Cell Biology
New CRISPR system efficiently battles antibiotic resistance
Researchers from the University of California San Diego have developed a brand new CRISPR-based gene-drive system that dramatically increases the efficiency of inactivation of genes responsible for antibiotic resistance. The new system is detailed on December 16 in Nature Communications.  Discuss
A discovery of fungi – helping researchers identify new drugs
To address the need to identify new therapeutic targets, researchers at the Hubrecht Institute turned to fungi. The researchers tested secondary metabolites from over 10,000 fungi species and identified 34 biological active compounds with the potential to move to the next step of therapeutic drug development. The research was published in Scientific Reports on November 26.  Discuss
Bacterial structures are critical to the development of new antibiotics
A research team from Cornell University have uncovered a unique regulatory mechanism unique to bacterial that may provide crucial insight for antibiotic targeting of pathogens. The work was published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology on November 18.  Discuss
Orphan immunity gene clusters acquired for protection
Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Institute found that gut bacteria acquire interbacterial defense gene clusters. The October 30 article in Nature, suggests that bacteria use these toxins against their microbial neighbors. This discovery could further scientific knowledge of the human gut which is critical to many aspects of health and disease.  Discuss
Software improves the speed of identifying potential new antibiotics
Computational biologists at Carnegie Mellon University and seven other institutions developed a software tool that can play a high-speed "Match Game" to identify bioactive molecules and microbial genes that produce them so they can be evaluated as new antibiotics and other therapeutic agents. This work was published in Cell Systems on October 16.  Discuss
Bacteria use 'poisoned arrowheads' to defeat competition, similar to antibiotics
According to a new study published in Cell Reports on October 1, bacteria use weapons to vanquish their competitors. Researchers at Imperial College London have uncovered a novel weapon that bacteria employ which has a similar mechanism of action as common antibiotics.  Discuss
Understanding bacterial motility using cryogenic electron microscopy
A new finding reported in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology on October 1 shows how bacterial transmit motion from an inner motor to an outer tail through a flexible joint in the flagellum. This hook helps researchers understand how bacteria move and allows them to improve therapies against bacterial infections.  Discuss
Form-switching bacteria may cause antibiotic resistance
For the first time, scientists have confirmed that bacteria can change forms to avoid being targeted by antibiotics in the human body. Researchers from Newcastle University used state-of-the-art technology to identify bacteria with this unique characteristic. They show, in a study published in Nature Communications on September 26, that these bacteria can survive without a cell wall, potentially leading to antibiotic resistance.  Discuss
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