News & Comment

  • News and Views |

    The 2013–2016 West African Ebola virus outbreak evidenced that the virus can persist in survivors long-term, leading to sequelae and risks of new transmission chains. Ebola virus has now been shown to behave similarly in rhesus macaques, enabling their use to study persistence and intervention strategies.

    • Trina Racine
    •  & Gary P. Kobinger
  • News and Views |

    Structural analyses of the type IV coupling protein of the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system from Legionella pneumophila reveal how this platform recruits a plethora of substrates for translocation.

    • Peter J. Christie
  • News and Views |

    Proteomics analyses reveal how the long-term coexistence of the marine picocyanobacterium Synechococcus and the heterotroph Ruegeria pomeroyi, of the globally abundant marine Roseobacter group, is based on the mutual and beneficial recycling of inorganic and organic nitrogen compounds.

    • Meinhard Simon
  • Editorial |

    The recommendation that antibiotic courses are always completed should be dropped according to a recent analysis. While a welcome addition to discussion on the role of stewardship in tackling resistance, caution should be applied before advice on prescription practices and communication with patients is altered.

  • Editorial |

    Fungal pathogens are virtually ignored by the press, the public and funding bodies, despite posing a significant threat to public health, food biosecurity and biodiversity.

  • News and Views |

    The discovery and genomic characterization of a new group of extreme halophilic methanogens sheds light on the origin of methanogenesis and the evolution of the Haloarchaea.

    • Anja Spang
    •  & Thijs J. G. Ettema
  • News and Views |

    Co-culture of bacterial cells engineered with quorum-sensing and self-lysis circuits allows coupled oscillatory dynamics and stable states, opening the way to engineered microbial ecosystems with targeted dynamics and extending gene circuits to the ecosystem level.

    • Alfonso Jaramillo
  • Editorial |

    The WHO's plans to bolster global vector control measures blend audacious goals with a sensible approach that could save lives and stimulate economic growth and development in many of the world's poorest nations.

  • News and Views |

    Nitric oxide synthase has long been associated with control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. However, new work reveals that instead of directing an antibacterial killing response, nitric oxide is critical for restraining granulocytic inflammation, which can provide a nutrient-rich niche for increased bacterial growth.

    • Christina L. Stallings
  • Comment |

    In many countries, the success of misinformation, alternative facts or fake news is promoting a climate of science denial, where false claims such as vaccination causing autism can spread. Learning lessons from behavioural studies can help advocate for vaccination in the face of vaccine refusers and deniers.

    • Cornelia Betsch
  • News and Views |

    Plants respond to microbial attack with a lethal burst of reactive oxygen species. How then, do pathogens successfully invade plants? Unexpectedly, a link between primary metabolism and suppression of plant immunity allows the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae to grow in such a hostile environment.

    • Antonio Di Pietro
    •  & Nicholas J. Talbot
  • News and Views |

    Coenzymes serve as the catalytic core in many metabolic reactions, but despite their extensive use and intrinsic chemical reactivity, they are remarkably stable.

    • Jens Nielsen
  • News and Views |

    Structural and functional studies of the archaeum Methanocaldococcus jannaschii Argonaute (MjAgo) reveal a DNA-guided DNA nuclease that is also active without a guide. This unguided activity is suggested to prime MjAgo for its subsequent sequence-specific DNA-silencing role in host defence.

    • Lennart Randau
  • News and Views |

    The antimalarial mefloquine has been used in the clinic for decades, yet its mode of action has remained elusive. Now, a study reports that the enantiomer (+)-mefloquine binds to the cytosolic ribosome of the major malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

    • Jeremy Burrows
  • News and Views |

    Flaviviruses stimulate cross-reactive immune responses that may reduce or exacerbate manifestations of subsequent flavivirus infection. Recent work demonstrates that cross-reactive T cells protect against Zika in HLA transgenic mice, a key step in the development of safe and effective vaccines.

    • Matthew Collins
    •  & Aravinda de Silva
  • News and Views |

    Structural analysis of the mycobacterial ESX-5 secretion complex presents an important step towards understanding how the ESX type VII (T7) secretion systems can translocate a multitude of substrates — including virulence factors involved in pathogenesis — across the bacterial cell envelope.

    • Tracy Palmer
  • Editorial |

    From roles in the health, nutrition and performance of humans during spaceflight, through to the question of life on other worlds, microbiology has fundamental contributions to make to our exploration of the cosmos.

  • Q&A |

    We asked microbiologist and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins about her time on the International Space Station, the challenges of working with bugs in space, and what's next for science that is out of this world.

    • Emily White
  • News and Views |

    RIPK3 is a well-known mediator of the necroptosis cell death pathway, which is an important antiviral defence mechanism. In an unexpected twist, RIPK3 has now been shown to also drive neuroprotective inflammation in the central nervous system during West Nile virus infection in a cell-death-independent manner.

    • Katherine B. Ragan
    •  & Jason W. Upton
  • News and Views |

    It is unclear why pregnant women are at high risk of severe influenza infection. Allogeneic pregnancy in mice is now shown to alter both innate and adaptive responses to influenza virus infection, enabling the emergence of more virulent virus variants.

    • Elodie Ghedin
    •  & Stacey Schultz-Cherry
  • Editorial |

    If we are to be successful in keeping priority pathogens at bay in the long term, global responses to antimicrobial resistance should embrace and fund innovative therapeutic strategies that are developed in the basic microbiology laboratory.

  • News and Views |

    Bacterial specialized metabolites are bioactive molecules with antibacterial or other activities that are of tremendous clinical use. New work has revealed that transcript elongation is a distinct and widespread point of secondary metabolic gene regulation, which has implications for expanding drug discovery.

    • Justin R. Nodwell