Tag: Microbes and More

Take two E. coli and call me in the morning: Synthetic bacterial memory circuits enable microbial diagnostics for sensing biomolecules in the gut

Millions of people take capsules of probiotics with the goal of improving their digestion, but what if those bacteria were also able to detect diseases in the gut and indicate when something is awry? New research from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (HMS) has created an effective, non-invasive way to

How inhaled fungal spores cause fatal meningitis

Pathogenic fungal spores capitalize on host immune cells to escape the lung and gain access to the brain to cause fatal disease in mice, according to a study published June 27 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Christina Hull of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues. These insights into the interactions between pathogenic fungal

Widely available antibiotics could be used in the treatment of ‘superbug’ MRSA

Some MRSA infections could be tackled using widely-available antibiotics, suggests new research from an international collaboration led by scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Since the discovery of penicillin, the introduction of antibiotics to treat infections has revolutionised medicine and healthcare, saving millions of lives. However, widespread use (and misuse)

New pathogens in beef and cow’s milk products

According to the DKFZ, they have been detected up to now in cow’s milk, cow’s milk products and the blood serum of healthy cattle. From the scientific findings made up to now, it seems possible that an indirect connection could be interpreted between the consumption of various foods originating from cattle and the occurrence of

Manuka honey to kill drug-resistant bacteria found in cystic fibrosis infections

Manuka honey could provide the key to a breakthrough treatment for cystic fibrosis patients following preliminary work by experts at Swansea University. Dr Rowena Jenkins and Dr Aled Roberts have found that using Manuka honey could offer an antibiotic alternative to treat antimicrobial resistant respiratory infections, particularly deadly bacteria found in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) infections.

How ‘superbug’ E. coli clones take over human gut

A ‘superbug’ clone of E. coli has evolved to prevent itself from becoming so dominant that it could potentially wipe out the bacteria from existence, scientists led by the University of Birmingham have discovered. The researchers investigated how and why a clone of E. coli called ST131 — dubbed a ‘superbug’ because it is resistant

Case of tick-borne relapsing fever in Mexico

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is a recurring fever caused by exposure to infected Borrelia bacteria. Several cases have been reported in Mexico, but the disease gets little attention. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases describe the details of an additional case of TBRF in Sonora, Mexico in 2012. On January 27, 2012, a

New mechanism used by bacteria to evade antibiotics: Surprise survival mechanism could lead to retooled drugs to treat infectious diseases

As bacteria continue to demonstrate powerful resilience to antibiotic treatments — posing a rising public health crisis involving a variety of infections — scientists continue to seek a better understanding of bacterial defenses against antibiotics in an effort to develop new treatments. Now, researchers at the University of California San Diego who combine experiments and

A gut feeling for mental health

The first population-level study on the link between gut bacteria and mental health identifies specific gut bacteria linked to depression and provides evidence that a wide range of gut bacteria can produce neuroactive compounds. Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven) and his team published these results today in the scientific journal Nature Microbiology. In their manuscript entitled

Whopping big viruses prey on human gut bacteria: Largest phages ever found in humans target bacteria associated with hunter-gatherer diets

Viruses plague bacteria just as viruses like influenza plague humans. Some of the largest of these so-called bacteriophages have now been found in the human gut, where they periodically devastate bacteria just as seasonal outbreaks of flu lay humans low, according to a new study led by University of California, Berkeley, scientists. These “megaphages” —

Herpes viruses and tumors evolved to learn how to manipulate the same ancient RNA: Findings could have implications for drugs and insight into diseases like Alzheimer’s

Herpes viral infections use the ancient genetic material found in the human genome to proliferate, mimicking the same process tumors have been found to manipulate, Mount Sinai researchers have shown for the first time. These observations provide further insight about how herpes viruses can manipulate the immune system in ways that may drive neurodegenerative diseases

Engineers repurpose wasp venom as an antibiotic drug

The venom of insects such as wasps and bees is full of compounds that can kill bacteria. Unfortunately, many of these compounds are also toxic for humans, making it impossible to use them as antibiotic drugs. After performing a systematic study of the antimicrobial properties of a toxin normally found in a South American wasp,

Taking out the (life-threatening) garbage: Bacteria eject trash to survive: ‘Minicell’ pods, used in drug delivery, discard damaged proteins to prolong life

Scientists have known for decades that certain bacteria produce small spherical versions of themselves. Although they lack basic materials to reproduce or function like normal cells, recent interest in such “minicells” has spiked due to their proficiency as nano-sized delivery tools for drugs and vaccines to targeted cells and tissues. Yet the natural role of

Viruses under the microscope

Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects almost all of the human population, but only very few will show any symptoms during their lifetime: HHV-6 is one of the most widespread viruses among the population. Between 95 and 100 percent of healthy adults have antibodies to the virus which means that they have been infected at some

New technique reveals how Zika virus interacts inside our cells: Discovery could enable development of new anti-viral therapies

Scientists have developed a new technique that can determine how viruses interact with a host’s own RNA. As well as providing insight into how viruses direct the host cell to create new virus particles, this technique, published today in Nature Methods, could allow researchers to design artificial molecules capable of blocking the virus replication process

Superbugs jumping frequently between humans and animals

The MRSA staphylococcus is an example of a pathogen, the likes of which are often called superbugs. These are resistant to most antibiotics and can cause serious infections. “In the case of MRSA, these bacteria have also spread in hospitals almost world-wide,” says Jukka Corander, professor at the University of Helsinki, who was a member

How hungry bacteria sense nutrients in their environment

University of Leicester researchers have shed new light on how bacteria sense nutrients in their environment — a finding that could provide important knowledge in the development of drugs and antibiotics to combat a range of diseases including tuberculosis. The research team, led by Dr Helen O’Hare from the University of Leicester’s Department of Infection,

Gene study pinpoints superbug link between people and animals

Scientists have shed light on how a major cause of human and animal disease can jump between species, by studying its genes. The findings reveal fresh insights into how new disease-causing strains of the bacteria — called Staphylococcus aureus — emerge. Experts say the research could help improve the use of antibiotics and design better