Category Archives: Microbiology

How many bacteria?

I’ve asked the question How many different bacterial species are there on this blog before. It seems that we may be approaching an answer. A census of species of Archaea and Bacteria published recently showed that, despite ever-increasing sequencing efforts, … Continue reading

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Emerging Paramyxoviruses – Receptor Tropism and Zoonotic Potential

Emerging infectious disease events are dominated by zoonoses: infections that are naturally transmissible from animals to humans or vice versa. A worldwide survey of ~5,000 bat specimens identified 66 novel paramyxovirus species – more than double the existing total within … Continue reading

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HTLV-1 Replication: An Update

I spent more than 10 years working on HTLV, the first human retrovirus to be discovered, but it was a long time ago (propably before most of the people reading this now were born :-) It’s good to get an … Continue reading

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Towards a cure for herpesvirus infection with CRISPR/Cas9

Most adults carry multiple herpesviruses. Following the initial acute infection, these viruses establish life-long infections in their hosts and cause cold sores, keratitis, genital herpes, shingles, infectious mononucleosis, and other diseases. Some herpesviruses can cause cancer in man. During the … Continue reading

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Virtual Simulations as Preparation for Lab Exercises

As an alternative to tutorials, virtual laboratory simulations represent a new way of preparing students for hands on exercises, such as laboratory work, and various computer based technologies are now being recognized as enabling reform of laboratory teaching practice. The … Continue reading

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How soil bacteria escape sticky root traps

Plant root tips are covered by a protective sleeve of loosely attached border cells that can release a matrix containing proteins, polysaccharides, and DNA. In animal immune systems, extracellular DNA forms the backbone of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) deployed by … Continue reading

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The Feat of Packaging Eight Unique Genome Segments

Influenza A viruses harbor a segmented RNA genome that is organized into eight distinct viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complexes. Although a segmented genome may be a major advantage to adapt to new host environments, it comes at the cost of a … Continue reading

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Zika virus, the new kid on the block

As Europe “welcomes” Zika virus*, this short introduction by Maria Zambon is highly readable, and essential for anyone who’s been hiding under a rock for the past six months.   Zika virus, the new kid on the block. Euro Surveill. … Continue reading

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How prions kill neurons

Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative disorders that cause memory loss, impaired coordination, and abnormal movements. The molecular culprit in prion diseases is PrPSc, an infectious isoform of a host-encoded glycoprotein (PrPC) that can propagate itself by a self-templating mechanism. Whether … Continue reading

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