Microbe Magazine

February 2006

Cover Image
Cover ImageVaccines are crucial for controlling the spread of influenza, but currently are only effective against a limited mix of strains. A universal vaccine remains elusive, but progress is being made (see p. 433). (Image © James King-Holmes/ Science Source.)
Microbe Magazine, Cover Image

  • Small RNAs in Bacterial Cell-Cell Communication
    Image of Authors: Elisabeth Kay, Cornelia Reimmann, and Dieter Haas

    Many types of free-living bacteria communicate with one another by chemical signals, thereby coordinating metabolic activities and developmental processes. For instance, starved cells of the myxobacterium Myxococcus xanthus release the A signal, a mixture of six amino acids, to promote agg... More...

  • Less Is More: Poxvirus Proteolysis
    Image of Authors: Dennis E. Hruby, and Chelsea M. Byrd

    Before progeny virus particles depart an infected cell, each virion needs to contain viral nucleic acid, accessory proteins, and enzymes within an outer shell before the capsid structure is completed to shield the sensitive cargo from the external environment. One mechanism that many viruses use ... More...

  • Transcriptional Profiling of in Human Blood
    Image of Authors: Chantal Fradin, and Bernhard Hube

    Pathogens may cause several types of diseases in humans, including infections of surfaces or distinct organs. During systemic infections, microbes may distribute through the blood to become life-threatening. Yet, such infections are surprising because the blood ordinarily is sterile in healthy in... More...


  • FDA, Producers Moving toward Mammalian Cell-Based Flu Vaccines
    Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    Manufacturers and officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are planning a major shift in how subunit influenza vaccines are produced—discarding chicken eggs in favor of cultured mammalian cells (Microbe, January 2006, p. 4). Several factors are adding momentum to this pending sh... More...

  • Carbon Dioxide Orchestrates Growth, Virulence of Some Fungi
    Image of Author: Carol Potera

    Carbon dioxide helps to regulate respiration in many species, drives photosynthesis in plants, and serves as an attractant for insects such as mosquitoes. On the microbial level, this gas, which readily hydrates to bicarbonate, governs morphologic changes and other behaviors that affect virulence... More...

  • FDA Approves West Nile Blood, Organ Screening Test

    Officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December approved the Procleix diagnostic test for West Nile virus that was developed by Gen-Probe of San Diego, Calif., and will be marketed by Chiron Corp. of Emeryville, Calif. Since mid-2003, when U.S. blood centers began using this RNA-b... More...

  • Salmonellae Alter Host Responses through Direct T Cell Contacts
    Author: David Holzman

    Salmonella bacteria can disable mammalian T cells, shutting down these key cells of the immune system with a factor that is released only after the bacteria and T cells directly contact one another, according to microbiologist Michael Starnbach of Harvard Medical School in B... More...

  • CDC Proposes New Rules for Quarantines, Other Safeguards against Disease Outbreaks

    Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., last November proposed new safeguards for dealing with infectious diseases, particularly for those affecting international travelers arriving in the United States. The proposals will expand reporting of ill passeng... More...

  • Deep Ice Harbors Plentiful, Culturable, but Ultrasmall Microbes…
    Image of Author: David Holzman

    Most living microbes that were found in an ice core sample from a 3,043-mdeep Greenland glacier are less than 1 μm in size, smaller than typical bacteria that range from 1–10 μm, according to Vanya I. Miteva and Jean E. Brenchley of Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “We detected num... More...

  • Antibiotics Implicated in Emergence of Highly Virulent Strain

    Fluoroquinolone use may be driving the emergence of a particularly virulent strain of Clostridium difficile that causes severe diarrhea and is turning up regionally in parts of the United States and Canada, according to two studies reported in the December 8, 2005, issue of the New Engl... More...

  • …and Marsh-Gas Microbes from Glacial Ice Seem Consistent with Martian Life
    Author: Brian Hoyle

    Samples from 3,053-m-deep ice cores from glacial ice that overlays Greenland contain methanogenic bacteria, whose earthly presence carries interplanetary implications, according to Buford Price and his collaborators from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). They speculate that bacteria, ... More...

