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    1570 results match your criteria Annual Review of Microbiology [Journal]

    1 OF 32

    Context-Specific Action of Ribosomal Antibiotics.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2018 Jun 15. Epub 2018 Jun 15.
    Center for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA; email: ,
    The ribosome is a major antibiotic target. Many types of inhibitors can stop cells from growing by binding at functional centers of the ribosome and interfering with its ability to synthesize proteins. These antibiotics were usually viewed as general protein synthesis inhibitors, which indiscriminately stop translation at every codon of every mRNA, preventing the ribosome from making any protein. Read More

    The Complex Rcs Regulatory Cascade.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2018 Jun 13. Epub 2018 Jun 13.
    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA; email: , ,
    RcsB, a response regulator of the FixJ/NarL family, is at the center of a complex network of regulatory inputs and outputs. Cell surface stress is sensed by an outer membrane lipoprotein, RcsF, which regulates interactions of the inner membrane protein IgaA, lifting negative regulation of a phosphorelay. In vivo evidence supports a pathway in which histidine kinase RcsC transfers phosphate to phosphotransfer protein RcsD, resulting in phosphorylation of RcsB. Read More

    Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics Linked to Horizontal Gene Transfer in Vibrios.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2018 Jun 13. Epub 2018 Jun 13.
    Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Vibrio is a genus of ubiquitous heterotrophic bacteria found in aquatic environments. Although they are a small percentage of the bacteria in these environments, vibrios can predominate during blooms. Vibrios also play important roles in the degradation of polymeric substances, such as chitin, and in other biogeochemical processes. Read More

    The Clash of Macromolecular Titans: Replication-Transcription Conflicts in Bacteria.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2018 Jun 1. Epub 2018 Jun 1.
    Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA; email:
    Within the last decade, it has become clear that DNA replication and transcription are routinely in conflict with each other in growing cells. Much of the seminal work on this topic has been carried out in bacteria, specifically, Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis; therefore, studies of conflicts in these species deserve special attention. Collectively, the recent findings on conflicts have fundamentally changed the way we think about DNA replication in vivo. Read More

    Above and Beyond Watson and Crick: Guanine Quadruplex Structures and Microbes.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2018 May 31. Epub 2018 May 31.
    Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA; email:
    Advances in understanding mechanisms of nucleic acids have revolutionized molecular biology and medicine, but understanding of nontraditional nucleic acid conformations is less developed. The guanine quadruplex (G4) alternative DNA structure was first described in the 1960s, but the existence of G4 structures (G4-S) and their participation in myriads of biological functions are still underappreciated. Despite many tools to study G4s and many examples of roles for G4s in eukaryotic molecular processes and issues with uncontrolled G4-S formation, there is relatively little knowledge about the roles of G4-S in viral or prokaryotic systems. Read More

    Control of Specialized Metabolism by Signaling and Transcriptional Regulation: Opportunities for New Platforms for Drug Discovery?
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2018 May 23. Epub 2018 May 23.
    Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, OntarioM5G 1M1, Canada; email:
    Specialized metabolites are bacterially produced small molecules that have an extraordinary diversity of important biological activities. They are useful as biochemical probes of living systems, and they have been adapted for use as drugs for human afflictions ranging from infectious diseases to cancer. The biosynthetic genes for these molecules are controlled by a dense network of regulatory mechanisms: Cell-cell signaling and nutrient sensing are conspicuous features of this network. Read More

    Predator Versus Pathogen: How Does Predatory Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus Interface with the Challenges of Killing Gram-Negative Pathogens in a Host Setting?
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:441-457
    School of Life Science, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2UH, United Kingdom; email: , , , , ,
    Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a small deltaproteobacterial predator that has evolved to invade, reseal, kill, and digest other gram-negative bacteria in soils and water environments. It has a broad host range and kills many antibiotic-resistant, clinical pathogens in vitro, a potentially useful capability if it could be translated to a clinical setting. We review relevant mechanisms of B. Read More

    Regulating Bacterial Virulence with RNA.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:263-280
    Institut Pasteur, Unité des Interactions Bactéries-Cellules, Paris F-75015, France; email: ,
    Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) regulating virulence have been identified in most pathogens. This review discusses RNA-mediated mechanisms exploited by bacterial pathogens to successfully infect and colonize their hosts. It discusses the most representative RNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms employed by two intracellular [Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Read More

