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June- 2017

   

War and peace in the human gut: Probing the microbiome

            The role of microbes in the gut has been the focus of recent research that explores how dietary choices promote cooperation or might fuel conflict between gut microbes and the humans they interact with, maintaining health or encouraging the onset of disease.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Researchers discover how flu viruses hijack human cells

          Much is known about flu viruses, but little is understood about how they reproduce inside human host cells, spreading infection. A research team headed by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has identifed a mechanism by which influenza A, a family of pathogens that includes the most deadly strains of flu worldwide, hijacks cellular machinery to replicate.

Source: Sciencedaily

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'Bugs' on the subway: Monitoring the microbial environment to improve public health

          The trillions of microbes that transfer from people to surfaces could provide an early warning system for the emergence of public health threats such as a flu outbreak or a rise in antibiotic resistance, according to a new study.

Source: Sciencedaily

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See and sort: Developing novel techniques to visualize uncultured microbial cell activity

         Researchers used a recently refined technique to identify both individual active cells, and single clusters of active bacteria and archaea within microbial communities. Scientists are interested in learning how the planet's microbial dark matter can be harnessed for energy and environmental challenges.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Growing unknown microbes one by one

         Trillions of bacteria live in the human body, and although there's plenty of evidence that these microbes play a collective role in human health, we know very little about the individual bacterial species. Employing the use of a specially designed glass chip with tiny compartments, researchers provide a way to target and grow specific microbes from the gut -- a key step in understanding which bacteria are helpful to human health and which are harmful.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Census of microbes in healthy humans reported

          Trillions of microbes inhabit the human body, occupying virtually every nook and cranny. And most of the time, this relationship is a friendly one, with microbes helping to digest food, strengthen the immune system and ward off dangerous pathogens. Now, some 200 US scientists report findings from the most comprehensive census of the microbial make-up of healthy humans.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Uncovered: 1,000 new microbial genomes

         Scientists have taken a decisive step forward in uncovering the planet's microbial diversity. They report the release of 1,003 phylogenetically diverse bacterial and archaeal reference genomes -- the single largest release to date. The researchers are interested in learning more about this biodiversity because microbes play important roles in regulating Earth's biogeochemical cycles and uncovering gene functions and metabolic pathways has wide applications.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Unique microbes found in extreme environment

         Researchers who were looking for organisms that eke out a living in some of the most inhospitable soils on Earth have found a hardy few. A new DNA analysis of rocky soils in the martian-like landscape on some volcanoes in South America has revealed a handful of bacteria, fungi, and other rudimentary organisms, called archaea, which seem to have a different way of converting energy than their cousins elsewhere in the world.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Microbes discovered in extreme environment on South American volcanoes

          Scientists looking for organisms that eke out a living in some of the most inhospitable soils on Earth has found a hardy few living on volcanoes that reaching nearly 20,000 feet in height.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Fungi awake bacteria from their slumber

          When a soil dries out, this has a negative impact on the activity of soil bacteria. Using an innovative combination of state-of-the-art analysis and imaging techniques, researchers have now discovered that fungi increase the activity of bacteria in dry and nutrient-poor habitats by supplying them with water and nutrients. The ability of fungi to regulate drought stress in soil and thus sustain ecosystem functions is an important insight in the context of climate change.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Microbes from ships may help distinguish one port from another

         Much the way every person has a unique microbial cloud around them, ships might also carry distinct microbial signatures. The key is testing the right waters -- the bilge water from the bottoms of ships.

Source: Sciencedaily

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May- 2017

   

New defence mechanism against bacteria discovered

         Researchers in dermatology at Lund University in Sweden believe that they have cracked the mystery of why we are able to quickly prevent an infection from spreading uncontrollably in the body during wounding. They believe this knowledge may be of clinical significance for developing new ways to counteract bacteria. The researchers have discovered that fragments of thrombin - a common blood protein which can be found in wounds - can aggregate both bacteria and their toxins; something they did not see in normal blood plasma. The aggregation takes place quickly in the wound and causes bacteria and endotoxins not only to gather but also to be "eaten" by the body's inflammatory cells and avoids the spread of infection.

