News & Comment

  • News and Views |

    The Uncultivated Bacteria and Archaea dataset is a foundational collection of 7,903 genomes from uncultivated microorganisms. It highlights how microbial diversity is readily recovered using current tools and existing metagenomic datasets to help piece together the tree of life.

    • Lindsey M. Solden
    •  & Kelly C. Wrighton
  • Editorial |

    An increased focus on identifying disease hotspots and pre-emptive intervention will be key to halting outbreaks before they become established, but political and economic obstacles cannot be ignored if ambitious new targets to reduce global cholera mortality tenfold are to be achieved.

  • News and Views |

    Two studies identify circulating monocytes as the primary cellular target of Zika virus infection in human blood. Monocytes are an ideal target as they have the potential to be used as a Trojan horse to infiltrate immune-sheltered tissues, including placenta, testes and the brain, to spread Zika virus.

    • Kellie Ann Jurado
    •  & Akiko Iwasaki
  • News and Views |

    The study of phages that pose a threat to the cheese industry, which enabled the original demonstration that CRISPR–Cas systems work as adaptive immune systems in bacteria, now leads to the identification of a new anti-CRISPR that inhibits Cas9 from Streptococcus pyogenes.

    • Alan R. Davidson
  • Editorial |

    Translating scientific discoveries into real world solutions is a goal shared by researchers, governments, industry and the public alike. While continued support for basic research is critical, improvements in the funding, evaluation and publication of translational work are also needed to fully realize the promise of applied research.

  • News and Views |

    The Streptococcus pyogenes surface M protein is a critical multifunctional virulence factor. Recent work sheds light on a new unexpected function of the M protein in activating the host inflammasome to induce macrophage cell death and promote infection.

    • Madeleine W. Cunningham
  • News and Views |

    The goal of malaria eradication is threatened by drug resistance. Now, two studies characterize Plasmodium falciparum PKG inhibitors and hexahydroquinolines as antimalarial compounds that could block transmission and help mitigate the risk of parasite escape via drug resistance.

    • Thierry Diagana
    •  & Catherine Jones
  • News and Views |

    Influenza B virus causes substantial illness globally, particularly in children. Treatment options are limited, as the most widely used antiviral drug appears to be less effective than against influenza A. A new antibody targeting the influenza B neuraminidase shows promise in mice as a therapeutic option.

    • Aeron C. Hurt
    •  & Kanta Subbarao
  • News and Views |

    A newly described plasmid, which encodes proteins facilitating its packaging and cell-to-cell transfer via membrane vesicles, challenges the way we think about the delineation of viruses, plasmids and extracellular vesicles.

    • Patrick Forterre
    • , Violette Da Cunha
    •  & Ryan Catchpole
  • 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