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March- 2017

   

Research team captures images of pathogens' tiny 'syringes'

       Salmonella and many other bacterial pathogens use a nano syringe-like device to deliver toxic proteins into target human cells. Scientists at Yale and University of Texas Medical School-Houston have used cryo-electron tomography to reveal the molecular structure of this device, which is about 1/1000th the width of a human hair.

Source: phys

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Can math help explain our bodies—and our diseases?

       What makes a cluster of cells become a liver, or a muscle? How do our genes give rise to proteins, proteins to cells, and cells to tissues and organs? The incredible complexity of how these biological systems interact boggles the mind and drives the work of biomedical scientists around the world. But a pair of mathematicians had introduced a new way of thinking about these concepts that may help set the stage for better understanding of our bodies and other living things. Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the pair from the University of Michigan Medical School and University of California, Berkeley introduced a framework for using math to understand how genetic information and interactions between cells give rise to the actual function of a particular type of tissue.

Source: phys

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Skin cream kills pathogen

       Atopic dermatitis causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin, and is often marked by high levels of the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Other bacteria that normally live harmlessly on the skin are known to produce antimicrobial compounds, so Richard Gallo at the University of California, San Diego, and his colleagues set out to investigate whether these bacteria help to combat S. aureus. The researchers isolated and sequenced the genomes of a range of Staphylococcus species from the skin of both healthy people and those with atopic dermatitis. They found that people with the disorder had lower levels of microbes with antimicrobial activity than did their healthy counterparts.

Source: nature

 

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See how Zika infection changes a human cell

       The Zika virus taking hold of the inner organelles of human liver and neural stem cells has been captured via light and electron microscopy. In Cell Reports on February 28, researchers in Germany showed how the African and Asian strains of Zika rearrange the endoplasmic reticulum and cytoskeletal architecture of host cells so that they can build factories where they make daughter viruses. The study revealed that targeting cytoskeleton dynamics could be a previously unexplored strategy to suppress Zika replication.

Source: phys

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February - 2017

   

It's bacteria vs virus in dengue test battle

       Here's the buzz for people in Tamil Nadu, a state in which mosquitoes infect an average of 5,000 people with dengue each year and 100 deaths have been recorded in the past six years..

Source: The Times of India

 

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Chennai oil spill 10 times bigger than reported, companies whose ships collided misled government

       As a massive clean up operation continues along the Ennore coast near Chennai after two cargo ships collided last week resulting in a huge oil spill in the sea, Coast Guard has disclosed that the scale of oil spill is 10 times than what was claimed previously.

Source: indiatoday

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Ennore Port oil spill spreads all along Chennai's shoreline up to Marina

       The oil spill supposedly from two ships that collided near the Ennore Port, north of Chennai, on Saturday, spread along the city's shoreline further down up to the famed Marina Beach. On Monday morning, the local fishermen and the morning walkers were shocked to find not just thick black oil along the beach, but a number of turtles that were washed ashore dead.

Source: newindianexpress

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Drought identified as key to severity of West Nile virus epidemics

       A study led by UC Santa Cruz researchers has found that drought dramatically increases the severity of West Nile virus epidemics in the United States, although populations affected by large outbreaks acquire immunity that limits the size of subsequent epidemics.

Source: enns

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Malaria superbugs spreading fast in Asia

       Multidrug-resistant malaria superbugs have taken hold in parts of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, threatening to undermine progress against the disease, scientists said. They also warned of further spread of these parasites through India to Africa.

Source: The timesofindia

 

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January - 2017

   

Superbug death spurs drug regulator warning

       The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has also asked companies to carry specified warnings to avoid antimicrobial resistance. “To contain anti-microbial resistance, the office has been advising the supply chain system in India to follow strict requirements of Schedule H and H1 for sale of medicines,“ DCGI G N Singh said in a notice issued to all state regulators and other stakeholders.

Source: epaperbetas

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Bacterial explorers move fast

       Streptomyces bacteria are common in soil and generate many antibiotics. Marie Elliot at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and her colleagues cultured Streptomyces venezuelae along with baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) for 14 days. They found that the bacteria form non-branched filaments that spread over various surfaces (pictured) and obstacles. The 'explorer' cells released a volatile alkaline compound that stimulated physically separated Streptomyces to initiate exploration, and inhibited the growth of other bacteria. This exploratory growth could be a way for the organisms to scavenge more nutrients, the authors say.

Source: nature

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Strep spreads by harnessing immune defenses of those infected

       Streptococcus pneumonia spreads by harnessing immune defenses of those infected. The bacteria that cause most cases of pneumonia worldwide secrete a toxin that helps them jump from one body to the next - with help from the hosts' immune defenses. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center and published online January 11 in Cell Host & Microbe.

Source: phys

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Bacterial protein structure could aid development of new antibiotics

       Researchers at Duke University solved the structure of an enzyme that is crucial for helping bacteria build their cell walls. The molecule, called MurJ (shown in green), must flip cell wall precursors (purple) across the bacteria's cell membrane before these molecules can be linked together to form the cell wall. This new structure could be important to help develop new broad-spectrum antibiotics. Credit: Alvin Kuk, Duke University.

Source: phys

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Researchers discover 'marvel microbes' explaining how cells became complex

       In a new study, published in Nature this week, an international research group led from Uppsala University in Sweden presents the discovery of a group of microbes that provide new insights as to how complex cellular life emerged. The study provides new details of how, billions of years ago, complex cell types that comprise plants, fungi, but also animals and humans, gradually evolved from simpler microbial ancestors.

Source: phys

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Worms have teenage ambivalence, too

       Salk Institute scientists studying roundworms suggest that, in both worms and humans, adolescent brains mature to stable adult brains by changing which brain cells they use to generate behavior. Teen worm brains drive wishy-washy behavior that allows them to stay flexible in an uncertain world, while adult worm brains drive efficient behavior. The discovery provides insight into the underlying drivers of neurological development that could help better understand the human brain and disease.

Source: phys

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200-year-old banyan tree near Ambattur gets new lease of life

       A team of horticulturists and a group of residents have successfully transplanted a 200-plus-year-old banyan tree uprooted by cyclone Vardah on December 12 at Ayanambakkam near Ambattur. The process began on Saturday and ended on Monday night.

Source: The Times of India

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Chennai: Sembakkam lake, a de facto dumping ground, to be restored

       Residents of Chitlapakkam have reason to cheer in the New Year. The Sembakkam lake, a source of water for the neighbourhood that is witnessing a real estate boom, will be restored soon.

Source: The Times of India

 

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Salmonella bacteria threatens Mudumalai

       Chikku, a cattle herder in Gudalur in the Nilgiris, is a worried man. “Water in the Dhodda Moyar was a little dark last week. When my cattle drank it, they fell sick and in the next couple of days more than half a dozen of them died,“ he says. Siva, a worker in a farm in the same area, said he went to bathe in the river, but changed his mind since the water was dark in colour. Subsequently two cattle from the farm where he works died.

Source: The Times of India

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