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370: Magnets Make Messenger More Moveable

This episode: Enhancing a virus with magnetic nanoparticles and CRISPR-Cas gene editing abilities makes it a good vector for genetic therapies! Download Episode (11.2 MB, 12.25 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Staphylococcus virus S253 News item Takeaways Gene delivery, getting genetic content for gene therapy to the correct tissues in an organism, has long been a very tricky problem. And genetic modification, making specific changes at a specific place in a genome,...


369: Powering Purple Prokaryote Protonation

This episode: Purple phototrophic bacteria could use certain kinds of wastewater, along with electric current, to produce valuable products like hydrogen without much waste! Thanks to Dr. Ioanna Vasiliadou for her contribution! Download Episode (12.7 MB, 13.9 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces tendae News item Takeaways Purple phototrophic bacteria can take light energy and use it to help power their metabolism. They're not dependent on it like plants,...


368: Prokaryotes Promote Passing Parent Peculiarities

This episode: Fruit fly gut microbes can mediate non-genetic traits passed from parents to offspring! Thanks to Dr. Per Stenberg for his contribution! Download Episode (10.0 MB, 10.9 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Bifidobacterium breve News item Takeaways Heritability of traits is essential for evolution; if an ability can't be passed on from generation to generation, then natural selection can't act on it on a population-wide level. An organism's genome is...


BacterioFiles 367 - Migrating Modifies Microbiota

This episode: Women who immigrated to the US from southeast Asia lost much of their gut microbiota diversity, resulting in a microbe community similar to the typical American! Download Episode (9.3 MB, 10.2 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Pseudomonas anguilliseptica News item Journal Paper: Vangay P, Johnson AJ, Ward TL, Al-Ghalith GA, Shields-Cutler RR, Hillmann BM, Lucas SK, Beura LK, Thompson EA, Till LM, Batres R, Paw B, Pergament SL, Saenyakul P, Xiong M, Kim...


BacterioFiles 366 - Globules Get Garbage Gone

This episode: Bacteria rid themselves of burdensome waste by ejecting it inside little pieces of their own cell, called minicells! Download Episode (10.8 MB, 11.9 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Cacao yellow mosaic virus News item Journal Papers: Rang CU, Proenca A, Buetz C, Shi C, Chao L. 2018. Minicells as a Damage Disposal Mechanism in Escherichia coli. mSphere 3:e00428-18. Other interesting stories: Gut microbe can help protect mice from colon cancerMicrobes...


BacterioFiles 365 - Saccharomycopsis Cells Slay Sickeners

This episode: Dr. Klara Junker joins me to discuss her work on the predatory yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii that can kill the serious pathogenic yeast Candida auris! Download Episode (11.0 MB, 12.0 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Lambdapapillomavirus 5 Movies of Saccharomycopsis attacking other yeasts Journal Papers: Junker K, Bravo Ruiz G, Lorenz A, Walker L, Gow NAR, Wendland J. 2018. The mycoparasitic yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii predates and kills multi-drug...


BacterioFiles 364 - Polyproteins Promote Producing Pabulum

This episode: Engineering other organisms to fix nitrogen by combining the required enzyme components into giant proteins that then get cut into the regular-sized subunit components! Download Episode (10.5 MB, 11.5 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Blastochloris sulfoviridis Journal commentary (paywall) Journal Papers: Yang J, Xie X, Xiang N, Tian Z-X, Dixon R, Wang Y-P. 2018. Polyprotein strategy for stoichiometric assembly of nitrogen fixation components for...


BacterioFiles 363 - Tiny Treasure Tunnels

This episode: Intricate networks of tunnels in garnet gemstones seem to have come from tunneling microorganisms! Thanks to Magnus Ivarsson for his contribution! Download Episode (5.4 MB, 5.9 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces griseosporeus News item Journal Papers: Ivarsson M, Skogby H, Phichaikamjornwut B, Bengtson S, Siljeström S, Ounchanum P, Boonsoong A, Kruachanta M, Marone F, Belivanova V, Holmström S. 2018. Intricate tunnels in garnets from soils...


BacterioFiles 362 - Combining Chromosomes

This episode: Combining all 16 of yeast's chromosomes into one or two only impairs their growth slightly in the lab, but it prevents them from successful mating with wild yeasts! Download Episode (12.4 MB, 13.6 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Vibrio succinogenes News item 1/News item 2 Journal Papers: Luo J, Sun X, Cormack BP, Boeke JD. 2018. Karyotype engineering by chromosome fusion leads to reproductive isolation in yeast. Nature 560:392–396. Shao Y, Lu N, Wu Z,...


BacterioFiles 361 - Figuring Fungus's Forcing Fly Functions

This episode: Bringing a fungus that makes zombie flies into the lab makes a good model for studying microbial mind-control! Thanks to Dr. Carolyn Elya for her contribution! Download Episode (12.1 MB, 13.25 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Dipteran brevidensovirus 2 News item Videos of fly fungus infection progression Journal Papers: Elya C, Lok TC, Spencer QE, McCausland H, Martinez CC, Eisen M. 2018. Robust manipulation of the behavior of Drosophila...


