Novozymes reveals knowledge on new antibiotic against resistant bacteria

Scientists from Novozymes have now found the mechanism by which plectasin, an anti-microbial peptide, kills bacteria that cause severe infections in humans.

Peptide antibiotics such as plectasin have retained antibiotic activity throughout evolution. The new knowledge shows that plectasin and other related peptides from invertebrates such as flies and mussels, targets the ‘Achilles heel’ of bacteria. Basically it binds and sequesters a precursor used in the cell-wall biosynthesis. As the bacteria cannot live without the cell-wall they are rapidly killed.

Experiments with plectasin show that it is very difficult for bacteria to develop resistance towards it. Bacteria truly resistant to Vancomycin, one of the antibiotics of choice in combating resistant bacteria and which also binds the same precursor, are still sensitive towards plectasin, making it a promising new alternative to resistant infections. Continue reading “Novozymes reveals knowledge on new antibiotic against resistant bacteria”


First Self-Replicating, Synthetic Bacterial Cell Constructed by J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute JCVI, a not-for-profit genomic research organization, published results today describing the successful construction of the first self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cell. The team synthesized the 1.08 million base pair chromosome of a modified Mycoplasma mycoides genome. The synthetic cell is called Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 and is the proof of principle that genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome. Continue reading “First Self-Replicating, Synthetic Bacterial Cell Constructed by J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers”

Bran Reduces Heart Disease Deaths

People with diabetes who eat plenty of bran-rich whole grains appear to have a reduced risk of death from heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular causes, a new study shows.

Researchers from Harvard University followed almost 8,000 nurses with type 2 diabetes for almost three decades.

They found that women who ate the most bran had a 35% lower risk of death from heart disease and a 28% lower risk of death from all causes than women who ate the least.

Compared to people without diabetes, diabetic people have two to three times the risk of heart disease and early death.

The new research suggests eating a balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains can help lower this risk, American Heart Association spokesman Robert Eckel, MD, tells WebMD.

via Bran Reduces Heart Disease Deaths.

Examining Individual Tumor Cells

Despite decades of research into cancer biology, researchers still dont fully understand what happens to the malignant cells DNA as they mutate. Its not an idle question: The better biologists appreciate how DNA changes, the better they can create therapies that specifically target the disease. Now scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, have found a way to get a far more detailed look at a tumors biology than was previously possible. James Hicks and his colleagues have shown, for the first time, that its possible to examine the genomic evolution of individual cells within a tumor.

via Technology Review: Examining Individual Tumor Cells.

Olive Oil May Cut Risk of Ulcerative Colitis

Two or three tablespoons a day of olive oil may help protect against ulcerative colitis, preliminary research suggests.In a new study, people with the highest consumption of oleic acid — a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil, peanut oil, and grapeseed oil, as well as in butter and certain margarines — had an almost a 90% reduced risk of the inflammatory bowel disease, compared with those with the lowest intake.

via Olive Oil May Cut Risk of Ulcerative Colitis.

Weird, Ultra-Small Microbes Turn Up in Acidic Mine Drainage

In the depths of a former copper mine in Northern California dwell what may be the smallest, most stripped-down forms of life ever discovered.

An ARMAN cell (center, orange) is penetrated by a needle-like protrusion from Thermoplasma (lower left), an Archaea that lives in the same acidic pools as ARMAN. The much smaller, yellow lozenges are viruses that also infect ARMAN cells. A probably dying ARMAN cell (top) has grown to a diameter of about 1,000 nanometers -- less than one hundredth the width of a human hair. (Credit: Luis R. Comolli/LBNL)

Continue reading “Weird, Ultra-Small Microbes Turn Up in Acidic Mine Drainage”