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Volume 19 Issue 6, June 2021

Volume 19 Issue 6

'Many irons in the fire', inspired by the review article on page 360.

Cover design: Philip Patenall

Research Highlights

  • In Brief |

    A recent study found that an archaeal virus interferes with the cell cycle of its host, leading to asymmetric cell division and cell gigantism, transforming hosts into giant virion-producing factories.

    • Ashley York
  • In Brief |

    This study found that bacteria induce skin regeneration via inflammatory cytokine IL-1β signalling.

    • Ashley York
  • In Brief |

    A recent study found that Akkermansia muciniphila secretes a glucagon-like peptide-1-inducing protein that improves glucose homeostasis and ameliorates metabolic disease in mice.

    • Ashley York
  • Research Highlight |

    This study identifies a cyanobacterial toxin that causes mass mortality of eagles and other birds.

    • Ursula Hofer
  • Research Highlight |

    This study reports that ICEBs1, which is an integrative and conjugative element of Bacillus subtilis, provides a selective advantage to its host cells during two developmental processes: biofilm formation and sporulation.

    • Andrea Du Toit
  • In Brief |

    This study finds that a bacterium commonly found in cold environmental habitats evolved from a mammalian pathobiont.

    • Ursula Hofer

News & Analysis

  • Genome Watch |

    This month’s Genome Watch highlights how metagenomics could link the gut microbiota and COVID-19 disease outcomes and track emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, with the potential to inform clinical practice and public health policy.

    • Benjamin S. Beresford-Jones
    • Yan Shao
  • Under the Lens |

    This month’s Under the Lens discusses how combining cryo-electron tomography with cross-linking mass spectrometry has allowed elucidation of the mechanisms of transcription-coupled translation in bacteria.

    • Jan Böhning
    • Tanmay A. M. Bharat


  • Review Article |

    Recent studies have revealed that the evolutionary impact of plasmids goes above and beyond their being mere gene delivery platforms. In this Review, Rodríguez-Beltrán, San Millán and colleagues discuss the advances that underscore the importance of plasmids in bacterial ecology and evolution beyond horizontal gene transfer.

    • Jerónimo Rodríguez-Beltrán
    • Javier DelaFuente
    • Álvaro San Millán
  • Review Article |

    In this Review, Kappler and colleagues highlight recent advances in our understanding of the biogeochemical iron cycle, exploring the great complexity of the processes involved and novel mechanistic insights that have been gained.

    • Andreas Kappler
    • Casey Bryce
    • Elizabeth D. Swanner
  • Review Article |

    Microorganisms produce and excrete an array of metabolites with different physico-chemical properties and biological activities. In this Review, Garbeva and colleagues highlight recent discoveries concerning microbial volatile compounds and their roles in intra-kingdom and inter-kingdom communication, and discuss the potential biotechnological applications of microbial volatiles, as well as challenges and perspectives in this emerging research field.

    • Laure Weisskopf
    • Stefan Schulz
    • Paolina Garbeva


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