by Elio | The end of bacterial flagella that is near the cell is a marvel of mechanical miniaturization — a molecular wheel that turns, just like the axle of a car. The assembly consists of a stator, the part that holds it in place, and a rotor, the part that… Read more →
by Mercé Piqueras | “She did pioneering work in genetics, but it was her husband who won a Nobel price.” So said an obituary in the British newspaper The Guardian regarding Esther Lederberg, a North American microbiologist married to Joshua Lederberg from 1946 to 1966 . Being married to and working along such a phenomenal… Read more →
by Leo Baumgart | Some heavy metals share a long history with microbes. Many of the metabolic processes that sustain life are believed to have originated from spontaneous reactions involving metals present in the early Earth. Our microbial ancestors figured out quickly how to use... Read more →
by Christoph Weigel | A still somewhat unfamiliar term is floating around: the pan-genome. In 2005, Tettelin et al. coined the term along with genome analyses of eight Streptococcus agalactiae strains, and Merry introduced it to this blog, some time back already. Today, a keyword search in PubMed returns roughly 200 hits — 29 alone… Read more →
by Elio | How a proteins folds into a particular shape is about as central a concern as there is in our postgenomic world. Protein molecules bend, curl up, writhe, and, generally undergo big time changes in shape and form, plus they can make strong connections between segments along their length and with other molecules… Read more →
by Elio | Described as the “Most Beautiful Experiment In Biology” the demonstration by Meselson and Stahl that DNA replicates semiconservatively is one of the major landmarks in the genesis of modern biology. And indeed it is most pleasing, both visually and cerebrally... Read more →
by Mizuho Ota | I wonder if you are familiar with this icon. It depicts the “eyedropper,” a commonly used tool in computer graphics and painting programs that allows you to choose any spot on an image and identify its exact color. On a computer this is easy information to obtain; however, in dealing with real materials, the question “but what exactly IS it?”… Read more →
by Elio | The term Parvome was introduced in 2008 by Julian Davies right here in this blog. It had been coined by Mark Martin from the Latin, parvus, for small, to describe the “humungous microbial world of small (secreted) molecules of great structural diversity” and, I should add, of immensely varied… Read more →
by Eammon Riley and Alex Meeske | Writing this blog entry with a fellow graduate student nearly 3000 miles away taught us both a valuable lesson in communication: it is simply challenging to communicate effectively across great distances. Not so with microbes. Recently scientists have discovered that bacteria can overcome the problems of long-range communication. With the... Read more →
by Veronica W. Rowlett | Most bacteria divide quite precisely and their daughter cells are often the same size. The reason for this accuracy is not really known, but it must be important because it is such a frequent phenomenon. This requires good measuring sticks, systems that calculate distance from the ends and restrict the... 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.