Source: Phys

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Researchers discover how flu viruses hijack human cells

        Much is known about flu viruses, but little is understood about how they reproduce inside human host cells, spreading infection. A research team headed by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has identifed a mechanism by which influenza A, a family of pathogens that includes the most deadly strains of flu worldwide, hijacks cellular machinery to replicate.

Source: Phys

— Read more

   

Researchers discover how cancer-causing virus could stay silently hidden in your body

         Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered a new mechanism that could explain how the Merkel Cell Polyomavirus, responsible for the most aggressive form of skin cancer, can stay dormant for decades after infection but then reemerge to cause cancer. The results are published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Phys

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Scientists engineer baker's yeast to produce penicillin molecules

         The synthetic biologists from Imperial College London have re-engineered yeast cells to manufacture the nonribosomal peptide antibiotic penicillin. In laboratory experiments, they were able to demonstrate that this yeast had antibacterial properties against streptococcus bacteria.

Source: Phys

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Bacteria take a deadly risk to survive

         Bacteria need mutations to change their DNA code inorder to survive under difficult circumstances. When necessary, they can even mutate at different speeds. This is shown in a recent study by the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics at KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium. The findings open up various new avenues for research, ranging from more efficient biofuel production methods to a better treatment for bacterial infections and cancer.

Source: Phys

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April- 2017

   

Symbiotic bacteria: From hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard

        Bacterial symbionts transition between plant pathogenicity and insect defensive mutualism, a new report demonstrates. The bacterium Burkholderia gladioli lives in specific organs of a plant-feeding beetle and defends the insect's eggs from detrimental fungi by producing antibiotics. However, when transferred to a plant, the bacterium can spread throughout the tissues and negatively affect the plant.

Source: sciencedaily

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Antibiotics counteract the beneficial effect of whole grain

        Antibiotics may impede the health properties of whole grain, especially for women, recent study demonstrates. The results emphasize the importance of maintaining a restrictive use of antibiotics.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Illuminating the secret of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms

        Scientists now understand what makes bioluminescent mushrooms glow, which may pave the way to new possibilities for harnessing fungal bioluminescence in analytical and imaging technologies. Bioluminescence is a highly conserved phenomenon that exists in a wide range of organisms; there are roughly 80 different known species of bioluminescent fungi alone scattered across the globe.

Source: sciencedaily

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Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

        A study has found evidence that extremely small changes in how atoms move in bacterial proteins can play a big role in how these microorganisms function and evolve traits, such as antibiotic resistance.

Source: sciencedaily

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Fungi have enormous potential for new antibiotics

        Fungi are a potential goldmine for the production of pharmaceuticals. This is shown by researchers who have developed a method for finding new antibiotics from nature's own resources. The findings could prove very useful in the battle against antibiotic resistance.

Source: sciencedaily

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Action required: Invasive fungus is killing European salamanders

       A new fungal disease brought in from Asia is threatening European salamanders. Once the amphibians become infected, they die within a brief period of time, report biologists. Because saving the infected populations is still not possible, Switzerland has preventively imposed an import ban for salamanders and newts.

Source: sciencedaily

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Frog slime kills flu virus

       Frogs' skins were known to secrete peptides that defend them against bacteria. A new research finding suggests that the peptides represent a resource for antiviral drug discovery as well.

Source: sciencedaily

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Zika RNA now found in a second mosquito species

       Zika RNA has now been found in Aedes albopictus. That’s not the species -- known as Aedes aegypti -- most often associated with Zika. But scientists have never discounted Aedes albopictus as another possible carrier of the potentially deadly virus.

Source: sciencedaily

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Malaria parasites soften our cells' defenses in order to invade

       Malaria is caused by a family of parasites that are carried by mosquitoes. Once parasites enter the body through a mosquito bite, they multiply in the liver before invading red blood cells where they cause all symptoms of malaria disease.

Source: sciencedaily

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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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