Microbe Magazine

December 2009

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

  • Complexity Apparently Is Not a Barrier to Lateral Gene Transfers
    Author: Uri Gophna

    The capacity of microorganisms for exchanging genetic material horizontally with distantly related species endows them with a source of nearly endless genetic variety. From the clinical perspective, lateral gene transfers (LGT) can generate new pathogens, including the etiologic agents of anthrax... More...

  • Early Steps in Inducing Type III Secretion in Shigella
    Image of Authors: Wendy L. Picking, and William D. Picking

    Gram-negative bacteria have several means for secreting proteins from the cytoplasm to the surrounding milieu. Among them, the type III secretion system (TTSS) proves to be a highly coordinated means for exporting proteins across the inner and outer membranes of bacterial pathogens and the cytopl... More...

  • Using Extremophile Enzymes To Generate Hydrogen for Electricity
    Image of Author: Y.-H. Percival Zhang

    Fast and efficient transportation is an important part of our lives. Thus, liquid fuels with high energy density along with small internal combustion engines are providing a convenient, affordable transportation solution. However, soaring fuel prices, ebbing fuel reserves, accumulating greenhouse... More...


  • Nobel Prizes in 2009 Celebrate Key Insights into Telomeres, Ribosomes…
    Image of Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    While the 2009 Nobel Prizes for Medicine and Chemistry separately celebrate progress in two distinct fields of structural biology, one focused on telomeres at the ends of chromosomes and the other on ribosomes, the research that led to both prizes depended on microorganisms for vital materials an... More...

  • Several Microbially Noteworthy Reports from NAS and IOM

    The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the National Research Council (NRC), all in Washington, D.C., issued several reports of interest to microbiologists in September. They include:

  • … Women 2009 Nobelists Comment on Gender Issues in Science
    Image of Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    When the Nobel Foundation, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden, notifies winners of their new lofty status early each October, its representatives routinely interview those recipients after offering their formal congratulations. New winners, typically caught off-guard, are inclined to be candid i... More...

  • Salmonella Depend on Chemotaxis, Photosynthesis To Invade Lettuce Cells
    Image of Author: David Holzman

    Salmonella bacteria on lettuce penetrate the leaves to enter inner tissues via stomata, while also actively swimming toward photosynthetically produced nutrients, according to Shlomo Sela and other members of an Israeli research team. Although other bacterial plant pathogens... More...

  • Marginal Success for AIDS Vaccine during Clinical Trial in Thailand

    A large-scale clinical trial of a canarypox-based prime-boost vaccine to reduce the risk of HIV infection showed “only a modest benefit” with an efficacy of about 26%, according to Jerome Kim of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Rockville, Md., and his collaborators there and at several o... More...

  • At 49th ICAAC, a Diverse Mix of Novel Antimicrobial Agents
    Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    The diversity of candidate antimicrobial drugs this year is “reassuring” and indicative of the “potential to move forward,” says Karen Bush of Indiana University in Bloomington, referring to a slate of novel compounds described during the 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and C... More...

  • Retrovirus Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    As many as 95% of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome test positive for the retrovirus XMRV, according to Judy Mikovits of the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) for Neuro Immune Disease in Reno, Nev., and her collaborators at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and the Cleveland ... More...

  • Mycobacteria in the Mist
    Image of Author: Marcia Stone

    The showerheads of city dwellers are strongly enriched for Mycobacterium avium, a chlorine-resistant, biofilmforming opportunistic pathogen and its nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) cohorts, according to Norman Pace at the University of Colorado in Boulder and his collaborators. “While ev... More...

  • Nanoparticles Enhance Photodynamic Killing of Bacteria

    Nanoparticles made from porous zeolites and coated with photosensitizers and amino groups provide an enhanced means for killing bacteria with activated oxygen, according to Luisa De Cola at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany, and her collaborators. The nanoparticles bind to bac... More...


  • JMBE 2.0–Coming December 2010

    The Steering Committee of ASM's Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) held a planning retreat on 26–27 September 2009 at ASM headquarters. Although the journal has been in production since 1999, the retreat marked the beginning of a new era for JMBE as t... More...

  • ASM LabCap Microbiology Training Working Group Meeting
    Image of Authors: Wendy Kitson-Piggot, and Valerie Wilson

    Numerous evaluations have identified the challenges faced by resource-limited countries to develop and sustain laboratory diagnostic services that provide consistently efficient and effective services to national populations. These challenges have included lack of training, poor procurement and i... More...

  • XXII National Congress of the Spanish Society for Microbiology

    The Spanish Society for Microbiology (SEM) held its XXII National Congress on 21–24 September 2009 at the University of Almeria in Almeria, Spain, on the Mediterranean coast. President of the Organizing Committee Joaquin Moreno Casco combined a broad range of topics presented through lectures, se... More...

  • Morrison Rogosa Award
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    The ASM Morrison Rogosa Award recognizes the research accomplishments and potential of women scientists from the countries of the Former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. The award honors the contributions to bacteriology and to ASM of Morrison Rogosa and gives an opportunity for ap... More...

  • Journals
    Image of Author: Philip Matsumura
  • Education Board
    Author: Lucy W. Kluckhohn Jones
  • International Affairs
  • Branches: ASM Activities at the Local Level
    Authors: Michael G. Schmidt, and Erika Szymanski
  • Membership
    Image of Author: Gary E. Jenneman

    The Institute of Medicine recently announced the names of 65 new elected members, including four members of ASM. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendation... More...


  • Three Far-Flung Viruses Identified as Distant Flu Cousins, Mapped to Same Family

    Arboviral infections are an important emerging cause of human illness. The phylogeny of Quaranfil virus (QRFV), Johnston Atoll virus (JAV), and Lake Chad virus (LKCV), first isolated in the 1950s and 1960s, has long been mysterious. The first two viruses were isolated from children with mild febr... More...

  • Low-Level Fluoroquinolone Resistance by Different Mechanisms
    Image of

    Resistance to fluoroquinolones is a step-by-step phenomenon involving accumulation of resistance mechanisms. The first levels of resistance are generally conferred by mutation within the target of the fluoroquinolones, although recently, early resistance has also been found to result from acquisi... More...

  • Structural Insights Into Biofilms
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    Biofilms may seem like low life, but their influence is manifest. They complicate industrial processes, and account for ∼80% of all infections. They also modulate worldwide geochemical cycles. That level of influence calls for thorough study. But little effort has been made to understand the mech... More...

  • Glycerol Fermentation in Unexpected Organisms: Potential New Source of Ethanol
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    Previously, organisms incapable of producing 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PDO), were thought to be incapable of fermenting glycerol. Now Ramon Gonzalez of Rice University, Houston, Tex., et al. show that this is not so, as Paenibacillus macerans, which cannot produce 1,3-PDO, can nonetheless ferme... More...


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