which have traditionally served as an important source of pharmaceutical compounds. Most of the biosynthetic genes that can be detected bioinformatically are only weakly expressed, or not at all, under standard laboratory growth conditions. Herein we review three recent approaches that have been developed for inducing these so-called silent biosynthetic gene clusters: insertion of constitutively active promoters using CRISPR-Cas9, high-throughput elicitor screening for identification of small molecule inducers, and reporter-guided mutant selection for creation of overproducing strains...
June 5, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Eric L Bruger, Christopher J Marx
Genome sequencing has revolutionized studies using experimental evolution of microbes because it readily provides comprehensive insight into the genetic bases of adaptation. In this perspective we discuss applications of sequencing-based technologies used to study evolution in microbes, including genomic sequencing of isolated evolved clones and mixed evolved populations, and also the use of sequencing methods to follow the fate of introduced variations, whether neutral barcodes or variants introduced by genome editing...
June 4, 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Alberto Scoma, Julia A Vorholt
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Ariane Briegel, Stephan Uphoff
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Lesley A Earl, Veronica Falconieri, Sriram Subramaniam
Over the past few years, the advances in technology and methods that have revolutionized cryo-EM are allowing for key insights in a variety of areas in biology, and microbiology is no exception. A wide range of important macromolecular assemblies in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, as well as intact viruses, have now become accessible to investigation by new methods in 3D electron microscopy. We focus here on selected examples that illustrate this breadth, and review the application of methods in single particle cryo-EM and cryo-electron tomography to progress in the structural biology of CRISPR systems, visualization of small molecule drugs in membrane proteins, in situ visualization of bacterial nanomachines, and the analysis of antigen-antibody interactions to drive vaccine design...
June 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Nathalie Aulner, Anne Danckaert, Julien Fernandes, Marie-Anne Nicola, Pascal Roux, Audrey Salles, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Spencer L Shorte
We consider in review current state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy for investigating the host-pathogen interface. Our perspective is honed from years with literally thousands of microbiologists using the variety of imaging technologies available within our dedicated BSL2/BSL3 optical imaging research service facilities at the Institut Pasteur Paris founded from scratch in 2001. During fifteen years learning from the success and failures of introducing different fluorescence imaging technologies, methods, and technical development strategies we provide here a synopsis review of our experience to date and a synthesis of how we see the future in perspective for fluorescence imaging at the host-pathogen interface...
June 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Laurent Potvin-Trottier, Scott Luro, Johan Paulsson
Bacteria have molecules present in low and fluctuating numbers that randomize cell behaviors. Understanding these stochastic processes and their impact on cells has, until recently, been limited by the lack of single-cell measurement methods. Here, we review recent developments in microfluidics that enable following individual cells over long periods of time under precisely controlled conditions, and counting individual fluorescent molecules in many cells. We showcase discoveries that were made possible using these devices in various aspects of microbiology, such as antibiotic tolerance/persistence, cell-size control, cell-fate determination, DNA damage response, and synthetic biology...
June 2018: Current Opinion in Microbiology
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