Researchers have used new methods in ancient DNA research to identify Salmonella enterica Paratyphi C, a pathogen that causes enteric fever, in the skeletons of victims of the 1545-1550 cocoliztli epidemic in Mexico, identifying a possible cause of this devastating colonial epidemic.
Roughly 10 percent of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms contain the genetic code for manufacturing a back-up enzyme, called iron iron-only nitrogenase, to do their job. New research reveals that this enzyme allows these microorganisms to convert nitrogen gas to ammonia and carbon dioxide into methane at the same time. This enzymatic pathway is a previously unknown route for the natural biological production of methane.
How biological membranes -- e.g. the plasma membrane of animal cells or the inner membrane of bacteria -- fluctuate over time is not easy to understand. Researchers propose a new theory elucidating the dynamics of such membranes when they are embedded in polymer networks. In a new study they demonstrate that the dynamics of membrane undulations inside such a structured medium are governed by distinctive, anomalous power laws.
Biologists have developed a method for rapidly screening hundreds of thousands of potential drugs for fighting infections, an innovation that holds promise for combating the growing scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The method involves engineering bacteria to produce and test molecules that are potentially toxic to themselves.
Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world -- creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines -- and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant to many antifungals, meaning once a person is infected, there are limited treatment options. But researchers have now confirmed a new drug compound kills drug-resistant C. auris, both in the laboratory and in a mouse model that mimics human infection.
Scientists have characterized a protein that enables certain microorganisms to recognize and absorb ammonium in their environment. Ammonium is considered a toxin that pollutes ecosystems - but for these bacteria it represents an important nutrient and energy source.
Bioengineers have developed a tissue-based soft robot that mimics the biomechanics of a stingray. The new technology could lead to advances in bio-inspired robotics, regenerative medicine and medical diagnostics.
Environmental DNA analysis makes it possible to detect water organisms without having to capture them first. For the first time, researchers systematically investigated the effect of various environmental factors on environmental DNA analyses. By doing so, the researchers have made an important step towards the standardized application of this method for the monitoring of water bodies.
The digital reconstruction of the skull of a 200-million-year-old South African dinosaur, Massospondylus, has made it possible for researchers to make 3-D prints and in this way facilitate research on other dinosaurs all over the world.
Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease which attacks the lungs, claims someone's life every 20 seconds and 1.5 million lives worldwide every year. A cure has eluded scientists for more than a century but, now, researchers may have discovered a new weapon to combat this global killer. The team is re-programing - or 'training' - immune cells to kill TB.