2017-03-27This month's Genome Watch explores how in vitro directed evolution can be used to identify the target of a drug for the treatment of Chagas disease, which is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi.
2017-04-10A new study by Maraffini and colleagues shows that CRISPR–Cas systems capture phage DNA during genome injection, which protects cells from subsequent infection before the lytic cycle begins.
2017-03-27This study reports that BabA-mediated adherence to gastric epithelial cells is acid-sensitive and enables efficient adaptation to changes in gastric mucosal pH.
2017-03-27Ancient oceanic hydrothermal vents may have been one of the earliest habitable environments on Earth. Dodd et al. examined ferruginous sedimentary rock from the Nuvvuagittuq supracrustal belt (NSB) in Quebec, Canada, for the presence of microfossils that are suggestive of early microbial life. The
2017-03-27The origin and evolution of viruses is a topic of debate; in particular, the timing and relationship of cellular and viral evolution are controversial. To identify cellular homologues of viral proteins, Krupovic and Koonin performed an analysis of sequences and structures of capsid and nucleocapsid
2017-03-27Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) are multi-protein assemblies that traverse the inner and outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria and deliver effectors into host cells. They comprise an outer membrane needle complex, an inner membrane export apparatus and a cytoplasmic sorting platform. High-resolution structures of the
2017-04-03Two new studies provide a structural basis to help us understand the periodic assembly of cyanobacterial clock proteins.
2017-04-10A detailed study of E. coli strains that were isolated from the urine of women shows that bladder colonization does not require previously defined virulence factors but is linked to the differential regulation of core functions.
2017-03-20The respiratory tract is a complex organ system that is responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The human respiratory tract spans from the nostrils to the lung alveoli and is inhabited by niche-specific communities of bacteria. The microbiota of the respiratory tract
2017-02-06Cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs) are highly versatile signalling molecules that control various important biological processes in bacteria. The best-studied example is cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP). Known since the late 1980s, it is now recognized as a near-ubiquitous second messenger that coordinates diverse aspects of bacterial growth and
2017-03-20Water is vital for many biological processes and is essential for all living organisms. However, numerous macroorganisms and microorganisms have adapted to survive in environments in which water is scarce; such organisms are collectively termed xerotolerant. With increasing global desertification due to climate change and
2017-03-06Pathogenic leptospires are the bacterial agents of leptospirosis, which is an emerging zoonotic disease that affects animals and humans worldwide. The success of leptospires as pathogens is explained by their spiral shape and endoflagellar motility (which enable these spirochetes to rapidly cross connective tissues and
2017-03-27Macromolecular crowding affects the mobility of biomolecules, protein folding and stability, and the association of macromolecules with each other. Local differences in crowding that arise as a result of subcellular components and supramolecular assemblies contribute to the structural organization of the cytoplasm. In this Opinion