We present here a lightly annotated list that includes most of our posts from the past half year.
The Teachers’ Corner
We recently added a new section to our blog, where the posts are organized in a more teacher-friendly format. We hope that this will increase the use of these articles in the classroom.
The View From Here
Several distinguished microbiologists have shared with us their thoughts and perspectives.
The Search for Achilles' Heel John Coffin proposes some darn good reasons why an effective HIV vaccine is hard to come by.
Back to the Wild! Tried and true laboratory strains are great to work with, right? Richard Losick explains why this focus may be insufficient, and even misleading.
The "Parvome" Julian Davies ponders (in his inimitable way) the meaning of all those small molecules that microbes make.
A well-written review article makes for particularly rewarding reading. We picked a few that we think fit this bill.
The Hybrid Two-Engine System of Myxobacteria Myxobacteria move on surfaces by pulling themselves forward and pushing from behind. When they reverse direction, the two poles swap roles.
The Origins of Multicellularity How did we get to where we are? At least, how did we get started?
A Quick Guide to the Bacterial Flagellar Motor Is there anything more exciting that the bacterial flagellar apparatus? We dare you!
Giardia “I Did It My Way” Much like other pathogens, Giardia change their antigenic coat to evade the immune response. But they do it their way, by using RNA interference to suppress expression of the unwanted antigens.
The Fastest Flights in Nature Nick Money knows how to stop ultra-fast phenomena in their tracks. He has a camera that takes hundreds of thousands of frames per second. See here the amazing flight of Pilobolus spores.
Pico Who? Little did we know until recently that tiny algae (the Picoplankton) make up a huge amount of the biomass in the oceans.
The Mushroom Week Why shouldn’t mushrooms have a week of their own? A mushroom a day… Here is what we posted:
Preventing Infections by Dispelling Sphignorance Norm Radin sheds needed light on sphingolipids, premier multifunctional biological chemicals.
The Two Edges of the Antibiotic Sword Antibiotics are always good for you, right? Joshua Fierer discusses yet another reason for caution.
Sexually Avoided Disease When it comes to viral infections, does being haploid or diploid make a difference to microalgae? You better believe it does. Willie Wilson explains why.
Evolution, Ecology, and Other Good Stuff
A Glimpse Into the World of Metagenomics No technique stands alone, and Donald Klein paints a cautionary picture why this is true for metagenomics.
Jumping Genes, Wolbachia Style Surely prokaryotes and eukaryotes have been swapping genes for eons. Evidence, evidence… ? Well, here’s at least one case.
De Profundis… Know any place on Earth where there is a pure culture of one Bacteria? (In the lab or an infected host doesn't count.) Look deep enough and you will find one.
Intraterrestrials Manuel Sánchez discusses the Bacteria in rocks and what they might be doing there.
Big Game Hunting, Bacterial Style Bacteria hunt for algae in the oceans, and they can take down even the motile dinoflagellates often associated with red tides.
You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover What are GTAs? Yet one more way that bacterial genes travel from cell to cell.
Species Come and Species Go Campylobacter seems to speciate and de-speciate with gusto.
Wolbachia Infection: A Good Thing? This most famous of insect/bacteria symbioses turns out to be beneficial to the host in unexpected ways.
The More the Merrier How many different types of organisms participate in the symbiosis between the leaf-cutting ant and its fungus? The number keeps increasing.
How Many Genomes Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? Well, what we meant is: how many genomes does it take to make tryptophan in aphids? At least one more than you might have thought.
What Are Little Bugs Made Of?
The Secrets of the Sacculus A master of the “peptidoglycan art” (and science), Hans Martin, explores some of what we know and what we still don’t know about this most bacterial of molecules.
The User's Guide to Poly-γ-Glutamates Who are the users of these cosmopolitan molecules? As diverse as bacterial capsules and the nematocyst-firing mechanisms of jellyfish.
Where Art Thou, O Nucleoid? Conrad Woldringh poses some challenges to cherished notions about the physics of bacterial nucleoids.
What Else Is Going On?
News from the Department of Mimivirology: Part II Virophage is a newly minted term for satellite viruses. But there is more to it than just terminology because it involves those viral outliers, the Mimiviruses.
Some More Personal Comments
Of Fly Paper, Esperanto, Algae, Poems, and Polar Bears: In Memory of Ralph Lewin Ralph Lewin was unique among microbiologists and among human beings. Here we offer some evidence to convince you. (Click here for an amusing tale.)
Musings: The Guild Being a microbiologist means more than going for biology in a small way.
Equatorial Epidemiology Elio attended the Latin American Microbiology Congress, and there heard about zinc and H. pylori.
Fine Reading and Fine Memories An appreciation of the late Terry Beveridge.