    "Fleaing" the Plague: Adaptations of Yersinia pestis to Its Insect Vector That Lead to Transmission.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:215-232
    Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana 59840; email:
    Interest in arthropod-borne pathogens focuses primarily on how they cause disease in humans. How they produce a transmissible infection in their arthropod host is just as critical to their life cycle, however. Yersinia pestis adopts a unique life stage in the digestive tract of its flea vector, characterized by rapid formation of a bacterial biofilm that is enveloped in a complex extracellular polymeric substance. Read More

    A Life in Bacillus subtilis Signal Transduction.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:1-19
    Department of Molecular Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037; email:
    This is a tale of how technology drove the discovery of the molecular basis for signal transduction in the initiation of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis and in bacterial two-component systems. It progresses from genetics to cloning and sequencing to biochemistry to structural biology to an understanding of how proteins evolve interaction specificity and to identification of interaction surfaces by statistical physics. This is about how the people in my laboratory accomplished this feat; without them little would have been done. Read More

    Bacterial Cell Size: Multifactorial and Multifaceted.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:499-517
    Department of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63130; email: ,
    How cells establish, maintain, and modulate size has always been an area of great interest and fascination. Until recently, technical limitations curtailed our ability to understand the molecular basis of bacterial cell size control. In the past decade, advances in microfluidics, imaging, and high-throughput single-cell analysis, however, have led to a flurry of work revealing size to be a highly complex trait involving the integration of three core aspects of bacterial physiology: metabolism, growth, and cell cycle progression. Read More

    Elongation Factor P and the Control of Translation Elongation.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 22;71:117-131. Epub 2017 May 22.
    Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Program and Center for RNA Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210; email:
    Elongation factor P (EF-P) binds to ribosomes requiring assistance with the formation of oligo-prolines. In order for EF-P to associate with paused ribosomes, certain tRNAs with specific d-arm residues must be present in the peptidyl site, e.g. Read More

    Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Drug Resistance, Mouse Models, and Vaccine Development.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:665-686
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799; email:
    Gonorrhea, an obligate human infection, is on the rise worldwide and gonococcal strains resistant to many antibiotics are emerging. Appropriate antimicrobial treatment and prevention, including effective vaccines, are urgently needed. To guide investigation, an experimental model of genital tract infection has been developed in female mice to study mechanisms by which Neisseria gonorrhoeae evades host-derived antimicrobial factors and to identify protective and immunosuppressive pathways. Read More

    Copper Acquisition and Utilization in Fungi.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:597-623
    Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology.
    Fungal cells colonize and proliferate in distinct niches, from soil and plants to diverse tissues in human hosts. Consequently, fungi are challenged with the goal of obtaining nutrients while simultaneously elaborating robust regulatory mechanisms to cope with a range of availability of nutrients, from scarcity to excess. Copper is essential for life but also potentially toxic. Read More

    Molecular Evolution of Antifungal Drug Resistance.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:753-775
    Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1M1, Canada; email: , ,
    The fungal pathogens Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Aspergillus fumigatus have transitioned from a rare curiosity to a leading cause of human mortality. The management of infections caused by these organisms is intimately dependent on the efficacy of antifungal agents; however, fungi that are resistant to these treatments are regularly isolated in the clinic, impeding our ability to control infections. Given the significant impact fungal pathogens have on human health, it is imperative to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern antifungal drug resistance. Read More

    Outer Membrane Biogenesis.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:539-556
    Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544; email:
    The hallmark of gram-negative bacteria and organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts is the presence of an outer membrane. In bacteria such as Escherichia coli, the outer membrane is a unique asymmetric lipid bilayer with lipopolysaccharide in the outer leaflet. Integral transmembrane proteins assume a β-barrel structure, and their assembly is catalyzed by the heteropentameric Bam complex containing the outer membrane protein BamA and four lipoproteins, BamB-E. Read More

    Microbial Expansins.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:479-497
    Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802; email:
    Expansins are small proteins that loosen plant cell walls and cellulosic materials without lytic activity. First discovered in plants, expansin genes are found in the genomes of numerous bacteria and fungi that interact with plants in pathogenic and mutualistic patterns, as well as in microbes that feed on plant debris. Horizontal gene transfer from plants to microbes and between microbes accounts for expansins' irregular taxonomic distribution. Read More

