Microbe Magazine

August 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

  • Cards of Virulence and the Global Virulome for Humans
    Image of Author: Arturo Casadevall

    Pathogenic microbes can be put into two general categories: those acquired from the environment and those acquired from other humans and animals. Microbes that are acquired from the environment typically can survive in environmental niches and also in their hosts. In contrast, microbes acquired f... More...

  • Evolutionary Bioinformatics: Making Meaning of Microbes, Molecules, Maps
    Image of Authors: John R. Jungck, Noppadon Khiripet, Rawin Viruchpinta, and Jutarat Maneewattanapluk

    Evolution is key to our understanding the deluge of data being generated by massive DNA sequencing efforts, microarray analyses of gene expression, high-throughput structural biochemistry, proteomics, and systems biology. Yet much of contemporary bioinformatics is viewed simply as the province of... More...

  • Mycobacteria and Macrophage Apoptosis: Complex Struggle for Survival
    Image of Authors: Luiz E. Bermudez, Lia Danelishvili, and Julie Early

    Although distinct, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium both infect and survive in host macrophages. M. tuberculosis is more virulent, specifically adapted to humans, and grows poorly outside of the host. In contrast, M. avium can survive in the environme... More...


  • Novel Pentacyclic from Soils Blocks Bacterial Fatty Acid Synthesis
    Image of Author: Carol Potera

    A promising candidate from a novel class of antimicrobials acts by targeting an enzyme needed for making bacterial cell membranes and effectively inhibits drug-resistant pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to scientists at Merck & Co. in Rahway, N... More...

  • FDA Approves Vaccine To Protect against Papillomavirus

    Officials of The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June approved a vaccine, called Gardasil, to protect women between 9 and 26 years of age against human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infections, which cause genital warts and are a risk factor for cervical cancer, are the most common sexually tra... More...

  • Great Variety Seen across and among Microbial Signaling Systems
    Author: David Holzman

    “Environmental sensing and signal transduction mechanisms in bacteria are far more complex and diverse than we ever suspected [by] studying just one organism at a time,” says Michael Y. Galperin of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. Moreover, they differ substantially from t... More...

  • Better Sense of Bacterial Sensing Mechanisms

    Sensory receptors assemble into a cooperative lattice on a bacterial cell's surface to amplify changes in external molecular concentrations as small as 0.1% as part of the chemotaxis system, according to chemist Brian Crane of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and his collaborators. When a... More...

  • AAM Says Probiotics Have Spotty Past, but Bright Future
    Author: Merry R. Buckley

    Although probiotics could become an important class of medical treatments, rigorous research and clinical trials are needed to validate these potentially therapeutic and preventative products, according to a recent report from the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). The report is based on a c... More...

  • Systems Approach Depicts how Responds to Metal Fluxes

    Global transcriptional fluxes and other system-wide analyses of Halobacterium NRC-1 provide a holistic picture of how this archaeon responds to changes of six transition metals, paving the way to development of a systems-scale model, according to Nitin Baliga of the Institute for Systems B... More...

  • Make Fast Food of Gram-Negative Bacteria
    Image of Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    Midgety but free-swimming, fast-moving, and wide-ranging, the Bdellovibrio bacteria and their near relatives, the Micavibrio, are voracious consumers—obligate predators—of gram-negative bacteria. This predatory disposition, which some experts call an “ancient behavior,” while fascin... More...

  • Some Sexual and Social Oddities in Interplay of Viruses and their Hosts

    WO-B viruses indirectly manipulate the reproductive capacity of the jewel wasp, Nasonia vitripennis, according to Seth Bordenstein of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass., and his collaborators. They do so by interfering with the ability of symbiotic Wolbachia... More...

  • Eukaryotes Apparently Appeared Far Earlier, about When Archaea Arose
    Author: David Holzman

    Eukaryotes apparently arose before, not after, cyanobacteria began supplying oxygen to the atmosphere 2.3 billion years ago, and they persisted despite the subsequent 100-million-year cold spell that iced the planet from the poles to the equator, according to Roger Buick of the University of Wash... More...


  • ASM Journals to “Publish Ahead of Print”

    In the near future, ASM's primary research journals will post online PDF versions of manuscripts that have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication but not yet copyedited. This new feature will be called “Accepts” and will be accessible from the ASM journals website (http://journals.a... More...

  • ASM's Global Laboratory Capacity Building

    ASM signed a Cooperative Agreement (CoAg) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November 2005 for capacity-building assistance for global HIV/AIDS microbiology laboratories in support of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiatives. This four-yea... More...

  • Expands Scope and Assumes New Title to Reflect Changes
    Author: Jeffrey J. Byrd

    Microbiology Education (ME), in its seventh year of publication, will build on its preeminent reputation to become the leading biology education journal. ME, published in MicrobeLibrary.org, showcases scholarly articles by educators researching student learning in the... More...

  • 2006 ICAAC Young Investigator Awards
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    The 2006 ICAAC Young Investigator Awards recognize and reward four early-career scientists for their research excellence and potential in microbiology and infectious diseases. Since 1983, two awards have been supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Merck, U.S. Human Health Division, w... More...

  • ASM Report
  • Membership
    Author: Willis A. Wood
  • Call for Abstracts and Travel Grant Applications: 2006

    The ASM Education Department is currently accepting abstracts and travel grant applications for the 2006 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). ABRCMS is designed to encourage students to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and provide... More...


  • New Angiogenesis Gene
    Image of

    Autotaxin (ATX) has long been an enigmatic exo-phosphodiesterase that promotes tumor cell motility and metastasis. Four years ago, researchers discovered that ATX is in fact a phospholipase D that generates a lipid growth factor, “lysophosphatidic acid” (LPA). However, the roles of ATX and LPA in... More...

  • How Coxsackievirus Hides from the Immune System
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    Coxsackieviruses cause substantial human disease. But the immune system attacks them only weakly. J. Lindsay Whitton et al. of the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., hypothesized this happens because antigen presentation is inhibited because the virus disrupts host protein trafficking.... More...

  • Experimental Vaccine Protects Against Multiple Serotypes
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    Vaccines to prevent bacterial disease are hobbled by the inability to prevent infections on top of preventing disease, the inability to produce immunity against multiple serotypes, and the inability to distinguish immunized from naturally infected animals using serological tests. Also troubling: ... More...

  • Housekeeping a Major Chore
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    Genome maintenance—faithful replication, monitoring of integrity, and repair—is a major task for every organism. Alan D. Grossman and colleagues of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge show that mRNA levels of more than 10% of the genes of Bacillus subtilis change in resp... More...

  • Two Pathways Appear Important in Anaerobic Biodegradation of Alkanes

    In bioremediation of petroleum spills, while the action of aerobic organisms on alkane-type hydrocarbons is well known, and often involves terminal oxidation of the alkane to fatty acid products, it has been less clear to what extent anaerobes contribute to biodegradation of alkanes and related a... More...

  • Novel, Hard-To-Detect β-Lactamase Described

    Among Enterobacteriaceae, β-lactamases such as TEM-1 and SHV-1 are the most prevalent mechanism of acquired resistance to β-lactams. These β-lactamases hydrolyze penicillins and narrow-spectrum cephalosporins. To thwart them, β-lactam antibiotics resistant to the hydrolysis, such as expand... More...


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