Reviews & Analysis

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  • A newly discovered type of bacterial effector produced by the intracellular pathogen Shigella flexneri cooperates with other virulence factors to sabotage host inflammatory responses.

    • Ilan Rosenshine
    News & Views
  • Mice raised under specific pathogen-free conditions in a lab do not model the natural exposure of animals and humans to environmental commensals and pathogens. Now, two studies show that exposing mice to their natural environment, or infecting them with specific pathogens, results in an immune system that better resembles that of adult humans.

    • Federica Sallusto
    News & Views
  • Emergence of resistance in eukaryotic microbial pathogens is a major concern. This Review discusses the challenges posed by eukaryotic pathogens, therapies used to target them, emergence of resistance and new approaches to sustaining existing therapies and developing new ones.

    • Alan H. Fairlamb
    • Neil A. R. Gow
    • Andrew P. Waters
    Review Article
  • Antibiotic therapy is a cornerstone of contemporary medicine. Resistance testing is the gold standard for selecting antibiotics, but in some cases they are surprisingly ineffective. A study now shows that pathogens can form a subset of cells which survive, and even continue to grow in the face of antibiotics.

    • Wolf-Dietrich Hardt
    News & Views
  • Human pressures on coral reefs are giving macroalgae a competitive advantage over reef-building corals. These algae support larger, and potentially pathogenic, microbial populations that are metabolically primed for less-efficient, yet faster, carbohydrate remineralization, perpetuating a vicious cycle of reef degradation.

    • Melissa Garren
    News & Views
  • Several microbes produce proteases that cleave antibodies to evade immune recognition. Humans seem to have a receptor on myeloid cells that detects the presence of cleaved antibodies and activates innate immunity.

    • John Trowsdale
    News & Views
  • The plant pathogenic fungus Fusarium oxysporum secretes an effector that is similar to a plant peptide hormone, underscoring the variety of mechanisms that plant pathogens have evolved to tamper with host physiology.

    • Sophien Kamoun
    • Cyril Zipfel
    News & Views
  • A classical mutant screen and genetic analyses powered by next-generation sequencing reveal that Aspergillus nidulans phytochrome-dependent red light sensing is transmitted via the high-osmolarity-glycerol mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade.

    • Alexander Idnurm
    • Yong-Sun Bahn
    News & Views
  • A new large-scale genomics study reports a vastly expanded tree of life that is based on genomic data from over 3,000 species, including many uncultivated and poorly characterized prokaryotes.

    • Anja Spang
    • Thijs J. G. Ettema
    News & Views
  • Multidrug tolerant bacterial persister cells frequently arise in response to the activation of toxin–antitoxin systems. However, this prevailing view may be less general than assumed. ATP depletion may mediate another route to the persister state for the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus.

    • Ralph Bertram
    News & Views
  • A linear-mixed modelling genome-wide association approach for detecting genes and genetic variants underlying antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens heralds a new era for microbial genome-wide association studies.

    • Daniel Falush
    News & Views
  • Methylation of HIV RNA has been identified as a way to modulate export of viral transcripts, thereby impacting viral gene expression and particle production. Thus epitranscriptomics adds a new layer of complexity in viral gene expression regulation and also new opportunities for developing therapeutic strategies.

    • Angela Ciuffi
    News & Views
  • Functional selection of novel antibiotic resistance genes and metagenomic sequencing reveal how antibiotic treatment and bacterial resistance genes interact to shape the fragile microbiome of premature infants.

    • Kristen Meyer
    • Kjersti Aagaard
    News & Views
  • A viral infection can reduce expression of a host phosphatase that would otherwise dampen the oncogenic activity of a bacterial virulence factor. The results suggest a possible mechanism for cooperation of infections in the development of stomach cancer.

    • Paul Farrell
    News & Views
  • Genomic analysis of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates taken from a single individual with a chronic and relapsing infection reveals how these bacteria have adapted to their host surroundings. Increased within-host fitness comes at the expense of ancillary traits such as virulence.

    • Brian K. Coombes
    News & Views
  • Parasite access to the central nervous system is a severe complication of infection. Toxoplasma gondii can achieve this by directly infecting, replicating in and lysing blood–brain barrier endothelial cells.

    • Aarti Krishnan
    • Dominique Soldati-Favre
    News & Views
  • A systems biology approach to analyse yeast auxotrophs shows that, even when supplemented, they have profoundly altered transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolic profiles.

    • Alain Jacquier
    News & Views
  • A transmembrane protein receptor that is critical for adeno-associated virus infection has been identified through an unbiased, genome-wide screen. Its role in viral entry could potentially be harnessed to develop enhanced gene therapy vectors and better animal models of human disease.

    • Sabrina Sun
    • David V. Schaffer
    News & Views
  • Recombination of genes responsible for synthesis of major surface lipooligosaccharides, and consequent loss of these compounds in a Mycobacterium canettii-like progenitor, increased virulence and drove evolution from an environmental, relatively non-pathogenic status to virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the cause of the present-day TB epidemic.

    • Patrick J. Brennan
    News & Views