  • Moveable ORF Provides Feast for Combing Yeast Genome, Expanding Glycome

    The genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae consists of more than 12 million DNA base pairs, encoding more than 6,600 open reading frames (ORFs). Michael Snyder of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., Elizabeth Grayhack of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and their... More...

  • Reovirus Targets Tumors, Looks Promising in Early Clinical Trials
    Author: Carol Potera

    Reovirus selectively destroys mammalian cells containing activated Ras signaling pathways. Because some two-thirds of human tumors carry such activated pathways, reovirus holds potential for treating cancer, according to Patrick Lee, formerly at the University of Calgary in Alberta, and now at Da... More...


  • Changes in Journal Publication Process Increase Timeliness, Decrease Production Costs

    Following recommendations of the Journals Review Committee and budgetary approval by the Council Policy Committee, several steps are being taken in the journals publication process to decrease production costs, maintain reasonable subscription charges, and deliver content more quickly.

  • International Committee Adopts New Strategic Plan
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    The CPC International Committee (IC) conducted a strategic planning retreat on 26–28 August 2005 at ASM headquarters in Washington, D.C. This was the third such retreat held since the activation of the committee in 1998, and was intended to update the strategic plan adopted in 2001.

  • ABRCMS 2005: Excellent Presentations, Expectations of Inclusion
    Image of Author: Irene Hulede

    Over the span of three days, 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, along with their mentors and recruiters, participated in the 2005 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), held in Atlanta, Ga., 2–5 November.

  • First-and Second-Year Member Survey

    In August and September, the Membership Board conducted a survey to learn more from ASM’s members about their membership experience. Sent to ASM members completing their first and second years of membership, the survey invited them to share their feedback on their level of satisfaction with ASM a... More...

  • ASM Joins the Fight against HIV/AIDS

    ASM has signed a Cooperative Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve the capacity of HIV/AIDS laboratories under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The four-year program, for which ASM was selected through a competitive grant process, h... More...

  • 2006 General Meeting Award Laureates
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    The Committee on Awards is pleased to announce the 2006 General Meeting awardees. Many very worthy nominations were received for each award, making the work of each Award Selection Committee as enjoyable as it was challenging. The Committee on Awards thanks everyone who participated in the awards... More...

  • Education Board
  • Membership
    Image of Author: Eduardo L. Franco

  • RRM Proteins in Trypanosomes: Possible Targets for New Drugs?
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    Leishmania major, Trypanosoma brucei, and Trypanosoma cruzi, all kinetoplastids, cause a range of diseases in the tropics and Europe, such as sleeping sickness and Chagas’ disease. Christine Clayton of the Zentrum Für Molekulare Biologie, Heidelberg, Germany, a... More...

  • New 16S rRNA Methylase Adds to Aminoglycoside Resistance Threat

    Aminoglycosides are yet another front in the battle over antibiotic resistance. Now Yoshichika Arakawa of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, et al. characterize a new plasmidmediated 16S rRNA methylase, RmtC, found in pan-aminoglycoside-resistant Proteus mirabilis clinic... More...

  • Unlike All Other Plk’s, Plk in Not Involved in Mitosis
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    Polo-like kinase (Plk) is involved in control of cell cycle progression and is present in all eukaryotes. Praveen Kumar and Ching C. Wang of the University of California, San Francisco, show that unlike Plk in other eukaryotes, which regulate both mitosis and cell division, Plk in the insect form... More...

  • Human-Inhabiting Methanogen Characterized
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    Total terrestrial methane production is about 1 billion tons/year. Most is produced in anoxic sediments and ruminants, but about 50% of humans are mini-methane producers (don’t laugh). Two archaeal species, Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosphaera stadtmanae, are responsible fo... More...

  • Homolog to Factor Not Involved in Adherence
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    Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) causes infant diarrhea in developing countries, and Citrobacter rodentium causes colonic hyperplasia in mice. When the genome sequence of EPEC was completed, James B. Kaper of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, and others found ... More...

  • Novel Mechanism Maintains Pool of Silent mRNAs for Emergencies

    YB-1 is a broad-specificity RNA-binding protein involved in regulating mRNA expression. But the mechanisms regulating YB-1’s repressor activity have been poorly understood. Now Poul H. B. Sorensen of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and his collaborators lift the veil. “Our studies... More...


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