Biologists at the University of Toronto have successfully tested a new strategy for identifying genetic resources critical for the ongoing battle against plant pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that infect and destroy food crops worldwide. By focusing on the disease-associated genes available to pathogens, and the defenses available to plants, they have developed a new approach for identifying plant immune receptors, which is a genetic resource in short supply in agricultural breeding.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found evidence that specific immune cells may play a key role in the devastating effects of cerebral malaria, a severe form of malaria that mainly affects young children. The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that drugs targeting T cells may be effective in treating the disease. The study was supported by the NIH Intramural Research Program.
The combined effects of chemical contamination by road salt and invasive species can harm native amphibians, according to researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
A study led by Susan Tsang, a former Fulbright Research Fellow from The City College of New York, reveals dwindling populations and widespread hunting throughout Indonesia and the Philippines of the world's largest bats, known as flying foxes.
An innovative -- and inexpensive -- technique targets mosquito larvae where they live.
Brain-eating amoebae can cause particularly harmful forms of encephalitis, and more than 95% of people who develop these rare but devastating infections die. Despite the high mortality rate, there is currently no single effective drug available to fight these microbes. Now, however, researchers have designed some new compounds that show promise in the laboratory as treatments, according to a report in ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
Bacterial viruses, called bacteriophages, are simple genetic machines, relying on their bacterial hosts to replicate and spread. But UC Berkeley scientists have found hundreds of huge phages that carry a slew of bacterial proteins that the phages evidently use to more efficiently manipulate their microbial hosts. These proteins include those involved with ribosomal production of proteins and the CRISPR bacterial immune system, as if the phages are a hybrid between living microbes and viral machines.
Sorgum crops in areas where the parasite witchweed is common have locally adapted to have mutations in a particular gene, which helps the plant resist the parasite. A new study led by researchers at Penn State reveals the effects of this mutation, as well as other genes that might confer parasite resistance.
Scientists have made a major breakthrough in understanding how the parasite that causes malaria is able to multiply at such an alarming rate, which could be a vital clue in discovering how it has evolved, and how it can be stopped. For the first time, scientists have shown how certain molecules play an essential role in the rapid reproduction of parasite cells, which cause this deadly disease.
A UC Berkeley study of cultured bat cells shows that their strong immune responses, constantly primed to respond to viruses, can drive viruses to greater virulence. Modelling bat immune systems on a computer, the researchers showed that when bat cells quickly release interferon upon infection, other cells quickly wall themselves off. This drives viruses to faster reproduction. The increased virulence and infectivity wreak havoc when these viruses infect animals with tamer immune systems, like humans.