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 Elio | It’s hard to tell for sure, but it seems to have been a pair of investigators at the University of Southern California, Richard Baker and Daniel Pease, who published a paperin Nature in 1949 showing rather undifferentiated sections of Bacillus megaterium that lack discernible internal details. Interestingly, the very next... Read more →
by Suckjoon Jun | I entered the bacterial chromosome field in 2004 as a fresh Ph.D. trained in theoretical physics. Ten years is not long enough for one to gain the depth and breadth of a scientific discipline of long history, certainly not for an early career scientist to write an essay of the... Read more →
by Marco Allemann | Members of the bacterial phylum Planctomycetes (click here and here) inhabit a wide variety of environments throughout the world. What makes them special is that in the mind of some investigators they possess a mix of eukaryotic and prokaryotic structural attributes. Now that is something pretty unique and worth… Read more →
by Elio | The first cytoskeletal protein discovered in bacteria was FtsZ, the tubulin-like maker of the contractile ring involved in cell division of most bacteria. It was found by investigating one of a series of Fts (for “Filamentingtemperature sensitive”) conditional mutants, first constructed by Y. Hirota, A. Ryter and F. Jacob… Read more →
by Elio | If you happen to look, you’ll find that new bacterial phyla spring up with amazing frequency, and that taxonomic names and facts accumulate at a staggering rate. As a public service, we’ll try from time to time to nibble away at this huge salami, slicing off and serving up one… Read more →
by Spencer Scott & John De Friel | Microbial ecology may be a young field but it is well understood already that there is a broad spectrum of interactions between bacterial species, ranging from cooperative to competitive. In a recent paper researchers from John Mekalanos’ lab further characterized a recently discovered mechanism for inter-cell communication. This system, called… Read more →
By William Margolin | The division of one cell into two daughter cells is the crux of biological reproduction. But how do cells determine where along their dimensions division will occur? For bacteria, the best-studied species for basic biology, including cytokinesis, are the old standbys Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Caulobacter crescentus, mainly because of their easy cultivation… Read more →
by Elio | What is more emblematic of our science than the Gram stain? Since its invention 130 years ago, it has been in frequent and continuous use. It conveniently places most bacteria into one of two groups, the Gram-positives or the Gram-negatives. Gram staining is cheap, effective, quick, and relatively easy… Read more →
by Elio | Unlike warthogs, likely to be considered beautiful only by their mother, the Verrucomicrobia (verruca means “wart, thus the warty bacteria; more about this later) have considerable appeal, be it morphological, physiological, or ecological. This is yet another phylum that owes its recognition to nucleic acid technology. Although few of its members… 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.