    The Colorful World of Extracellular Electron Shuttles.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 21;71:731-751. Epub 2017 Jul 21.
    Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125; email: , ,
    Descriptions of the changeable, striking colors associated with secreted natural products date back well over a century. These molecules can serve as extracellular electron shuttles (EESs) that permit microbes to access substrates at a distance. In this review, we argue that the colorful world of EESs has been too long neglected. Read More

    Present and Future of Culturing Bacteria.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 21;71:711-730. Epub 2017 Jul 21.
    Leibniz-Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany; email:
    The cultivation of bacteria is highly biased toward a few phylogenetic groups. Many of the currently underexplored bacterial lineages likely have novel biosynthetic pathways and unknown biochemical features. New cultivation concepts have been developed based on an improved understanding of the ecology of previously not-cultured bacteria. Read More

    Rho Protein: Roles and Mechanisms.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 21;71:687-709. Epub 2017 Jul 21.
    Laboratory of Transcription, Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Nampally, Hyderabad-500001, India; email: , , ,
    At the end of the multistep transcription process, the elongating RNA polymerase (RNAP) is dislodged from the DNA template either at specific DNA sequences, called the terminators, or by a nascent RNA-dependent helicase, Rho. In Escherichia coli, about half of the transcription events are terminated by the Rho protein. Rho utilizes its RNA-dependent ATPase activities to translocate along the mRNA and eventually dislodges the RNAP via an unknown mechanism. Read More

    Genetics and Epigenetics of Mating Type Determination in Paramecium and Tetrahymena.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 17;71:133-156. Epub 2017 Jul 17.
    Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS), CNRS, Inserm, PSL Research University, F-75005 Paris, France; email:
    While sex is an ancient and highly conserved eukaryotic invention, self-incompatibility systems such as mating types or sexes appear to be derived limitations that show considerable evolutionary plasticity. Within a single class of ciliates, Paramecium and Tetrahymena species have long been known to present a wide variety of mating type numbers and modes of inheritance, but only recently have the genes involved been identified. Although similar transmembrane proteins mediate self/nonself recognition in both ciliates, the mechanisms of mating type determination differ widely, ranging from Mendelian systems to developmental nuclear differentiation, either stochastic or maternally inherited. Read More

    Histone Methylation by SET Domain Proteins in Fungi.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 17;71:413-439. Epub 2017 Jul 17.
    Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331; email:
    Histone-modifying enzymes are responsible for regulating transcription, recombination, DNA repair, DNA replication, chromatid cohesion, and chromosome segregation. Fungi are ideally suited for comparative chromatin biology because sequencing of numerous genomes from many clades is coupled to existing rich methodology that allows truly holistic approaches, integrating evolutionary biology with mechanistic molecular biology and ecology, promising applications in medicine or plant pathology. While genome information is rich, mechanistic studies on histone modifications are largely restricted to two yeasts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and one filamentous fungus, Neurospora crassa-three species that arguably are not representative of this diverse kingdom. Read More

    The Cell Wall of the Human Fungal Pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus: Biosynthesis, Organization, Immune Response, and Virulence.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 12;71:99-116. Epub 2017 Jul 12.
    Department of Clinical Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete 74100, Greece.
    More than 90% of the cell wall of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus comprises polysaccharides. Biosynthesis of the cell wall polysaccharides is under the control of three types of enzymes: transmembrane synthases, which are anchored to the plasma membrane and use nucleotide sugars as substrates, and cell wall-associated transglycosidases and glycosyl hydrolases, which are responsible for remodeling the de novo synthesized polysaccharides and establishing the three-dimensional structure of the cell wall. For years, the cell wall was considered an inert exoskeleton of the fungal cell. Read More

    Bacterial Membranes: Structure, Domains, and Function.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:519-538. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 4AX United Kingdom; email: ,
    The bacterial cytoplasmic membrane is composed of roughly equal proportions of lipids and proteins. The main lipid components are phospholipids, which vary in acyl chain length, saturation, and branching and carry head groups that vary in size and charge. Phospholipid variants determine membrane properties such as fluidity and charge that in turn modulate interactions with membrane-associated proteins. Read More

