Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Microbiology

To find zoonotic viruses, researchers seek genomic signatures of virus adaptations to hosts

In light of the ongoing pandemic, researchers have stepped up efforts to identify new zoonotic threats—viruses that could make the leap from animals to humans and cause future epidemics. Studies aiming to identify such viruses often focus on a novel … Continue reading

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Drought causes lasting changes to the rice root microbiome

Beneficial microbes living in and around a crop’s roots could be powerful allies in the fight to keep plants alive through droughts, especially as climate change worsens. But before scientists can harness these microbial partners to make crops more resilient, … Continue reading

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Mutations in metabolic genes can cause antibiotic resistance

A recent study in Science reveals a novel avenue by which genetic changes make bacteria resistant to drugs: mutations in genes involved in cellular metabolism, including some that convert food into energy. “The genes were known; their involvement in metabolism … Continue reading

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Host defenses signal Salmonella to hijack immune cells, spur disease

Immune cells attack dangerous bacteria by engulfing them and then releasing a cascade of defense molecules. But some bacteria, known as intracellular pathogens, have evolved to survive this onslaught and replicate inside immune cells. The result can be Salmonella poisoning … Continue reading

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Intensive agriculture changes the soil microbiome

California rice farms dot the Sacramento Valley, converting native swampland into flooded paddies. The farms change California’s landscape both above ground and below it. A recent study shows in detail how rice plants shape the soil microbiome into a distinctive … Continue reading

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Mouse gut bacteria cure rotavirus infection, pointing to treatment for humans

Despite available vaccines, over 200,000 children die annually from severe diarrhea cause by rotavirus, which infects intestinal cells. A recently published study, facilitated by a research team’s lucky break, suggests bacteria in the mouse gut microbiome could actually help prevent … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Amoeba have long-distance preference for certain bacteria, pointing to other cell-sensing insights

How does the microscopic amoeba track down prey in the vastness of the forest floor? Ample research on the soil amoeba Dicytostelium discoideum, affectionately called “Dicty” by researchers, has provided some clues. But the mechanisms behind long-distance sensing of bacterial … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Being less infectious pays off for lung pathogen

The human body is home to millions of commensal microbes, some of which—given the right circumstances—can cause disease. One such microbe, known as nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), infects the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New screening method promises to reveal elusive cellular receptors for a range of pathogens

The surfaces of human cells are chock-full of proteins that help cells communicate with one another. Unfortunately, many viruses coopt these proteins, latching on in order to enter cells. By revealing which proteins are receptors for which viruses, researchers may … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Drug-resistant microbes could threaten future global economy, low income countries in particular

Antimicrobial resistance is not only a major public health threat, but also an economic one, according to researchers at The World Bank. Their new study, published in the journal World Development, suggests that an increase in drug-resistant microbes could cause … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Mouse microbiome findings offer insights into why a high-fat, low-carb diet helps epileptic children

For nearly a century, doctors have found that a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can limit seizures in children with epilepsy when medications fail. But exactly how this ketogenic diet works has remained largely a mystery. Now, researchers at the University … Continue reading

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