Microbe Magazine

April 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

  • Microbial Ecology: Searching for Principles
    Image of Author: Allan Konopka

    Modern microbial ecology spans approximately 50 years. Although Martinus Beijerinck and Sergei Winogradsky both thought about ecological niches in the early part of the 20th century, they approached the challenge by trying to cultivate microbes under simulated natural conditions. Hence, I conside... More...

  • It's a Bug's Life — Specimen Collection, Transport, and Viability
    Image of Author: Frank Wegerhoff

    Microbial specimens need to be properly collected and transported to ensure the recovery of pathogens for subsequent analysis. Simply stated, a “bug's life” is of paramount importance, but without giving due consideration to its “life support” system, the chances of recovering it in a viable... More...

  • Can Hijack the Self-Destruct System of Macrophages
    Image of Authors: Marina Santic', and Yousef Abu Kwaik

    Cells of all invertebrate and vertebrate multicellular organisms, including nematodes, insects, amphibians, and mammals, are programmed to self-destruct through a process called apoptosis. This process of morphological disintegration is orderly and, under ordinary circumstances, is strictly regul... More...


  • New Phage Image Analysis Unveils Structural and Mechanistic Surprises
    Image of Author: David Holzman

    A powerful new imaging analysis method provides very high-resolution pictures of intact bacteriophage, revealing details about how they infect their bacterial hosts, according to Wen Jiang, now of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., Wah Chiu of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Tex., ... More...

  • Polio Eradication Program May Be Back on Track

    The global polio eradication program appears to be back on track, according to officials of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, Rotary International, UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. Early this year, they declared two more nations, Egypt... More...

  • Protective Mask Shortages Worrying Officials Anticipating Pandemic Flu
    Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    As they contemplate an influenza pandemic, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies worry not only about developing a vaccine and stockpiling antiviral drugs but also about possible shortages of key items such as masks and respirators that could hi... More...

  • Malaria Parasites Found in Mammalian Lymph Nodes

    After Plasmodium-carrying mosquitoes bite mice, some of the parasites remain in the skin and about 25% of the parasites invade nearby lymphatic vessels and nodes, according to Howard Hughes Medical International scholar Robert Ménard of the Pasteur Institute of Paris, France. Although immu... More...

  • Progress Developing, Using Various Vaccines
    Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    Amid laments about difficulties developing antimicrobial drugs, investigators evince some frustration but often more celebration regarding vaccine development. Despite unmet challenges, progress can be measured on many fronts, according to experts who described vaccines to protect against malaria... More...

  • Technique Could Help To Identify Novel Antibacterial Targets
    Image of Author: Brian Hoyle

    A new “predator-prey” system can help in identifying infection-critical genes of bacterial pathogens such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and also which mutants are less capable of producing pneumonia in mice, according to Mohammed Benghezal and his colleagues from the compan... More...

  • USDA Approves First Vaccine Made in Plant Cells

    Officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) late in January approved the first vaccine that is produced in plant cells—in this case, to protect poultry against the virus responsible for Newcastle disease, which can cause symptoms affecting the respiratory and nervous systems or gastroi... More...

  • Bacteria, Plant Viruses Unexpectedly Plentiful, Active in GI Tracts
    Author: Carol Potera

    Despite being bathed by acids, Helicobacter pylori thrives in the stomach, and RNA viruses such as Norwalk virus and rotavirus, which both cause gastroenteritis, withstand this inhospitable chamber and their passage through the lower gastrointestinal tract (GI). After probing this niche fo... More...

  • FDA Approves CDC-Developed, PCR-Based Test for Identifying Avian Flu

    Officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early in February approved a new test for identifying H5 strains of influenza from patients, and thus more quickly determining to test further for whether the strains are of the H5N1 subtype. The test, developed at the Centers for Disease Contro... More...


  • Education Board, APS Collaborate on Publishing Program
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    Eleven minority graduate students and one postdoctoral scientist participated in an intensive 21/2-day pilot program sponsored by the ASM Education Board and the American Physiological Society (APS) to strengthen their skills in writing and reviewing for scientific publications. Prior to attendin... More...

  • Minority Mentoring Program— November 2005 Survey to Online Mentors

    The Minority Mentoring program launched in February 2005 with 79 mentors and grew to 280 by Fall 2005. In November, the Underrepresented Members Committee (UMC) surveyed the online mentors. The survey results were presented to the UMC during its December 2005 retreat and stimulated development of... More...

  • 2006 General Meeting Award Laureates
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    The Committee on Awards is pleased to present part three of a three-part series on the 2006 General Meeting awardees.

  • Education Board
  • International Affairs
    Author: Lêda C. Mendonça-Hagler
  • Membership
    Image of Author: Maya P. Singh

  • New Data on Tat System Might Lead to Novel Antibiotics
    Image of

    Most secreted bacterial proteins exit the cytoplasm via the general secretory (Sec) pathway. Unlike Sec, which is powered by ATP, the more recently discovered Tat system works off of pH differences. Michael L. Vasil and coworkers at the University of Colorado show that in Pseudomonas aeruginos... More...

  • New Pathway for p53-Independent Apoptosis

    Given that the tumor suppressor ARF stabilizes and activates p53, ARF inactivation has been commonly viewed as one of the many means of inactivating the p53 pathway, a sine qua non for mammalian tumorigenesis. Now Steven R. Grossman and coworkers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School,... More...

  • Compound Unblocks Cellular Immune Response to Hepatitis C
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    An estimated 170 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), which in about 80% of cases leads to chronic disease. The current standard of care, pegylated alpha interferon with or without oral Ribavirin, is successful against only about half of infections from the major ge... More...

  • Disinfecting Dirty Dental Water Systems

    Dental unit water systems (DUWS) used to irrigate the oral cavity can be heavily contaminated. Jimmy T. Walker of the Health Protection Agency, Porton Down, United Kingdom, and others found that over 50% of systems sampled in the European Union exceeded current American Dental Association standar... More...

  • Commensal Flora Reduce O157:H7 and Shiga Toxin in Mouse Intestine
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    Shiga toxin (Stx) released during Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection causes a life-threatening complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome, in about 10% of infected children. The toxin is encoded on a lysogenic phage, and expressed during the lytic cycle. Alison A. Weiss of the University of C... More...

  • New Nitrogen Modulating Genes and Their Regulation
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    The movement of ammonium across biological membranes is mediated in prokaryotes and eukaryotes by ammonium transport proteins (AMT/MEP). Having characterized two Aspergillus nidulans AMT/MEP genes, Meryl Davis et al. of the University of Melbourne, Australia, now outline the contributions ... More...


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