Previous posts to this blog may be not easy to find. We present here a lightly annotated list of our "mini-essays" posted during the last year. You can also find them under "Categories" in the right-hand column of the Web page. (Some posts are listed in more than one category.)
Golden Nuggets To mine gold, it may first have to be solubilized from quartz and then be remineralized by a highly gold-tolerant bacterium, Ralstonia metallidurans.
Microbial Sociology The toxic component in bacterial programmed cell death, the pentapeptide NNWNN, is made by clipping it off the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.
Lost City Ramblings Astounding white smokers near the mid-Atlantic ridge provide a rich and distinctive microbial ecosystem.
Prochlorococci to the Head of the Class The genomes of 12 of these most abundant marine photosynthesizers are now available, with interesting implications.
Archaeal Web Some hyperthermophilic archaea are enmeshed in a web-like structure of their own making, formed from bundles of hollow tubules called ”cannulae."
Electrifying Bacteria! Graduate students write about "electrogenic” bacteria and the nanowires that connect them.
Feed From the Hand That Bites You Some bacteria feed on antibiotics. The nerve!
Sex (Well, Not Really) and the Single Organelle How do those one-copy-per-cell organelles divide?
Special Delivery ─ Eukaryote Style Eukaryotic parasites use sophisticated systems to inject effector molecules into host cells.
An Ancient Fungus On A Fungus On A Fungus An amber nugget reveals a three-tiered fungal parasitism from 100 million years ago.
Fossil Fats Did you know that ancient fossils contain some 1012 tons of polycyclic terpenoids? Let Tanja Bosak explain this “fossil fat” story.
Earliest Archaeology Who came first: Archaea or Bacteria? Read how tRNAs provide a clue.
Some Like It Linear The E. coli chromosome can be linearized without any apparent ill effects. Are we surprised?
Play It Again, Cyan So, what is a chromatophore? An actual plastid or a mere endosymbiont?
The Perfect Pitch How do mushrooms discharge their spores. With gusto! See a great movie from Nik Money.
Physiology & Genetics
Archaeal Ninjas Ever hear of a hamus? About time you did!
Wayward Locomotive The terminal organelle of some mycoplasmas provides the cell's motility and, if severed from its cell, wanders off alone.
Protein Origami Yeasts have prion-like proteins, but no mad cow disease. In fact, those prions might even be beneficial.
Subtle Bacillus subtilis During sporulation, when the DNA translocase (SpIIIE) moves the DNA into the forespore, how does it know to push (or pull) one direction and not the other?
Getting CRISPR The insertion of copied phage DNA sequences into clusters of repeated sequences protects bacteria from the corresponding phages. Who would have thought?
Plentisillin and Penicillin: An Antibiotic Spoof and a Tragedy Ronald Bentley and Joan Bennett share with us stories of the discovery of penicillin.
BYOG: Bring Your Own Gene Phages of cyanobacteria carry some genes for photosynthesis to ensure a continuing supply of energy and metabolites for their own reproduction.
Where Art Thou, O Ribosome? Do some cryoelectron tomography and you can find out where the ribosomes are in a bacterial cell.
Gulliver and the Lilliputians Two hyperthermophilic Archaea grow together in an intimate association that defies simple categorization as either symbiosis or parasitism.
The Tip of the Iceberg David Hopwood tells us about antibiotic-resistant bacteria that make antibiotics in larger quantities.
A Shining Mystery Some bacteria that grow in the dark have light receptors. How come?
Crawlies Up My Inner Tubes Crawling up to the kidney is not the same as infecting the bladder. Even E. coli knows that.
Pathogen On Board (River Blindness) River blindness, long thought to be caused by a worm, is instead the work of the worm’s endosymbiotic bacterium.
The Bile Salt Giveth and the Bile Salt Taketh Away Clostridium difficile, the agent of pseudomembranous colitis, responds differently to various bile salts, which may explain some aspects of the disease.
Staph And Cholesterol: An Odd Couple Why the "aureus" in Staph. aureus? It has to do with cholesterol, of all things!
With a Little Help from Their Friends Pathogenic genomic islands in Staph. aureus travel from host to host as phage-like particles!
The Pathogen's Guide to Profiting From the Immune System Pathogenic bacteria have their ways for appropriating the innate immune response for their own benefit.
It's a Chaperonin, It's a Toxin, It's... Is the chaperonin GroEL a toxin? Antlions think so.
Fungal Cuckoo A fungus fools termites into tending its spores as if they were their own eggs.
The Age of Imaging Elio muses about the astounding new/old world of microscopy.
Your Name and Occupation? Jennifer Gutierrez writes about new techniques that reveal both phenotype and genotype of individual bacteria in nature.