Microbe Magazine

May 2016

Cover Image
Cover ImageColored transmission electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA are among the drugresistant pathogens that are drawing researchers to look at how such resistance moves through the environment (see p. 201). (Image © Credit: Biomedical Imaging Unit, Southhampton General Hospital/Science Source.)
Microbe Magazine, Cover Image
Cover ImageColored transmission electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA are among the drugresistant pathogens that are drawing researchers to look at how such resistance moves through the environment (see p. 201). (Image © Credit: Biomedical Imaging Unit, Southhampton General Hospital/Science Source.)
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  • Ink and LED
    Image of Author: Stanley Maloy

    This edition of Microbe magazine marks a new experiment with digital publishing. It is our first online-only edition. It has become common for people to do more and more reading on digital devices, whether reading scientific articles at our desk or catching up with the latest news on our m... More...

  • Antibiotic Resistance Spreads through Diverse Species and Habitats, Part I
    Image of Author: Shannon Weiman

    Antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to spread across the globe—directly affecting human and animal patients while also establishing reservoirs from which those strains continue to emerge long into the future, according to several researchers who spoke during the 2015 ICAAC conference held in S... More...

  • PCR for Everything—Seeking Value in Speed
    Image of Author: Bert K. Lopansri

    In the summer of 2013, a patient arrived in our emergency department with complaints of high fever and abdominal pain. She came to us straight from the airport following her return from a 3-month visit to India. Identified as septic, she was “pan-cultured,” meaning readily obtained fluids and sub... More...


  • Minitopics:Microbiology Policy Bulletin Board

    Recent developments involving microbiology and related science policy matters include:

    • Late in February, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robert Califf to be Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    • ...
  • Infecting Pregnant Mice Disrupts Fetal Brain, Inducing Autism
    Author: Shannon Weiman

    Infecting pregnant mice can activate immune responses that disrupt fetal brain development, causing autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-like syndrome in newborn mice, according to Gloria Choi of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., and her collaborators there and at several other... More...

  • Unexpected Taxa and Mixotrophy Help To “Sink” Carbon in Oceans
    Author: Barry E. DiGregorio

    In nutrient-poor regions of the ocean, several types of “unexpected taxa” are “most strongly associated with carbon export,” according to Lionel Guidi from the CNRS Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer in France and his collaborators. Separately, but also unexpectedly, mixotro... More...


  • Ocean Station ALOHA, University of Hawaii at Mānoa Designated as a Milestones in Microbiology Site
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    Ocean Station ALOHA (A Long-term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment), University of Hawaii (UH) at Mānoa, the microbiological research site 100 km north of Oahu, Hawaii, was officially named a Milestones in Microbiology site by ASM on 17 November 2015, in recognition of its historic and visio... More...

  • Urine Collection, Storage and Preservation Laboratory Practice Survey

    ASM and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are conducting a survey to understand laboratories' current practices related to the collection, storage and preservation of urine for microbiological culture. The goal of the study is to improve the diagnosis and management of pat... More...

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  • Microbe Mentor:Career Activities at ASM Microbe 2016
    Author: Laura Runyen-Janecky

    In our second edition of a two-part series about Microbe 2016, we invited Dr. Laura Runyen-Janecky, Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Richmond, to provide insight on how students and postdocs can navigate the careers activities at Microbe 2016. Here is what she had to sa... More...


  • Tuna Can Harbor Histamine-Producing Bacteria
    Image of Author: David C. Holzman

    Tuna fish may carry bacteria that, even at lowered temperatures, grow and retain histidine decarboxylase (HDC) enzyme activity, raising questions about the potential for those enzymes producing histamines in refrigerated fresh tuna, according to Kristin Björnsdóttir-Butler, of the Gulf Coast Seaf... More...

  • Repurposing Drugs, and Fresh Outcomes from Other Familiar Sources
    Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    In the face of new and emerging infectious disease threats, it is prudent to look back at old or even ancient sources to uncover a drug or entity that might work anew or in a different context, according to several researchers who spoke during the 2016 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Researc... More...

