Helper Bacterial Toxins

New insights into the mechanisms of action of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac served as the basis for development of the modified Bt toxins

News and Analysis

An outbreak of a new animal virus that has been ongoing in mainland Europe since August 2011 has now reached the United Kingdom. Schmallenberg virus infects livestock, causing fever, loss of condition and reduced milk yield in cattle....]

Bacteria on 70% of Dental Bib-ers

researchers at the University of Witten/Herdecke in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany released a clinical study indicating that the sterilization protocol for dental bib holders is inconsistent and can result in the presence of germs, microorganisms and pseudomonas on bib chains and holders[...]

If you are going [...]

New Fluorescence study on anthrax

anthrax lethal toxin is a binary bacterial toxin consisting of two proteins, protective antigen (PA) and lethal factor (LF), that self-assemble on receptor-bearing eukaryotic cells to form toxic, non-covalent complexes[...]


The physical structure of the molecular motors responsible for the movement of both cilia and sperm flagella are very similar[...]

Sunday, 22 April 2012

London: A new bacteria resistant steel developed by a British university is likely to be useful in hospitals and other places to prevent the spread of bacterial Diseases. Researchers have developed a technique that not only kills bacteria but is very hard and resistant to wear and tear during cleaning as it introduces silver or copper into the steel surface rather than coating it on the surface, said a statement by Birmingham university
"Bacteria resistant surfaces could be used in hospitals to prevent the spread of superbug infections on stainless steels surfaces, as well as in medical equipment, for example, instruments and implants. They would also be of use to the food industry and in domestic kitchens," it added. 

Researchers said the antibacterial properties of the stainless steel did not wither even after cleaning the treated instruments 120 times. 
"Previous attempts to make stainless steel resistant to bacteria have not been successful as these have involved coatings which are too soft and not hard-wearing. Thin antibacterial coatings can be easily worn down when interacting with other surfaces, which leads to a low durability of the antibacterial surface," said Hanshan Dong, professor of Surface Engineering at the University of Birmingham.

"Our technique means that we avoid coating the surface, instead we modify the top layers of the surface," Dong added.Read more at

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Newly Discovered Viral Genome talks new!

A study published in BioMed Central's Biology Direct journal reports the existence of a previously undetected group of viruses and, more importantly, a new type of viral genome that could have huge implications for theories of viral emergence and evolution.

Viruses are the most abundant organisms on earth, yet little is known about their evolutionary history since they have exceptionally high rates of genetic mutation which are difficult to track. Viral metagenomics, however, is becoming an increasingly useful tool with which to glimpse virus evolution, as it makes available vast amounts of new sequence data for analysis.
Kenneth M Stedman's team from Portland State University in Oregon, USA, used a metagenomics approach to investigate virus diversity in Boiling Springs Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park, USA, an acidic, high temperature lake (ranging from 52-95°C, with a pH of ~2.5) that sustains a purely microbial ecosystem.
Astonishingly, they found a unique viral genome that has never before been reported -- a circular, single-stranded DNA virus encoding a major capsid protein seen previously only in RNA viruses. This unusual genome provides proof that integration of an RNA virus into a DNA virus may have occurred between two unrelated virus groups at some point in evolution -- something that has not been observed before. Moreover, this suggests that entirely new virus types may emerge via recombination of functional and structural modules between vastly different viruses, using mechanisms that are as-yet unknownRead more

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70-Year-Old Chemical Mystery Solved: How Tropolone Are Synthesized in Fungi

Chemists and biologists from the University of Bristol have finally cracked one of the longest standing chemical mysteries. In a paper published April 16 inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team demonstrate exactly how an unusual class of compounds known as tropolones are synthesised in fungi.

In 1942, an 'unidentifiable' aromatic compound known as stipitatic acid was first isolated from fungi. By 1945 the structure was solved but it was so unique that it caused a revolution in the understanding of organic chemistry.
Stipitatic acid is very unusual as it displays similar aromatic properties to the six-membered rings in benzene-based compounds, but is a seven-membered carbon ring known as a tropolone. New theoretical models developed to understand tropolones now underpin our understanding of structure and bonding in organic chemistry.
However it remained a mystery as to how fungi are able to synthesise such a product under biological conditions -- until now. Read more

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A Temperature-Controlled Microbe

manufacturing processes rely on microorganisms to perform tricky chemical transformations or make substances from simple starting materials. The authors of a study appearing in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on April 17 have found a way to control a heat-loving microbe with a temperature switch: it makes a product at low temperatures but not at high temperatures. The innovation could make it easier to use microorganisms as miniature factories for the production of needed materials like biofuels.

