What’s your intestinal bacteria type?

As partners in the international research consortium named MetaHit, scientists from the University of Copenhagen have contributed to show that an individual’s intestinal bacteria flora, regardless of nationality, gender and age, organises itself in certain clusters. The cluster of intestinal bacteria flora is hypothesised to have an influence on how we react to both our diet and medicine absorbed through the gastro-intestinal tract. The results have recently been published in the journal Nature.

Most people know about blood types, some also know about tissue types. However, now we may need to consider intestinal bacteria types as well. As part of a large, international research consortium, scientists from the University of Copenhagen have recently contributed to map special “enterotypes”, which are three distinctive clusters of bacteria in the human distal gut. Each of these enterotypes reflects a certain balance between various categories of bacteria in the distal gut, and is thought to impact intestinal bacteria digest food leavings, and utilise these for energy delivery to the gut and the whole body energy metabolism, and on how various drugs are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Continue reading “What’s your intestinal bacteria type?”

New chemical can kill latent tuberculosis bacteria

Success in the laboratory suggests that a new compound can point the way to preventing active tuberculosis in people infected with the latent form of the bacterium, says a team led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. A drug with such properties could also be useful in treating people who already have tuberculosis by shortening the lengthy treatment period. The discovery also points to new ways of thinking about fighting bacterial infection, which is becoming increasingly resistant to traditional antibiotics.

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Newly Engineered Genetic Switches Enhance Production Of Proteins, Pharmaceuticals

Bacteria have evolved complex mechanisms called quorum sensing systems that provide for cell-to-cell communication, an adaptation that allows them to wait until their population grows large enough before mounting an attack on a host or competing for nutrients. Lianhong Sun, a chemical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has engineered one of these systems to create genetic switches that could lower the cost of producing therapeutic proteins and pharmaceuticals.
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Scientists Create the First Synthetic Bacterial Genome

A team of 17 researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) has created the largest man-made DNA structure by synthesizing and assembling the 582,970 base pair genome of a bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0. This work, published online today in the journal Science by Dan Gibson, Ph.D., et al, is the second of three key steps toward the team’s goal of creating a fully synthetic organism. In the next step, which is ongoing at the JCVI, the team will attempt to create a living bacterial cell based entirely on the synthetically made genome.
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Researchers Find Promising New Targets for Antibiotics

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have identified new sites on the bacterial cell’s protein-making machinery where antibiotics can be delivered to treat infections.
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Scientists equip bacteria with custom chemo-navigational system

Using an innovative method to control the movement of Escherichia coli in a chemical environment, Emory University scientists have opened the door to powerful new opportunities in drug delivery, environmental cleanup and synthetic biology. Their findings are published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and will be published in a future print issue.
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Bacteria vs. Humans: Score One for Us

Researchers in San Diego announce a new molecule that stops bacteria from mutating to become resistant to antibiotics.

A biochemist at Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Romesberg has announced the discovery of a molecule that inhibits bacteria’s ability to change its DNA and fend off the mortal threat of antibiotics. The moleculer was found after the lab screened more than 100,000 possible compounds. The molecule also slips easily into a bacterial cell, which is critical to creating an effective tool to zap the bugs.

Read rest of this story on Technology Review site.

Human skin harbors completely unknown bacteria

It appears that the skin, the largest organ in our body, is a kind of zoo and some of the inhabitants are quite novel, according to a new study. Researchers found evidence for 182 species of bacteria in skin samples. Eight percent were unknown species that had never before been described.

It is the first study to identify the composition of bacterial populations on the skin using a powerful molecular method. Not only were the bacteria more diverse than previously estimated, but some of them had not been found before, says Martin J. Blaser, M.D., Frederick King Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine, one of the authors of the study.

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Two miles underground, strange bacteria are found thriving

A Princeton-led research group has discovered an isolated community of bacteria nearly two miles underground that derives all of its energy from the decay of radioactive rocks rather than from sunlight. According to members of the team, the finding suggests life might exist in similarly extreme conditions even on other worlds.
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Scientists publishes first human microbiome analysis

For the first time, scientists have defined the collective genome of the human gut, or colon. Up to 100 trillion microbes, representing more than 1,000 species, make up a motley "microbiome" that allows humans to digest much of what we eat, including some vitamins, sugars, and fiber, an accomplishment that has far-reaching implications for clinical diagnosis and treatment of many human diseases.

In a study published in the June 2 issue of Science, scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and their colleagues describe and analyze the colon microbiome, which includes more than 60,000 genes–twice as many as found in the human genome. Some of these microbial genes code for enzymes that humans need to digest food, suggesting that bacteria in the colon co-evolved with their human host, to mutual benefit.

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How Bacteria Sense Their Environments

When humans taste or smell, receptors unique to each nerve cell detect the chemical and send signals to the brain, where many cells process the message to understand what we are smelling or tasting. But a bacterium is just a single cell, and it must use many different receptors to sense and interpret everything around it.

Bacteria can sense in their environments changes in molecular concentrations as small as 0.1 percent, the equivalent of one drop diluted in a pool of a 1,000 drops. How do they do it?

New Cornell research, highlighted on the cover of the May issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, reveals that receptors assemble into a kind of cooperative lattice on a bacterium's surface to amplify infinitesimal changes in the environment and kick off processes that lead to specific responses within the cell.
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