An international consortium reports the largest-ever global metagenomic study of urban microbiomes, spanning the air and the surfaces of multiple cities. The project, which sequenced and analyzed samples collected from public transit systems and hospitals in 60 cities around the world, features comprehensive analysis and annotation for all the microbial species identified -- including thousands of viruses and bacteria and two archaea not found in reference databases. The study appears May 26 in the journal Cell.
Underground coal seams engulfed in a fire are not a very pleasant place to live. Nevertheless, Russian scientists, while examining the quarries of the Kemerovo region, showed that microorganisms also live there. They are similar to those that inhabit hot springs and other harsh habitats and are capable of metabolizing carbon monoxide, hydrogen, nitrates, and other compounds that are often hazardous to humans.
An international and multidisciplinary team led by researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Glasgow, and University of Heidelberg, has uncovered the interactions that SARS-CoV-2 RNA establishes with the host cell, many of which are fundamental for infection. These discoveries pave the way for the development of new therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 with broad-range antiviral potential.
An international research team, led by scientists from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), discovers additional component in staphylococcal cell wall that turns the bacterium potentially deadly.
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have identified a new type of carbonic anhydrase enzyme that can convert CO2 to HCO3- without the use of a metal ion. This discovery not only increases our understanding of how this essential family of enzymes work, but could also be applied to artificial synthesis to help generate renewable energy sources in the future.
It is said that 10 to 15% of the world's agricultural production loss is caused by diseases, which is equivalent of the food for about 500 million people. And since 70-80% of this plant disease is caused by filamentous fungi, protecting crops from filamentous fungi is an important issue in effectively feeding the world population. In order for pathogenic fungi to infect plants, they must break through the epidermal cells of the plant and invade the interior. In other words, plant epidermal cells act as the first barrier to stop the attack of pathogenic fungi in the environment. So what kind of defense functions do epidermal cells have?
Researchers at the Vienna BioCenter designed a testing protocol for SARS-CoV-2 that can process tens of thousands of samples in less than 48 hours. The method, called SARSeq, is published in the journal Nature Communications and could be adapted to many more pathogens.
Years of development and testing remain before peptoid drugs, based on peptide-like molecules, could possibly make it to market. But encouraging results thus far suggest they have the potential to become a new category of antiviral treatments for everything from herpes and COVID-19 to the common cold.
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have shown that the presence of both immune-suppressive and non-suppressive bacteria in the plant root microbiota is crucial to strike a balance between plant growth and plant defence, and maintain plant-microbe homeostasis.
Using a unique historical baseline (1983-2019), scientists have discovered dramatic changes in the chemistry and composition of Sargassum, floating brown seaweed, transforming this vibrant living organism into a toxic "dead zone." Results suggest that increased nitrogen availability from natural and anthropogenic sources, including sewage, is supporting blooms of Sargassum and turning a critical nursery habitat into harmful algal blooms with catastrophic impacts on coastal ecosystems, economies, and human health. Globally, harmful algal blooms are related to increased nutrient pollution.