BacterioFiles 360 - Fellow Phages Fight Fortifications

This episode: Bacteriophages with defenses against bacterial CRISPR defenses have to work together to succeed! Thanks to Drs. Edze Westra and Stineke van Houte for their contributions, and to Calvin Cornell for suggesting this story! Download Episode (9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Lactobacillus casei subsp. alactosus News item 1/News item 2 Journal Papers: Borges AL, Zhang JY, Rollins MF, Osuna BA, Wiedenheft B, Bondy-Denomy J. 2018. Bacteriophage...


BacterioFiles 359 - Prokaryotes Provoke Perpendicular Punishment

This episode: Some bacteria produce DNA-targeting toxins, which provokes a similar retaliation from other strains. Sometimes this hurts the provoker, but sometimes it is very helpful to them! Thanks to Dr. Despoina Mavridou for her contribution! Download Episode (7.9 MB, 8.4 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Mycobacterium virus Athena News item Journal Paper: Gonzalez D, Sabnis A, Foster KR, Mavridou DAI. 2018. Costs and benefits of provocation in bacterial warfare....


BacterioFiles 358 - elegans Endures Edifying Enterococcus

This episode: Roundworms and not-too-irritating bacteria quickly evolve a beneficial relationship when under threat from other bacterial pathogens! Download Episode (7.5 MB, 8.1 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Siegesbeckia yellow vein betasatellite News item Journal Paper: Rafaluk‐Mohr C, Ashby B, Dahan DA, King KC. 2018. Mutual fitness benefits arise during coevolution in a nematode-defensive microbe model. Evol Lett 2:246–256. Other interesting stories: Phages...


BacterioFiles 357 - Colossal Contagion Codes Catabolism

This episode: A new giant virus infecting marine algae brings its own genes related to fermentation, generating energy in the absence of oxygen! Thanks to Drs. Chris Schvarcz and Grieg Steward for their contributions! Download Episode (14 MB, 15.25 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Borrelia anserina News item Journal Paper: Schvarcz CR, Steward GF. 2018. A giant virus infecting green algae encodes key fermentation genes. Virology 518:423–433. Other interesting...


BacterioFiles 356 - Beams Boost Bolstered Bacteria

This episode: Combining cells with light-absorbing nanomaterials can help tumor-targeting bacteria produce more anticancer compound! Download Episode (10.4 MB, 11.4 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Maruca vitrata nucleopolyhedrovirus Here's a paper I found that actually shows carbon dot nanomaterials enhancing bacterial nitrogen fixation Journal Paper: Zheng D-W, Chen Y, Li Z-H, Xu L, Li C-X, Li B, Fan J-X, Cheng S-X, Zhang X-Z. 2018. Optically-controlled bacterial...


BacterioFiles 355 - Photon Factors Favor Fancy Fuels

This episode: Engineering yeast to control their metabolism using light and dark for the production of advanced biofuels and chemicals! Download Episode (16.1 MB, 17.7 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Equine arteritis virus News item Journal Paper: Zhao EM, Zhang Y, Mehl J, Park H, Lalwani MA, Toettcher JE, Avalos JL. 2018. Optogenetic regulation of engineered cellular metabolism for microbial chemical production. Nature 555:683–687. Email questions or comments to...


BacterioFiles 354 - Prokaryote Protection Promotes Protein Passing

This episode: The bacterial immune system, CRISPR-Cas, can enhance gene transfer via transduction (phages carrying bacteria DNA) despite preventing it via conjugation! Download Episode (14.9 MB, 16.3 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Human polyomavirus 8 Journal Paper: Watson BNJ, Staals RHJ, Fineran PC. 2018. CRISPR-Cas-Mediated Phage Resistance Enhances Horizontal Gene Transfer by Transduction. mBio 9:e02406-17. Other interesting stories: Using yeast in packets to...


BacterioFiles 353 - Pathogen Prevents Pathogen Pervasion

This episode: Some bacteria that can cause pneumonia can prevent other bacteria from doing the same! Download Episode (9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Bell pepper mottle virus Journal Paper: Reddinger RM, Luke-Marshall NR, Sauberan SL, Hakansson AP, Campagnari AA. 2018. Streptococcus pneumoniae Modulates Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Dispersion and the Transition from Colonization to Invasive Disease. mBio 9:e02089-17. Other interesting stories: Trying to...


BacterioFiles 352 - Staphylococcus Stops Skin Swellings

This episode: A harmless strain of bacteria on the skin produces a compound that can prevent tumors from forming! Download Episode (9.2 MB, 10 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Hamiltonella virus APSE1 News item Journal Paper: Nakatsuji T, Chen TH, Butcher AM, Trzoss LL, Nam S-J, Shirakawa KT, Zhou W, Oh J, Otto M, Fenical W, Gallo RL. 2018. A commensal strain of Staphylococcus epidermidis protects against skin neoplasia. Sci Adv 4:eaao4502. Other interesting...


BacterioFiles 351 - Tupanvirus Transports Translation Tools

This episode: New giant virus has genes for a surprisingly complete system of protein synthesis! Download Episode (10.1 MB, 11.1 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Phocid alphaherpesvirus 1 Video of tupanvirus intracellular factory Journal Paper: Abrahão J, Silva L, Silva LS, Khalil JYB, Rodrigues R, Arantes T, Assis F, Boratto P, Andrade M, Kroon EG, Ribeiro B, Bergier I, Seligmann H, Ghigo E, Colson P, Levasseur A, Kroemer G, Raoult D, La Scola B. 2018. Tailed giant...