    Germination of Spores of the Orders Bacillales and Clostridiales.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:459-477. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Department of Physics, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27858-4353; email:
    Dormant Bacillales and Clostridiales spores begin to grow when small molecules (germinants) trigger germination, potentially leading to food spoilage or disease. Germination-specific proteins sense germinants, transport small molecules, and hydrolyze specific bonds in cortex peptidoglycan and specific proteins. Major events in germination include (a) germinant sensing; (b) commitment to germinate; (c) release of spores' depot of dipicolinic acid (DPA); (d) hydrolysis of spores' peptidoglycan cortex; and (e) spore core swelling and water uptake, cell wall peptidoglycan remodeling, and restoration of core protein and inner spore membrane lipid mobility. Read More

    Rewriting the Genetic Code.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:557-577. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511; email:
    The genetic code-the language used by cells to translate their genomes into proteins that perform many cellular functions-is highly conserved throughout natural life. Rewriting the genetic code could lead to new biological functions such as expanding protein chemistries with noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) and genetically isolating synthetic organisms from natural organisms and viruses. It has long been possible to transiently produce proteins bearing ncAAs, but stabilizing an expanded genetic code for sustained function in vivo requires an integrated approach: creating recoded genomes and introducing new translation machinery that function together without compromising viability or clashing with endogenous pathways. Read More

    Syntrophy Goes Electric: Direct Interspecies Electron Transfer.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:643-664. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003; email:
    Direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) has biogeochemical significance, and practical applications that rely on DIET or DIET-based aspects of microbial physiology are growing. Mechanisms for DIET have primarily been studied in defined cocultures in which Geobacter species are one of the DIET partners. Electrically conductive pili (e-pili) can be an important electrical conduit for DIET. Read More

    Evolutionary Trajectories to Antibiotic Resistance.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:579-596. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, 751 23 Uppsala, Sweden; email:
    The ability to predict the evolutionary trajectories of antibiotic resistance would be of great value in tailoring dosing regimens of antibiotics so as to maximize the duration of their usefulness. Useful prediction of resistance evolution requires information about (a) the mutation supply rate, (b) the level of resistance conferred by the resistance mechanism, (c) the fitness of the antibiotic-resistant mutant bacteria as a function of drug concentration, and (d) the strength of selective pressures. In addition, processes including epistatic interactions and compensatory evolution, coselection of drug resistances, and population bottlenecks and clonal interference can strongly influence resistance evolution and thereby complicate attempts at prediction. Read More

    Bacterial Cell Division: Nonmodels Poised to Take the Spotlight.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:393-411. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-5132; email:
    The last three decades have witnessed an explosion of discoveries about the mechanistic details of binary fission in model bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Caulobacter crescentus. This was made possible not only by advances in microscopy that helped answer questions about cell biology but also by clever genetic manipulations that directly and easily tested specific hypotheses. More recently, research using understudied organisms, or nonmodel systems, has revealed several alternate mechanistic strategies that bacteria use to divide and propagate. Read More

    Variant Gene Expression and Antigenic Variation by Malaria Parasites.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 11;71:625-641. Epub 2017 Jul 11.
    Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada and Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel; email:
    Malaria is a significant threat throughout the developing world. Among the most fascinating aspects of the protozoan parasites responsible for this disease are the methods they employ to avoid the immune system and perpetuate chronic infections. Key among these is antigenic variation: By systematically altering antigens that are displayed to the host's immune system, the parasite renders the adaptive immune response ineffective. Read More

    Evolution of Mating in the Saccharomycotina.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:197-214. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; email:
    The fungal phylum Ascomycota comprises three subphyla: Saccharomycotina, Pezizomycotina, and Taphrinomycotina. In many Saccharomycotina species, cell identity is determined by genes at the MAT (mating-type) locus; mating occurs between MATa and MATα cells. Some species can switch between MATa and MATα mating types. Read More

    The RNAi Universe in Fungi: A Varied Landscape of Small RNAs and Biological Functions.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:371-391. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    Genetics and Microbiology, University of Murcia, Murcia 30100, Spain; email: ,
    RNA interference (RNAi) is a conserved eukaryotic mechanism that uses small RNA molecules to suppress gene expression through sequence-specific messenger RNA degradation, translational repression, or transcriptional inhibition. In filamentous fungi, the protective function of RNAi in the maintenance of genome integrity is well known. However, knowledge of the regulatory role of RNAi in fungi has had to wait until the recent identification of different endogenous small RNA classes, which are generated by distinct RNAi pathways. Read More

    Lessons from the Environmental Antibiotic Resistome.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:309-329. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    M.G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and.
    Antibiotic resistance is a global public health issue of growing proportions. All antibiotics are susceptible to resistance. The evidence is now clear that the environment is the single largest source and reservoir of resistance. Read More