  • Sequencing, Not Culture, Proved Fast Way To Find New Hot Spring Virus
    Image of Author: Carol Potera

    Culture-independent methods are making it possible to discover and partly characterize viruses and their hosts straight from hot springs such as those in Yellowstone National Park (YNP)—short-circuiting the traditional approach that depends on first growing samples in vitro, according to Rebecca ... More...

  • Microbial Communication over the Airwaves
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    Scientists at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, were surprised to discover that an airborne volatile compound released by the bacterium can promote growth of the fungus . First author Be... More...

  • One Drug to Both Sensitize and Kill Drug-Resistant Malaria
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    Researchers at the National University of Singapore in Singapore are working hard to combat chloroquine resistance in , a major cause of malaria. Two newly discovered molecules show promise in simultaneously sensitizing chloroquine-resistant par... More...

  • No Preassembly Required for Shiga Toxin Activity
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    New research out of the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, demonstrates that Shiga toxin does not require preassembly to cause cell toxicity. Shiga toxin is an AB5 toxin produced by , which uses the pentamer of B subunits to me... More...

  • A biofilm model that accounts for cell aggregates
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    A new paper published in mBio addresses the difference between biofilms initiated with single planktonic cells versus those initiated with groups of cell aggregates. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark, the University of Texas in Austin, Tex., and the University of ... More...

  • A Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Like Particle Vaccine Shows Promise
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    Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common viral cause of pneumonia and has no approved vaccine. First author Velasco Cimica, working with lead scientist Jose Galarza, is working to change that with a virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccine. The researchers tested VLPs containing the RS... More...

  • Nonpathogenic Viruses Are Transferred during Fecal Microbiota Transplants
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    Fecal microbiota transplantations (FMTs) are increasingly being used for refractory infections, but scientists at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Penn., have found more than bacteria can be transferred between patients. “We coul... More...

  • New Fish Virus Identified in Tilapia Farms
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    Scientists have found the viral cause of disease outbreaks in tilapia farms and published their results in mBio. Collaborators at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, Columbia University in New York, NY, the New York Genome Center in New York, NY, the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Sco... More...

  • Targeting the Gut Microbiome to Fight Heart Disease
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    Researchers have found that resveratrol, a compound in red wine, reduces the risk of heart disease by altering the gut microbiome. Researchers at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China, found that resveratrol reduces levels of trimethylanime-N-oxide (TMAO), a known contributor ... More...


  • The Postdoc Life
    Author: Cara McDonough

    I am not a scientist. But I've observed a scientist's life—including late-night time points and stress over preliminary exams—since I first started dating my now-husband when he was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina.

  • Reviews and Resources:Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable
    Author: John Ingraham

    This short book, less than 200 pages of text, is a delight. It's not clear for whom it is written. Falkowsky says it's an outreach beyond that of a textbook. I doubt if most of its contents aren't familiar in broad outline to most professional microbiologists, but I'm sure all... More...

  • Reviews and Resources:Metabolism and Bacterial Pathogenesis
    Author: Guido Mora

    I recently had the pleasure of reading this wonderful book. Metabolism and Bacterial Pathogenesis came at the right time, because I work on a human-exclusive pathogen for which some strains collected from patients are auxotrophic, making me wonder: how is it that a pathogen that is very ef... More...

  • Application Deadlines

    American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI) Certification. Certifies the expertise of doctoral-level scientists seeking to direct laboratories engaged in the immunological diagnosis of human disease. ABMLI certification is the highest credential available to pra... More...

  • ASM Meetings Calendar

    19–22 May 2016.

  • Small Things Considered
    Author: Merry Youle

    Bacterial DNA can be damaged by UV radiation, toxins, or by DNA replication error, but bacteria have sophisticated mechanisms to detect and repair such damage. One widely conserved system is the SOS response, which activates a net-work of genes to repair the damage. A key agent in recovery is the... More...


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