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# Microbe Magazine

## January 2010

Cover ImageCover: Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne pathogen. Researchers find that L. monocytogenes disrupts membrane tension in host cells in order to spread from cell to cell in a process so far unique among bacterial pathogens (see p. 7). (Magnification, ×206,000; image © Dr. Gary Gaugler/Photo Researchers, Inc.)
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Microbe Magazine, Cover Image
Cover ImageCover: Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne pathogen. Researchers find that L. monocytogenes disrupts membrane tension in host cells in order to spread from cell to cell in a process so far unique among bacterial pathogens (see p. 7). (Magnification, ×206,000; image © Dr. Gary Gaugler/Photo Researchers, Inc.)
• #### FEATURES

• ##### RNA Second Messengers and Riboswitches: Relics from the RNA World?
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Compelling evidence supports the hypothesis that modern cells descended from organisms whose components were made entirely of RNA. Scientists who helped formulate this “RNA World” hypothesis for the evolution of life have identified many characteristics of modern cells that strongly suggest RNA o... More...

• ##### Protein Phosphorylation in Bacteria
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Protein kinases and phosphatases reversibly modify a widely, perhaps globally, distributed series of proteins that partake in signaling at the cellular level. The protein kinases responsible for these phosphorylations fall into several major families that are based on the specific amino acid resi... More...

• #### CURRENT TOPICS

• ##### Proponents: PET Imaging Could Expand Role in Diagnosing Infections
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When it comes to imaging otherwise hidden infections, “MRI is not even close to PET; that's the message for today,” says Ronald Walker of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He chaired the symposium “New Imaging Modalities for Diagnosing Occult Infections,” convened... More...

• ##### Ancient Endosymbionts May Have Led to Double-Membrane Bacteria
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Ancient clostridia and actinobacteria formed an endosymbiosis that eventually led to the double-membraned, or gram-negative, bacteria that we know today, according to James Lake from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and his collaborators. This endosymbiosis “developed over billi... More...

• ##### Listeria Virulence Factor Unlocks Target Cell Membranes
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When cells of rapidly moving bacteria collide with a potential host cell, a protuberance from the bacterial membrane induces that target cell to engulf the pathogen, according to Keith Ireton at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and... More...

• ##### A Specific Protein, Possibly NO Enable D. radiodurans To Cope with UV
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Following exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the ObgE protein of apparently acts in concert with elevated levels of nitric oxide (NO) “as a general checkpoint system for telling cells to go forward and divide,” enabling them to recover f... More...

• ##### Protozoan T. gallinae: Plausible Culprit for Dinosaur Downfalls
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The protozoan sometimes infected theropod dinosaurs, including , riddling their jawbones with erosive lesions, or “holes,” according to Ewan Wolff at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and colla... More...

• ##### At Least in Some Settings, Tuberculosis Acts as a Zoonosis
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The distribution of and , the agents of tuberculosis in animals and humans, is far more jumbled among host species than many people realize, according to participants of the symposium, “Tra... More...

• #### ASM NEWS

• ##### ASM News:mBio Call for Papers Coming in January

ASM has officially announced plans to launch mBio™, a new, open-access online journal designed to make microbiology research broadly accessible, in mid-2010. The focus of the journal will be on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fie... More...

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• #### DEPARTMENTS

• ##### More on Ruminants and Methane Emissions
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In the October issue (p. 437), Mark Rasmussen in his letter does a creditable job of clarifying the issue of the ruminant contribution to global methane emissions. But in doing so he inadvertently offers up an even larger falsehood than the one he is correcting: that “the carbon dioxide emitted b... More...

• ##### Original Articles Versus Press Reports
Authors:

We read with great interest the article published in the October 2009 issue of Microbe (p. 440–441) about the “rediscovery” of well-established milestones in microbial ecology. In this article Dr. Gest referred to one of our publications: “Molecular bacterial community analysis of clean ro... More...

• ##### Public Affairs Report:ASM Meets with Interagency Task Force on Select Agents

On 12 November, members of the ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) and its committees on Biomedical Research, Biodefense, Laboratory Practices, and Public Health met with the Interagency Task Force on Select Agents at the ASM. The meeting was held to discuss the Biennial Review of the ... More...

• ##### Unbelievably Fast Vaccine Development Potential

Bioengineered nano- and microstructures manufactured by microorganisms are becoming increasingly attractive in various fields, notably the medical sciences, because they can be amazingly functional. For example, biopolyester beads comprising polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) can be produced as intracell... More...

• ##### Do Land Mammal Diseases Threaten Cetaceans? Insights From a Killer Whale Retrovirus

Whales and dolphins are threatened by poorly understood infectious diseases, global climate disruption, and human encroachment. A big question is whether infectious agents can spread from land to marine mammals. Sarah A. LaMere and Daniel R. Salomon of the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Ca... More...

• ##### More Tantalizing Hope for Low-Carbon Footprint Biodiesel from Algae

The potential that oleaginous algae could help feed the nation's demand for low-carbon footprint liquid fuels—in this case, biodiesel—makes them a hot topic. Until now, has been thought to be non-oleaginous, and thus unsuitable for biodiesel produ... More...

• ##### How Organelles Really Look in N. crassa and Where Calcium Is Stashed

Textbook drawings of organelles are not all that representative of the real thing, according to Barry J. Bowman of the University of California, Santa Cruz, et al. This team tagged organellar proteins with red and green fluorescent proteins and examined them using confocal laser scanning microsco... More...

• ##### A Model for Cell Constriction During Division

Cell division in most bacteria is driven by a ring-like complex of division proteins that assemble in a certain order at the prospective cell constriction site, called the septal ring (SR). But how constriction happens, including the function of the essential bitopic inner-membrane protein, FtsN,... More...

• ##### Reviews and Resources:Practical Guide to Diagnostic Parasitology (2nd ed.)

Parasitology is an important biomedical discipline devoted to the study of diverse organisms, ranging from protozoa to helminths to arthropods. All of these organisms have, however, one thing in common: they are composed of one or more eukaryotic cells. Garcia's book focuses on various appro... More...

• ##### Application Deadlines:FEATURED ASM PROGRAMS

ASM/CCID Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program. A two-year research experience under the mentorship of CDC scientists. Benefits include: an annual stipend (up to $42,188), health benefits (up to$3,000 annually) for a maximum of two years, relocation benefits (up to \$500... More...

• ##### ASM Meetings Calendar

21–24 February 2010.

• ##### Small Things Considered

Biology is replete with definitions that have exceptions. A microbe (from the Greek roots mikros and bios for small life) is typically defined as a microscopic living organism invisible to the naked eye. It is clearly in the nature of living things to stretch our definitions, bend t... More...

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