Microbe Magazine

July 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

  • Progress with Biofuels Will Depend on, Drive Microbiology Research
    Author: Carol Potera

    Several millennia before van Leeuwenhoek first saw microorganisms in the 18th century, ordinary people depended on them for making useful products, including alcoholic beverages, bread, cheese, and yogurt. Now national leaders in major industrial countries, including the United States, are lookin... More...

  • Microbial Energizers: Fuel Cells That Keep on Going
    Image of Author: Derek R. Lovley

    Has this happened to you? You have a layover between flights, would like to use your computer and cell phone, but both sets of batteries are drained and the nearby electrical outlets are being used. What if you could instead recharge your electronic devices with a little sugar from the nearby cof... More...

  • Manipulation of Single Molecules in Living Bacteria
    Image of Author: Berenike Maier

    Starting in the 1980s, researchers began to realize the long-standing dream of studying individual molecules, particularly proteins. With a growing number of specialized techniques to use, researchers can now manipulate and visualize individual molecules and thus study mechanical unfolding and re... More...


  • and Its Phage: Surprising Dynamics In Soil
    Image of Author: Marcia Stone

    Bacillus anthracis in soil is nowhere near so quiescent as some scientists think, say Raymond Schuch and Vincent A. Fischetti of Rockefeller University in New York City, who challenge the long-held belief that B. anthracis safely sequester as spores outside their mamm... More...

  • Triclocarban, an Antibacterial Agent in Soaps, Leads a Double Life

    Triclocarban, a widely used antibacterial ingredient of hand soaps, persists through standard wastewater treatments and thus is being widely disseminated on agricultural and other lands, according to Rolf U. Halden of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Md., and his... More...

  • Phage Provide Templates for Fashioning Conductive Nanowires
    Author: David Holzman

    Angela M. Belcher and her collaborators at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge are using genetically engineered viruses to build durable nanowires for use in highly miniaturized electrodes. These wires could be used as key components in specialized lithium ion batteries to po... More...

  • Rice Gene Precariously Balances Fertility against Disease Resistance

    Expression of a single disease resistance gene in rice, designated xa13, helps to tip the balance between fertility of the plants and their ability to withstand microbial pathogens, according to an international group of researchers led by Shiping Wang of Huazhong Agricultural University i... More...

  • Delving into Traditional Chinese Medicine To Seek “New” Drug Structures
    Image of Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    Traditional medicines from China and India deserve a careful review, particularly for their value as “scaffolds” for developing new drug products, including antimicrobial agents, according to Norton Peet, an international research and development consultant who is based in North Andover, Mass. Th... More...

  • Oral, Plant-Based Vaccine against Shiga Toxin Effective in Mice
    Author: Brian Hoyle

    An orally administered, plant-produced, inactivated version of the Escherichia coli Shiga toxin protects mice against hemolytic uremic syndrome, according to Alison O'Brien of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md., and her collaborators. The... More...

  • IOM Panel Sees No Easy Way To Reuse Face Masks If Flu Pandemic Hits

    There is no simple, reliable way to decontaminate face masks, meaning these devices cannot readily be worn more than once in the event of a major influenza outbreak or pandemic, according to a panel convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academies in Washington, D.C. (<... More...

  • Cells Produce an Extraordinarily Potent Adhesive
    Author: Carol Potera

    Caulobacter crescentus, a gram-negative bacterium that is widely distributed in aquatic environments, makes an extraordinary adhesive—for now, considered the strongest of biological origin and also exceeding the shear strength of some commercial super glues, according to bac... More...

  • Distinctive Quorum Sensing in Yeast

    Like many types of bacteria, yeast cells communicate among themselves through quorum sensing, according to Hao Chen and Gerald Fink of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. However, the mechanistic details of this chemically mediated self-control pathway in Saccharomyce... More...

  • Environments Profoundly Shape Bacterial Gene Expression Patterns
    Author: David Holzman

    Bacterial species adapt to new environments by changing gene expression much more than by changing the genes themselves, according to L. Aravind of the National Center for Biotechnology (NCB), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.; M. Madan Babu, who is visiting the NCB, and Sarah Teichman... More...



  • ASM Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences

    Ten ASM members are among the 72 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The Academy announced the new members on 25 April 2006.

  • American Academy of Microbiology
  • Education Board

  • Escape from the Intestine? New Clues in an Ongoing Mystery
    Image of

    Rotavirus-induced gastroenteritis can kill children in developing countries. Earlier, rotavirus protein was detected in blood, weakening the dogma that replication is restricted to the intestine. Now Mary K. Estes of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex., and others show that infectious rotav... More...

  • Genetics Strongly Influences Susceptibility to TB
    Image of

    The primary host cells for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) are mature tissue macrophages. The specific host response pathways allowing M. tuberculosis to inhabit macrophages and the host cell factors that underlie the M. tuberculosis-macrophage interplay are largely unknown. ... More...

  • Regulatory Genes Control Fatty Acid Catabolism in Filamentous Fungi

    The breakdown of fatty acids is important in the metabolism, development, and pathogenicity of many fungi. Earlier, Michael J. Hynes and colleagues of the University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, identified a regulatory protein (FacB) that turned on genes specific for growth on acetate as a... More...

  • Safer Irrigation With Reclaimed Water

    It has recently been estimated that worldwide, 20 million hectares of farmland are irrigated with raw, treated, and/or partially diluted wastewater. “If not managed appropriately, this practice can pose unacceptable risks to human health, especially through contamination via pathogenic microorgan... More...

  • Reverse Transcription Followed by Gene Conversion Can Excise Introns from Genome

    The mechanism and implications of change in the exon-intron structure of genes are a poorly understood aspect of genome evolution. Recent work on intron gain, loss, and conservation in metazoan, plant, and fungal lineages has shown that gene structure is a slowly evolving phylogenetic character, ... More...

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