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Current Opinion in Microbiology

Stephen C Whisson, Petra C Boevink, Shumei Wang, Paul Rj Birch
Late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, is a major global disease of potato and tomato. Cell biology is teaching us much about the developmental stages associated with infection, especially the haustorium, which is a site of intimate interaction and molecular exchange between pathogen and host. Recent observations suggest a role for the plant endocytic cycle in specific recruitment of host proteins to the Extra-Haustorial Membrane, emphasising the unique nature of this membrane compartment...
October 7, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Kumaran S Ramamurthi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 5, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Mona W Orr, Michael Y Galperin, Vincent T Lee
Bacteria utilize a diverse set of nucleotide second messengers to regulate cellular responses by binding macromolecular receptors (RNAs and proteins). Recent studies on cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) have shown that this signaling molecule binds multiple receptors to regulate different steps in the same biological process. We propose this property of the same molecule regulating multiple steps in the same process is biologically meaningful and have termed this phenomenon 'sustained sensing'. Here, we discuss the recent findings that support the concept of sustained sensing of c-di-GMP levels and provide additional examples that support the utilization of sustained sensing by other second messengers...
October 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Alessandra da Silva Dantas, Kathy K Lee, Ingrida Raziunaite, Katja Schaefer, Jeanette Wagener, Bhawna Yadav, Neil Ar Gow
Candida albicans is a commensal coloniser of most people and a pathogen of the immunocompromised or patients in which barriers that prevent dissemination have been disrupted. Both the commensal and pathogenic states involve regulation and adaptation to the host microenvironment. The pathogenic potential can be downregulated to sustain commensalism or upregulated to damage host tissue and avoid and subvert immune surveillance. In either case it seems as though the cell biology of this fungus has evolved to enable the establishment of different types of relationships with the human host...
September 28, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Romain Mercier, Tâm Mignot
In living organisms, cooperative cell movements underlie the formation of differentiated tissues. In bacteria, Myxococcus xanthus uses cooperative group movements, to predate on prey and to form multicellular fruiting bodies, where the cells differentiate into dormant spores. Motility is controlled by a central signaling Che-like pathway, Frz. Single cell studies indicate Frz regulates the frequency at which cells reverse their direction of movement by transmitting signals to a molecular system that controls the spatial activity of the motility engines...
September 17, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Mariana X Byndloss, Fabian Rivera-Chávez, Renée M Tsolis, Andreas J Bäumler
Work on type III or type IV secretion systems (T3SSs or T4SSs) is often focused on elucidating how these sophisticated bacterial virulence factors manipulate host cell physiology to cause disease. But to fully understand their role in pathogen biology, it is important to consider whether the morbidity or mortality they trigger is somehow linked to enhancing communicability of the microbe. Recent work on Salmonella enterica and Brucella abortus provide captivating examples of how manipulation of host cells with T3SSs or T4SSs instigates distant downstream consequences that promote spread of the pathogen...
September 9, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Jie Xiao, Erin D Goley
In most bacteria, cell division relies on the functions of an essential protein, FtsZ. FtsZ polymerizes at the future division site to form a ring-like structure, termed the Z-ring, that serves as a scaffold to recruit all other division proteins, and possibly generates force to constrict the cell. The scaffolding function of the Z-ring is well established, but the force generating function has recently been called into question. Additionally, new findings have demonstrated that the Z-ring is more directly linked to cell wall metabolism than simply recruiting enzymes to the division site...
September 9, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Martin Zoltner, David Horn, Harry P de Koning, Mark C Field
Pathogenic protozoa are evolutionarily highly divergent from their metazoan hosts, reflected in many aspects of their biology. One particularly important parasite taxon is the trypanosomatids. Multiple transmission modes, distinct life cycles and exploitation of many host species attests to great prowess as parasites, and adaptability for efficient, chronic infection. Genome sequencing has begun uncovering how trypanosomatids are well suited to parasitism, and recent genetic screening and cell biology are revealing new aspects of how to control these organisms and prevent disease...
September 9, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
L M De Pablos, T R Ferreira, P B Walrad
The successful progression of Leishmania spp. through their lifecycle entails a series of differentiation processes; the proliferative procyclic promastigote forms become quiescent, human-infective metacyclic promastigotes during metacyclogenesis in the sandfly vector, which then differentiate into amastigotes during amastigogenesis in the mammalian host. The progression to these infective forms requires two components: environmental cues and a coordinated cellular response. Recent studies have shown that the Leishmania cellular transformation into mammalian-infective stages is triggered by broad changes in the absolute and relative RNA and protein levels...
September 9, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Robert H Vass, Rilee D Zeinert, Peter Chien
Cell growth requires the removal of proteins that are unwanted or toxic. In bacteria, AAA+ proteases like the Clp family and Lon selectively destroy proteins defined by intrinsic specificity or adaptors. Caulobacter crescentus is a gram-negative bacterium that undergoes an obligate developmental transition every cell division cycle. Here we highlight recent work that reveals how a hierarchy of adaptors targets the degradation of key proteins at specific times during this cell cycle, integrating protein destruction with other cues...