This is the first time a targeted modification of a hyperthermophile (heat-loving microorganism) has been accomplished, say the authors, providing a new perspective on engineering microorganisms for bioproduct and biofuel formation.
Originally isolated from hot marine sediments, the hyperthermophilePyrococcus furiosus grows best at temperatures around 100ºC (212ºF).P. furiosus is an archaeon, single-celled organisms that bear a resemblance to bacteria, but they excel at carrying out many processes that bacteria cannot accomplish. Like other hyperthermophiles, P. furiosus'enzymes are stable at the high temperatures that facilitate many industrial processes, making it a well-used tool in biotechnology and manufacturing. But not all products can be made at high heat. Some enzymes will only work at lower temperatures.Read more

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Scientists Tailor Cell Surface Targeting System to Hit Organelle ZIP Codes

Scientists who developed a technology for identifying and targeting unique protein receptor ZIP Codes on the cellular surface have found a way to penetrate the outer membrane and deliver engineered particles -- called iPhage -- to organelles inside the cell.

This new capacity was used to screen for peptide ligands -- binding agents -- that connect to receptors on mitochondria, which generate a cell's energy, and ribosomes, which process mRNA to make proteins.
The team found a peptide that binds to a specific ribosomal protein called RPL29 which, when delivered with penetratin, disrupts ribosomal function and kills cells. Cell survival was reduced in both malignant and non-malignant cells and in both mouse and human cell lines.Read more

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Monday, 16 April 2012

Levels of Germination Proteins in Dormant and Superdormant Spores of Bacillus subtilis

Bacillus subtilis spores that germinated poorly with saturating levels of nutrient germinants, termed superdormant spores, were separated from the great majority of dormant spore populations that germinated more rapidly. These purified superdormant spores (1.5 to 3% of spore populations) germinated extremely poorly with the germinants used to isolate them but better with germinants targeting germinant receptors not activated in superdormant spore isolation although not as well as the initial dormant spores. The level of β-galactosidase from a gerA-lacZ fusion in superdormant spores isolated by germination via the GerA germinant receptor was identical to that in the initial dormant spores. Levels of the germination proteins GerD and SpoVAD were also identical in dormant and superdormant spores. However, levels of subunits of a germinant receptor or germinant receptors activated in superdormant spore isolation were 6- to 10-fold lower than those in dormant spores, while levels of subunits of germinant receptors not activated in superdormant spore isolation were only ≤2-fold lower. These results indicate that (i) levels of β-galactosidase from lacZ fusions to operons encoding germinant receptors may not be an accurate reflection of actual germinant receptor levels in spores and (ii) a low level of a specific germinant receptor or germinant receptors is a major cause of spore superdormancy.
  1. Peter Setlow)
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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Study Shows Unified Process of Evolution in Bacteria and Sexual Eukaryotes

Bacteria are the most populous organisms on the planet. They thrive in almost every known environment, adapting to different habitats by means of genetic variations that provide the capabilities essential for survival. These genetic innovations arise from what scientists believe is a random mutation and exchange of genes and other bits of DNA among bacteria that sometimes confers an advantage, and which then becomes an intrinsic part of the genome.

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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Method Developed to Detect Stealthy, 'Hypervirulent' Salmonella Strains

Salmonella is the most common cause of infection, hospitalization, and death due to foodborne illness in the U.S. This burden may continue to worsen due to the emergence of new strains that would tax current health-control efforts. To address this problem, researchers sought out -- and found -- hypervirulent strains that present a potential risk to food safety and the livestock industry.

Now that researchers know what to look for, they are developing methods to rapidly detect and discriminate the more harmful strains from their less-virulent cousins. The strategy is aided by a special medium utilized by the researchers that forces the bacteria to reveal their weapons in the laboratory -- the first step in the design of therapeutics to combat them.
Humans usually get Salmonella food poisoning from eating contaminated beef, chicken, or eggs. However, animal waste can contaminate fields where fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown, thus posing a particular health concern for vegetarians. The threat is exacerbated when these foods are not cooked. Salmonella control efforts are expensive -- recent estimates place this cost up to $14.6 billion annually in the U.S.
As hypervirulent strains pose a potential risk to human and animal health, mitigation efforts warrant researchers' careful attention. "Now that we have identified the problem -- and potential solutions -- we just need to get to work," Heithoff said

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