    The Critical Roles of Polysaccharides in Gut Microbial Ecology and Physiology.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:349-369. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109; email:
    The human intestine harbors a dense microbial ecosystem (microbiota) that is different between individuals, dynamic over time, and critical for aspects of health and disease. Dietary polysaccharides directly shape the microbiota because of a gap in human digestive physiology, which is equipped to assimilate only proteins, lipids, simple sugars, and starch, leaving nonstarch polysaccharides as major nutrients reaching the microbiota. A mutualistic role of gut microbes is to digest dietary complex carbohydrates, liberating host-absorbable energy via fermentation products. Read More

    Evolutionary Genomics of Defense Systems in Archaea and Bacteria.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:233-261. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20894; email:
    Evolution of bacteria and archaea involves an incessant arms race against an enormous diversity of genetic parasites. Accordingly, a substantial fraction of the genes in most bacteria and archaea are dedicated to antiparasite defense. The functions of these defense systems follow several distinct strategies, including innate immunity; adaptive immunity; and dormancy induction, or programmed cell death. Read More

    Evolutionary Origins of Two-Barrel RNA Polymerases and Site-Specific Transcription Initiation.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:331-348. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, Division of Biosciences, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom; email: ,
    Evolution-related multisubunit RNA polymerases (RNAPs) carry out RNA synthesis in all domains life. Although their catalytic cores and fundamental mechanisms of transcription elongation are conserved, the initiation stage of the transcription cycle differs substantially in bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes in terms of the requirements for accessory factors and details of the molecular mechanisms. This review focuses on recent insights into the evolution of the transcription apparatus with regard to (a) the surprisingly pervasive double-Ψ β-barrel active-site configuration among different nucleic acid polymerase families, (b) the origin and phylogenetic distribution of TBP, TFB, and TFE transcription factors, and Read More

    Clostridium difficile Toxin Biology.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 28;71:281-307. Epub 2017 Jun 28.
    Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany; email: , ,
    Clostridium difficile is the cause of antibiotics-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis. The pathogen produces three protein toxins: C. difficile toxins A (TcdA) and B (TcdB), and C. Read More

    A Symphony of Cyclases: Specificity in Diguanylate Cyclase Signaling.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 23;71:179-195. Epub 2017 Jun 23.
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755; email:
    Cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is a near universal signaling molecule produced by diguanylate cyclases that can direct a variety of bacterial behaviors. A major area of research over the last several years has been aimed at understanding how a cell with dozens of diguanylate cyclases can deploy a given subset of them to produce a desired phenotypic outcome without undesired cross talk between c-di-GMP-dependent systems. Several models have been put forward to address this question, including specificity of cyclase activation, tuned binding constants of effector proteins, and physical interaction between cyclases and effectors. Read More

    Assembly and Function of the Bacillus anthracis S-Layer.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep;71:79-98
    Howard Taylor Ricketts Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois 60649.
    Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax agent, is a member of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group, which includes invasive pathogens of mammals or insects as well as nonpathogenic environmental strains. The genes for anthrax pathogenesis are located on two large virulence plasmids. Similar virulence plasmids have been acquired by other B. Read More

    Microbiota-Based Therapies for Clostridium difficile and Antibiotic-Resistant Enteric Infections.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 15;71:157-178. Epub 2017 Jun 15.
    Infectious Diseases Service, Immunology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10065; email: ,
    Bacterial pathogens are increasingly antibiotic resistant, and development of clinically effective antibiotics is lagging. Curing infections increasingly requires antimicrobials that are broader spectrum, more toxic, and more expensive, and mortality attributable to antibiotic-resistant pathogens is rising. The commensal microbiota, comprising microbes that colonize the mammalian gastrointestinal tract, can provide high levels of resistance to infection, and the contributions of specific bacterial species to resistance are being discovered and characterized. Read More

    Regulation of Cell Polarity in Motility and Cell Division in Myxococcus xanthus.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 19;71:61-78. Epub 2017 May 19.
    Department of Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, 35043 Marburg, Germany; email:
    Rod-shaped Myxococcus xanthus cells are polarized with proteins asymmetrically localizing to specific positions. This spatial organization is important for regulation of motility and cell division and changes over time. Dedicated protein modules regulate motility independent of the cell cycle, and cell division dependent on the cell cycle. Read More