August 17, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Leanne M Taylor-Smith, Robin C May
The global burden of fungal infections is unacceptably high. The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes cryptococcosis and accounts for a significant proportion of this burden. Cryptococci undergo a number of elaborate interactions with their hosts, including survival and proliferation within phagocytes as well as dissemination to the central nervous system and other tissues. In this review we highlight a number of exciting recent advances in the field of cryptococcal biology. In particular we discuss new insights into cryptococcal morphology and its impact on virulence, as well as describing novel findings revealing how cryptoccoci may 'talk' to each other...
August 11, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Alexandra Matei, Gunther Doehlemann
Ustilago maydis is a well-established model system for biotrophic fungal plant pathogens. The fungus has a dimorphic life cycle with a yeast-like saprophytic phase switching to filamentous, pathogenic growth upon hyphal fusion. Due to its highly differentiated development and the amenability for reverse-genetics U. maydis provides a model system for both fungal cell biology as well as the study of biotrophic plant interaction. The present article highlights key findings in different aspects of cell biology on the corn smut disease and provides an outlook on the most intriguing open questions...
August 6, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Matthew Howell, Pamela Jb Brown
Polar growth is the predominant mode of cell wall extension in the Actinobacteria and the alphaproteobacterial clade Rhizobiales. The observation of polar elongation in taxonomically diverse bacteria suggests that polar growth may have evolved independently. Indeed, the regulatory mechanisms governing the assembly of cell wall biosynthesis machinery at the pole are distinct in the Actinobacteria and Rhizobiales. Here we highlight recent advances in our understanding of polar growth mechanisms in bacteria, with an emphasis on Streptomyces and Agrobacterium...
August 6, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Elin Einarsson, Showgy Ma'ayeh, Staffan G Svärd
Giardia intestinalis is a non-invasive protozoan parasite infecting the upper small intestine causing acute, watery diarrhea or giardiasis in 280 million people annually. Asymptomatic infections are equally common and recent data have suggested that infections even can be protective against other diarrheal diseases. Most symptomatic infections resolve spontaneously but infections can lead to chronic disease and treatment failures are becoming more common world-wide. Giardia infections can also result in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and food allergies after resolution...
August 6, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Jatin Narula, Masaya Fujita, Oleg A Igoshin
Successful execution of differentiation programs requires cells to assess multitudes of internal and external cues and respond with appropriate gene expression programs. Here, we review how Bacillus subtilis sporulation network deals with these tasks focusing on the lessons generalizable to other systems. With feedforward loops controlling both production and activation of downstream transcriptional regulators, cells achieve ultrasensitive threshold-like responses. The arrangement of sporulation network genes on the chromosome and transcriptional feedback loops allow coordination of sporulation decision with DNA-replication...
August 5, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Arturo Aguilar-Rojas, Jean-Christophe Olivo-Marin, Nancy Guillen
The pathogenic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica is able to migrate within various compartments of the human body. The present article reviews progress in understanding the mechanisms of cell motility in E. histolytica during human intestinal invasion and, in particular, how the three-dimensional characteristics of the environment regulate the parasite's behaviour. The amoeboid mode of migration that applies to E. histolytica's displacements on two-dimensional surfaces is also expected to apply to the three-dimensional environment in the human intestine although several unknown, distinct modalities may be involved...
August 4, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Sara D Siegel, Jun Liu, Hung Ton-That
The Gram-positive cell envelope serves as a molecular platform for surface display of capsular polysaccharides, wall teichoic acids (WTAs), lipoteichoic acids (LTAs), lipoproteins, surface proteins and pili. WTAs, LTAs, and sortase-assembled pili are a few features that make the Gram-positive cell envelope distinct from the Gram-negative counterpart. Interestingly, a set of LytR-CpsA-Psr family proteins, found in all Gram-positives but limited to a minority of Gram-negative organisms, plays divergent functions, while decorating the cell envelope with glycans...
August 3, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Pierre Simon Garcia, Jean-Pierre Simorre, Céline Brochier-Armanet, Christophe Grangeasse
Bacterial cell division is achieved by a dynamic protein complex called the divisome. The accurate placement of the divisome, and more specifically that of the tubulin-like protein FtsZ which forms the contractile Z-ring at mid-cell, is finely regulated by different mechanisms tailored to each bacterial class. To give rise to two viable daughter cells with the same genetic heritage and cell shape, Streptococcus pneumoniae uses an original system that relies on the membrane protein MapZ. This system is required for identifying the division site as well as positioning the Z-ring at mid-cell...
August 3, 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Ralf Takors, Víctor de Lorenzo
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Michael J Pucci, Thomas J Dougherty
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
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