Category Archives: Microbiology

Viruses: Friends, Foes, Change Agents

In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in. Continue reading

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Gene editing eradicates HIV-1

More than three decades after the discovery of HIV, AIDS remains a major public health problem affecting greater than 35.3 million people worldwide. Current antiretroviral therapy fails to eradicate HIV infection, partly due to the persistence of virus reservoirs. A … Continue reading

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Hospital superbug not monitored by government Doctors are unsure…

Hospital superbug not monitored by government

Doctors are unsure how many patients have been killed by carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae.

Hospitals in England are not required to officially report infections of a “superbug” capable of resisting our most powerful antibiotics. Cases of “carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae” (CPE) have shown a sharp rise. Public Health England said a lack of mandatory reporting made assessing the true extent of the problem difficult.

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The Secret Life of Virus Glycoproteins Viruses have developed…

The Secret Life of Virus Glycoproteins

Viruses have developed remarkable mechanisms to inhibit the adaptive and innate immune systems of their hosts. Clearly, viral entry glycoproteins play critical roles in these activities. However, many of these roles and biological pathways are poorly defined. With new infectious diseases emerging and classical viral diseases reemerging, closer examination of viral entry glycoproteins as targets for preventative or therapeutic strategies is warranted.

http://www.microbiologybytes.com/blog/2013/05/20/the-secret-life-of-virus-glycoproteins/ 

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Billions of dollars later and still no AIDS vaccine With the…

Billions of dollars later and still no AIDS vaccine

With the next attempts expected to be years away, top researchers now say there is a “void” or a “gap” in current clinical-trial efforts to test whether a vaccine is safe and effective. An autopsy on the past four big bids to make an HIV vaccine has informed the field as to what does not work, the latest casualty being a trial of HVTN 505 that was halted early because it did not prevent HIV. “It leaves us with a gap of several years before we [can expect to] have another HIV vaccine-efficacy trial under way and that is unfortunate,” said James Kublin, executive director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

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Posted in Microbiology

Integrins modulate the infection efficiency of West Nile…

Integrins modulate the infection efficiency of West Nile virus

West Nile virus (WNV) is a small, enveloped, single-stranded RNA virus in the family Flaviviridae. In the natural transmission cycle WNV circulates between mosquitoes as vectors and birds as reservoir hosts. WNV can infect a wide taxonomical range of vertebrate species but most of them do not sufficiently support virus replication for transmission. Disease symptoms rarely occur, except in humans and horses where WNV infections are frequently accompanied by a mild fever (West Nile fever), which occasionally results in the development of neurological disorders with fatal outcome.

The cellular receptors and determinants that mediate entry of WNV are unclear to date. The notable ability of WNV to infect a broad range of species (mosquitoes, reptiles, birds and mammals), and virtually every in vitro cell line is supposed to be related to cellular proteins, relevant for virus entry and replication, which are highly conserved among divergent host species.

By using integrin knock-out cell lines which lack the particular integrin subunits, this study demonstrate that the presence of αv-, β1- or β3-integrins is not required for the attachment of four different WNV strains to the cell surface.

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Posted in Microbiology

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs “I can tell you the…

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs

“I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a laboratory located at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome — that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body. These bacteria, which number around 100 trillion, are living (and dying) right now on the surface of my skin, on my tongue and deep in the coils of my intestines, where the largest contingent of them will be found, a pound or two of microbes together forming a vast, largely uncharted interior wilderness that scientists are just beginning to map.”

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Posted in Microbiology

Asymptomatic carriage of Mycoplasma pneumoniae common in…

Asymptomatic carriage of Mycoplasma pneumoniae common in children

Remember Koch’s Postulates? These are the four criteria designed to establish a causal relationship between a causative microbe and a disease, 

The bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae is carried at high rates in the upper respiratory tracts of healthy children and usual diagnostic tests cannot differentiate between such asymptomatic carriage and actual respiratory tract infection, according to a new study. These findings are important as they suggest that clinicians may need to reconsider the clinical significance of a positive test result for the presence of this bacterium.

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Posted in Microbiology

Free online course: Introduction to Water Treatment

Free online course: Introduction to Water Treatment Continue reading

Posted in Microbiology