by Elio | For some time, I've had the urge to learn something about diatoms. They are dazzlingly beautiful, relatively easy to manipulate, and have left a fossil record immense in quantity. I never had followed up on this yen, so here’s my chance. A recent paper shed light on the way they make… Read more →
by Elio | Picture yourself looking for a molecule that specifically inhibits an enzyme, impairs the binding of a ligand to a receptor, or does some other such wonder. Classically, one thinks of antibodies, but these require a lot of work and are not easy to come by. Easier is to fish out… Read more →
by Jody Deming | Biofilms are the hallmark of microbial life in all manner of natural and engineered settings. The defining features of a mature biofilm include high densities of microbes, association with a surface, and extracellular polysaccharide substances (EPS)—often very specific compounds—that give architectural structure to these habitats. But what about… Read more →
by Elio | I have a complaint. Scientific papers can be quite demanding to read. So, why make life more difficult by making the legends of the figures so hard to read? My big complaint is that when a legend pertains to multiple parts, the letters corresponding to them are nearly… Read more →
by Elio | In a recent Opinion piece in Trends in Microbiology, Gemma Reguera invites us to think outside the box. The box in question harbors the notion that communication between microbes is chemical, and only chemical. Here, the author cuts through the confines of this perspective to point out that microbial communication also takes… Read more →
by Merry Youle | Two review papers published last year (click here and here) each devoted many pages to recounting the numerous ways that bacteria avoid becoming phage food. The list of defenses attests not only to the intense selection pressure exerted by phages, but also to the evolutionary quick-footedness of their intended hosts. Because… Read more →
by Merry Youle | Given the streamlined genomes and the frugal nature of the Bacteria and Archaea, one might expect their proteins to be short and to the point. However, a survey of the 580 prokaryotic sequenced genomes available in 2008 found many genes apparently encoding large proteins. Specifically, 0.2% of the ORFs (3732 genes) were longer… Read more →
by S. Marvin Friedman | Thanks to the extensive research of the past ten years, we've become aware that many prokaryotic endosymbionts and habitual intracellular pathogens have undergone genome reduction over evolutionary time. Characteristic of this process, termed reductive convergent evolution, is the discarding of genes involved in metabolic pathways and regulatory functions that have… Read more →
The purpose of this blog is to share my appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this planet. I will emphasize the unusual and the unexpected phenomena for which I have a special fascination... (more)
For the memoirs of my first 21 years of life, click here.
This Week in Virology, the podcast about viruses, celebrates its 300th episode on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 with a live recording at the Washington, DC headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology.