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Interesting facts about Microorganisms

February - 2018

Tissue mechanics essential for cell movement

        Cells that form facial features need surrounding embryonic tissues to stiffen so they can move and develop, according to new UCL-led research. The discovery has important implications for understanding the causes of facial defects which account for a third of all birth defects globally (3.2 million each year) and are the primary cause of infant mortality. It is the first time that the mechanical properties of the environment surrounding embryonic cells has been shown to be crucial in cell movement and development, rather than genes or molecules. The researchers say it is likely that a similar mechanism is used by other cells involved in spreading cancer and wound healing.

Source: phys

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When it comes to extinction, body size matters

        In classic extinction models, animals move over their surroundings like pacmen, chomping up resources to fuel their survival. On a certain level, extinction is all about energy. Animals move over their surroundings like pacmen, chomping up resources to fuel their survival. If they gain a certain energy threshold, they reproduce, essentially earning an extra life. If they encounter too many empty patches, they starve, and by the end of the level it's game over.

Source: phys

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Competing for blood: How ecologists are solving infectious disease mysteries

        By looking at malaria infections (yellow) and hookworms (grey) as competitors battling over a key resource, red blood cells. Princeton ecologists Andrea Graham and Sarah Budischak were able to explain why some co-infected patients got sicker after being dewormed: without the hookworms to keep them in check, the malaria infection can run rampant.

Source: phys

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Biologists decipher a key piece of the odor-detection puzzle in flies, mosquitoes

        UCR biologists have discovered that the complex odor-detecting machinery of the fruit fly Drosophila is heavily influenced by one specific odor receptor made up of two subunits, called Gr21a and Gr63a.

Source: phys

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Viruses—lots of them—are falling from the sky

        An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth's atmosphere and falling from it according to new research from scientists in Canada, Spain and the U.S. Viruses and bacteria fall back to Earth via dust storms and precipitation.

Source: phys

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Microscope enables researchers to control motion within living cells

        Flow of cell fluid in a worm embryo: a new microscope allows researchers to change the flow direction. As a result, the head-to-tail body axis of the embryo is reversed.

Source: phys

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January - 2018

Bacterial diversity's shelf life longer than previously expected

        University of Montana scientists have published a study in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution showing that bacterial diversity may stick around millions of years longer than previously thought.

Source: phys

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Plotting the path of plant pathogens

        In a sneak attack, some pathogenic microbes manipulate plant hormones to gain access to their hosts undetected. Biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have exposed one such interloper by characterizing the unique biochemical pathway it uses to synthesize auxin, a central hormone in plant development.

Source: phys

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Parasite mimics human proteins to provide 'ready meals' from the gut

        Giardia parasites - responsible for one of the world's most common gastric diseases are able to mimic human cell functions to break apart cells in the gut and feed off them, new research has shown.

Source: phys

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High-resolution imaging gives an unparalleled view of how fungi grow

        Many fungus species grow through a process of vesicle secretion that can be applied in a biotechnology setting to make commercial or medical products. However, the details of this process are unclear. Researchers at the University of Tsukuba (Japan) used a high-speed imaging technique to visualize hyphal growth in the fungus Aspergillus nidulans. Several new features were uncovered, including the discovery that different vesicle types move at different velocities.

Source: phys

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Bacterial highways

        The cheese rind bacteria Serratia proteamaculans follow physical networks, microscopic “highways” created by filamentous fungi to swim in the liquid layers on the fungal branches. This interaction could play a major role in shaping the composition of microbiomes, researchers say.

Source: The scientist

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Researchers Discover 10 New Immune Systems in Bacteria

        Bacteria have been defending themselves from phages, viruses that attack bacterial cells for billions of years, and unlocking the immune mechanisms they use to protect themselves has led to the development of powerful molecular biology tools such as restriction enzymes and CRISPR-Cas9. Now, researchers have discovered 10 more immune systems that bacteria use to protect themselves against phages and plasmids, opening up the possibility to add new tools to the molecular biology toolbox.

Source: The scientist

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