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June 2010

Surprising Infection-Inducing Mechanism Found in Bacteria


Research appearing in Nature, with the participation of doctors Susana Campoy and Jordi Barbé from the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at UAB, demonstrates that bacteria have a surprising mechanism to transfer virulent genes, causing infections. The research describes an unprecedented evolutionary adaptation and could contribute to finding new ways of treating and preventing bacterial infections.

Pathogenic genes are responsible for making bacteria capable of causing diseases. These genes cause bacteria to produce specific types of toxins and determine whether or not a disease will later develop in an individual. These virulent genes can be passed from one bacteria to another if the genome segments containing them, known as pathogenicity islands, are transferred from one to another.

Quickly Evolving Bacteria Could Improve Digestive Health


When the forces of evolution took over an experimental strain of bacteria, it derailed an experiment Duke and North Carolina State researchers thought they were conducting, but led to something much more profound instead.

The researchers used a colony of mice raised in a large plastic bubble, called an isolator, that was completely sterile, lacking even a single bacterium. They introduced a single type of bacteria into the mouse colony, but it mutated quickly into different types, making new bacteria that were hardier inside of the mice than the original bacterium was.

Overcoming Anthrax Bacterium's Natural Defenses Could Hold Key to New Treatments


Army scientists have discovered a way to "trick" the bacterium that causes anthrax into shedding its protective covering, making it easier for the body's immune system to mount a defense. The study, which appears in this month's issue of the journal Microbiology, could lead to new approaches for treating anthrax infection.

Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is particularly lethal because of its protective coating, or capsule, which enables the pathogen to escape destruction by the host's immune system. A key bacterial enzyme called capsule depolymerase, or CapD, anchors the capsule to the cell surface. CapD also cuts and releases part of the capsule into small fragments that are thought to interfere with specific parts of the immune system, offering further protection to the bacterium. The rest of the capsule remains intact.

Bone Marrow to enahance Immune response

Bone Marrow Plays Critical Role in Enhancing Immune Response to Viruses


Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine for the first time have determined that bone marrow cells play a critical role in fighting respiratory viruses, making the bone marrow a potential therapeutic target, especially in people with compromised immune systems. They have found that during infections of the respiratory tract, cells produced by the bone marrow are instructed by proteins to migrate to the lungs to help fight infection. The data are published in the current issue of Cell Host & Microbe.



By neighbourhood film societies to create awareness about Lyme infections 

Event details: Documentary Film Series UNDER OUR SKIN at The Ridgefield ...


The Ridgefield Playhouse Film Society Documentary Film Series presents UNDER OUR SKIN

An eye-opening and controversial film about the epidemic of Lyme disease which has touched all of our lives. The Film Society and the Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force have collaborated to bring UNDER OUR SKIN, the Oscar "Short List" and multiple award-winning documentary, to raise awareness and stimulate discussion about this pervasive topic.

UNDER OUR SKIN is directed by Andy Abrahams Wilson, whose interest in the illness developed when his sister suffered from Lyme disease; an epidemic that has become bigger than AIDS. Even though the disease is destroying countless lives every year, it has unfortunately been the most misdiagnosed ailment around the world.

Restanza to be effective against gonorrhea

Advanced Life Sciences Expands Collaboration with U.S. Government to Study Restanza(TM) as Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections - Preclinical data shows Restanza to be effective against gonorrhea

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New Steps Toward a Universal Flu Vaccine


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Researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine have developed a novel influenza vaccine that could represent the next step towards a universal influenza vaccine eliminating the need for seasonal immunizations. They report their findings today in the inaugural issue of mBio™, the first online, open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology.

"Current influenza vaccines are effective against only a narrow range of influenza virus strains. It is for this reason that new vaccines must be generated and administered each year. We now report progress toward the goal of an influenza virus vaccine which would protect against multiple strains," says Peter Palese, an author on the study.


Posted on the OSN SuperSite May 25, 2010

Resistance to antibiotics is a growing concern for ophthalmology

ROME — The prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is increasing worldwide, and several strategies should be implemented to delay or prevent this from occurring among ocular isolates, according to a presenter here.

Microbial Rope Trick

Some viruses become so large that other viruses can infect them, tiny super-specialized parasites piggy-backing their genetic code on their huge cousins.Others simply fail, their patchwork genomes not up to the challenges of the environment.  The Marseillevirus, the fifth largest virus ever found, has stolen ten percent of its chromosomes from bacteria it once infected, and another five percent from the amoebic host of the party.  It's even infiltrated other giant viruses, taking parts of the mimivirus for its own purposes. An interesting report here.

It is a microbial rope-trick! According to this report, researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) have discovered that several species of microbes, at least one found prominently in the deserts of the American Southwest, have evolved the trait of rope-building to lasso shifting soil substrates.

Another report citing a National Geographic News item says that scientists have determined that colorful cave deposits found on the walls of lava tubes, long thought to be ordinary minerals, are actually mats of waste excreted by previously unknown types of microbes, a discovery that offer clues in the search for life on Mars and beyond.

Another report cites a new research that scientists have found that ant farmers, like their human counterparts, depend on nitrogen-fixing bacteria to make their gardens grow. They swim, they dance, they waltz, they strut, swagger and sashay! Bacteria dance the electric slide, officially named electrokinesis, in a new study by USC geobiologists.

New Research



Common vaccine for multiple strains – a revolutionary breakthrough is on the anvil

Remember the scramble for stockpiling the H1N1 vaccine at the height of the recent outbreak of the epidemic? Such crisis situations during emergencies might not be as severe if the recent advances further progress towards the development of a universal flu vaccine.

Researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine have developed a novel influenza vaccine that could represent the next step towards a universal influenza vaccine eliminating the need for seasonal immunizations. They report their findings today in the inaugural issue of mBio™, the first online, open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology.

"There is now hope, sustained by knowledge and technology, for the generation of broadly protective universal vaccines restricted to species or groups of closely related pathogens," they write reports this news item [1]dated 19 May 2010 in Infection Control Today.