CNIO and University of Wurzburg solve 3D structure of ‘nanomachine’ that makes tuberculosis virulent

An international team consisting of researchers from the Macromolecular Complexes in DNA Damage Response Group, headed by Óscar Llorca at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), and the group led by Sebastian Geibel at the University of Würzburg (Germany), worked together in a multidisciplinary effort to obtain an accurate 3D model of the mechanism … Read more

The flagellar hook: Making sense of bacterial motility

The flagellum is often cited as an example of natural design ingenuity – it is a powerful nanomachine that allows bacteria to swim effortlessly in search of food. Yet despite being a popular object of study over the last half a century, the flagellum’s exact mechanics remain enigmatic. Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science … Read more

Folded paper creates portable lab for field laboratory tests

Monitoring and tracking biological threats or epidemics require the ability to carry out medical and laboratory tests in the field during a disaster or other austere situations. Expensive laboratory equipment is often unavailable in these settings, so inexpensive point-of-care technology is needed. Ordinary paper is often used in these situations, since it’s cheap, portable and … Read more

How coastal mud holds the key to climate cooling gas

Bacteria found in muddy marshes, estuaries and coastal sediment synthesise one of the Earth’s most abundant climate cooling gases – according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important nutrient in marine environments with billions of tonnes produced annually by marine phytoplankton (microscopic plant-like cells), seaweed, corals and … Read more

Skin bacteria could save frogs from virus

Ranavirus kills large numbers of European common frogs – the species most often seen in UK ponds – and is one of many threats facing amphibians worldwide. Scientists from the University of Exeter and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology compared the bacteria living on frogs – known as their “microbiome” – from groups with varying history … Read more

The cholera bacterium’s 3-in-1 toolkit for life in the ocean

Bacteria are everywhere. They are the most abundant form of life on our planet. Pick up just about any surface and its likely covered in bacteria. The aquatic environment is no different. Indeed, the ocean is full of small particles and debris, some inert, some highly nutritious. But how do bacteria differentiate between these surfaces, how do they hold onto … Read more

Stanford researchers map symbiotic relationships between trees and microbes worldwide

In and around the tangled roots of the forest floor, fungi and bacteria grow with trees, exchanging nutrients for carbon in a vast, global marketplace. A new effort to map the most abundant of these symbiotic relationships – involving more than 1.1 million forest sites and 28,000 tree species – has revealed factors that determine … Read more

It’s not just fish, plastic pollution harms the bacteria that help us breathe

Ten per cent of the oxygen we breathe comes from just one kind of bacteria in the ocean. Now laboratory tests have shown that these bacteria are susceptible to plastic pollution, according to a study published in Communications Biology. “We found that exposure to chemicals leaching from plastic pollution interfered with the growth, photosynthesis and oxygen … Read more