    Early Diverging Fungi: Diversity and Impact at the Dawn of Terrestrial Life.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 19;71:41-60. Epub 2017 May 19.
    Department of Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom; email:
    As decomposers or plant pathogens, fungi deploy invasive growth and powerful carbohydrate active enzymes to reduce multicellular plant tissues to humus and simple sugars. Fungi are perhaps also the most important mutualistic symbionts in modern ecosystems, transporting poorly soluble mineral nutrients to plants and thus enhancing the growth of vegetation. However, at their origin over a billion years ago, fungi, like plants and animals, were unicellular marine microbes. Read More

    Metabolic Diversity and Novelties in the Oomycetes.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2017 Sep 15;71:21-39. Epub 2017 May 15.
    Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521; email:
    The eukaryotic microbes called oomycetes include many important saprophytes and pathogens, with the latter exhibiting necrotrophy, biotrophy, or obligate biotrophy. Understanding oomycete metabolism is fundamental to understanding these lifestyles. Genome mining and biochemical studies have shown that oomycetes, which belong to the kingdom Stramenopila, secrete suites of carbohydrate- and protein-degrading enzymes adapted to their environmental niches and produce unusual lipids and energy storage compounds. Read More

    Autophagy Evasion and Endoplasmic Reticulum Subversion: The Yin and Yang of Legionella Intracellular Infection.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2016 Sep;70:413-33
    Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06536; email:
    The gram-negative bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila creates a novel organelle inside of eukaryotic host cells that supports intracellular replication. The L. pneumophila-containing vacuole evades fusion with lysosomes and interacts intimately with the host endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Read More

    Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Colorectal Cancer.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2016 Sep;70:395-411
    Departments of Immunology & Infectious Diseases and Genetics & Complex Diseases, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115; email: ,
    Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. While cancer is largely considered to be a disease of genetic and environmental factors, increasing evidence has demonstrated a role for the microbiota (the microorganisms associated with the human body) in shaping inflammatory environments and promoting tumor growth and spread. Herein, we discuss both human data from meta'omics analyses and data from mechanistic studies in cell culture and animal models that support specific bacterial agents as potentiators of tumorigenesis-including Fusobacterium nucleatum, enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis, and colibactin-producing Escherichia coli. Read More

    Riboswitch-Mediated Gene Regulation: Novel RNA Architectures Dictate Gene Expression Responses.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2016 Sep;70:361-74
    Department of Microbiology and Center for RNA Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210; email:
    Riboswitches are RNA elements that act on the mRNA with which they are cotranscribed to modulate expression of that mRNA. These elements are widely found in bacteria, where they have a broad impact on gene expression. The defining feature of riboswitches is that they directly recognize a physiological signal, and the resulting shift in RNA structure affects gene regulation. Read More

    Evolution and Ecology of Actinobacteria and Their Bioenergy Applications.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2016 Sep;70:235-54
    Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin 53706; email:
    The ancient phylum Actinobacteria is composed of phylogenetically and physiologically diverse bacteria that help Earth's ecosystems function. As free-living organisms and symbionts of herbivorous animals, Actinobacteria contribute to the global carbon cycle through the breakdown of plant biomass. In addition, they mediate community dynamics as producers of small molecules with diverse biological activities. Read More

    The Atacama Desert: Technical Resources and the Growing Importance of Novel Microbial Diversity.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2016 Sep;70:215-34
    Biochemistry Laboratory, Biomedical Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Antofagasta, Chile; email:
    The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the oldest and most arid nonpolar environment on Earth. It is a coastal desert covering approximately 180,000 km(2), and together with the greater Atacama region it comprises a dramatically wide range of ecological niches. Long known and exploited for its mineral resources, the Atacama Desert harbors a rich microbial diversity that has only recently been discovered; the great majority of it has not yet been recovered in culture or even taxonomically identified. Read More

    Molecular Genetic Analysis of Chlamydia Species.
    Annu Rev Microbiol 2016 Sep;70:179-98
    Department for Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710; email:
    Species of Chlamydia are the etiologic agent of endemic blinding trachoma, the leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted diseases, significant respiratory pathogens, and a zoonotic threat. Their dependence on an intracellular growth niche and their peculiar developmental cycle are major challenges to elucidating their biology and virulence traits. The last decade has seen tremendous advances in our ability to perform a molecular genetic analysis of Chlamydia species. Read More

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