Academic doctrine tells us to publish or perish, but scientists are publishing more than ever before. Unfortunately, rifling though hundreds of papers each week is the sad truth of many a researcher. To ease the burden and broaden the mind this week, I present five papers that caught my eye in the area of microbiology.
The Bacterial Curli System Possesses a Potent and Selective Inhibitor of Amyloid Formation
Bacteria that make amyloid proteins - specially folded proteins that bind together - have a system that prevents them from building up inside themselves, causing a plaque, resulting in cell death. This system, called the Curli system, has now been identified in bacteria for the first time. Learning how bacteria prevent amyloid plaque formation may help those suffering from Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative disease caused by human amyloid build-up in the brain.
A New Type of Toxin A-Negative, Toxin B-Positive Clostridium difficile Strain Lacking a Complete tcdA Gene
Hospital menace Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a difficult-to-treat organism, as the name suggests. This month saw the publication of a strain missing one of two major toxin genes which could lead to new insights in this notorious bug's ability to cause disease.
[caption id="attachment_288" align="alignright" width="316"] Beer can become spoiled by lactic acid bacteria that can survive in hops. Image credit: TruckinTim, CC2.0.[/caption]
Role of Plasmids in Lactobacillus brevis BSO 464 Hop Tolerance and Beer Spoilage
Brewers beware! Beer can become contaminated by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which spoils the batch. Now science comes to your aid by identifying how one LAB, Lactobacillus brevis, survives in all those delicious hops.
Dynamics of Infant Gut Microbiota Are Influenced by Delivery Mode and Gestational Duration and Are Associated with Subsequent Adiposity
In each of our guts, we have millions of bacteria. They've been our partners since we were infants, and throughout all of humanity's life, but still little is known on how these microscopic partners protect us and shape our development.
In one study this month, the importance of how infants receive their first symbiotic bacteria is highlighted. Different methods of acquiring bacteria lead to colonisation of the gut with a different mix of bacteria, and this study shows how that can lead to physical development, such as accumulation of fat in infants.
The Dynamics of the Human Infant Gut Microbiome in Development and in Progression toward Type 1 Diabetes
In another gut microbe study, infants genetically predisposed to type 1 diabetes (T1D) were monitored for gut microbes associated with the onset of the illness. The authors found that bacteria associated with inflammation tend to appear before onset of T1D in infants.