Reviews & Analysis

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  • Contractile injection systems are nanomachines used by bacteria to puncture target cell membranes, thereby mediating bacterial competition and infection of eukaryotic cells. Two studies shed light on the structural diversity of these molecular spearguns using advanced multiscale imaging techniques.

    • Ricardo D. Righetto
    • Benjamin D. Engel
    News & Views
  • This Review summarizes current knowledge on the vaginal microbiota and discusses how research can progress from association to mechanism to provide deeper insights into its role in health and disease.

    • Michael France
    • Madeline Alizadeh
    • Jacques Ravel
    Review Article
  • A potential new therapeutic approach that targets the unique nutrient requirements of Lactobacillus iners to improve bacterial vaginosis treatment outcomes is described.

    • Lindi Masson
    • Andrea G. Abrahams
    • Monalisa T. Manhanzva
    News & Views
  • Infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) induces remodelling of the host-cell transcriptome, which is mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. Histone acetylation of KCNJ15 stimulates transcription and the activation of genes implicated in apoptosis to promote Mtb clearance.

    • Melanie A. Carless
    • Larry S. Schlesinger
    News & Views
  • Homeodomain protein 1 (HDP1), a DNA-binding protein unrelated to AP2 transcription factors, has been identified as a regulator of gametocyte maturation in Plasmodium falciparum.

    • Kim C. Williamson
    News & Views
  • A combination of highly accurate long-read sequencing and genome contact maps has been used to produce hundreds of lineage-resolved metagenome-assembled genomes from a complex microbial community isolated from a sheep fecal sample.

    • Taylor E. Reiter
    • C. Titus Brown
    News & Views
  • A statistical framework that integrates data from a fine-scale targeted testing scheme and regular randomized surveillance surveys provides unbiased and fine-grained estimates of key SARS-CoV-2 epidemiological parameters that are critical for real-time policy decision-making.

    • Hagai Rossman
    • Eran Segal
    News & Views
  • The development of the infant gut microbiota into an adult configuration is heavily influenced by lifestyle. A large study of children from The Gambia reveals how the microbiota assembles in children with a non-industrial lifestyle.

    • Matthew M. Carter
    • Matthew R. Olm
    • Erica D. Sonnenburg
    News & Views
  • Construction of a global catalogue of human gut archaeal genomes and their viruses provides insights into the structure, composition and function of the human gut archaeome.

    • Patricia Geesink
    • Thijs J. G. Ettema
    News & Views
  • Immunologic recognition of bacterial products during skin infection triggers a cytokine and chemokine response that facilitates neutrophil recruitment to the site of infection. Staphylococcus aureus phenol-soluble modulins can function as early chemoattractants to directly recruit neutrophils and alert the host to infection.

    • Leslie A. Fogel
    • Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg
    News & Views
  • Cooperative interaction between low-abundance gut bacteria is required to convert l-carnitine to TMAO via a multi-step pathway, which leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

    • Joanna Coker
    • Livia S. Zaramela
    • Karsten Zengler
    News & Views
  • Gut microbiome development in full-term infants has important implications for health and disease, but less is known for preterm infants. Here the authors summarize current knowledge in preterm infants, compare this to what is known for full-term babies, and discuss potential diagnostics and interventions to improve outcomes for preterm infants.

    • David B. Healy
    • C. Anthony Ryan
    • Eugene M. Dempsey
    Perspective
  • Shigella uses the OspC3 type III secretion system effector to catalyze ADP riboxanation of caspases-4 and 11, preventing lipopolysaccharide recognition and pyroptotic death of the infected cell.

    • Bo Wei
    • Edward A. Miao
    News & Views
  • Advances in CRISPR–Cas tools coupled with innovative screening and bioinformatic pipelines make it possible to conduct strain-specific and site-specific genome editing within a microbial community without the need for prior culturing or engineering.

    • Connie W. Y. Ha
    • Suzanne Devkota
    News & Views
  • Bacteriophages fight back with the double whammy of an anti-CRISPR protein and integration into the CRISPR array to protect themselves from the CRISPR–Cas9 immune system of Streptococcus pyogenes.

    • Joseph Bondy-Denomy
    News & Views
  • A network science framework for understanding and predicting human and animal susceptibility to viral infections is proposed.

    • Gregory F. Albery
    • Daniel J. Becker
    • Colin J. Carlson
    Perspective
  • The mammalian immune system has evolved to tolerate commensal microbes that inhabit our mucosal surfaces. Two recent studies explore how intestinal immunity achieves this state of tolerance and show that IgA enforces commensalism of pathobiont Candida species.

    • Ivy M. Dambuza
    • Gordon D. Brown
    News & Views
  • Diverse CRISPR–Cas systems protect prokaryotes against invasive genetic elements like phages. A new study finds that evolution has fused a multi-subunit CRISPR complex into a single protein that cuts RNA and interacts with an ancillary caspase-like peptidase, which may trigger cell suicide.

    • Megan L. Hochstrasser
    • James K. Nuñez
    News & Views
  • Mimicking microbial degradation of sinking marine particles in the laboratory reveals a complex relationship between settling and decomposition rates that informs our view on how the ocean’s biological carbon pump is controlled.

    • Philip W. Boyd
    • Fraser Kennedy
    News & Views
  • Dysbiosis of the gut mycobiota is associated with increased mortality after allogenic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

    • Jianfeng Lin
    • Scott G. Filler
    News & Views