Small Things Considered
A blog for sharing appreciation of the width and depth of microbes and microbial activities on this planet.
Small Things Considered's Latest Posts
Microbial ecology may be a young field but it is well understood already that there is a broad spectrum of interactions between bacterial species, ranging from cooperative to competitive. In a recent paper researchers from John Mekalanos’ lab further characterized a recently discovered mechanism for inter-cell communication. This system, called the Type VI secretion system (T6SS), is a multi-protein complex native to many bacterial strains and structurally and functionally similar to a […]
by Daniel P. Haeusser Figure 1A. Koch’s photograph of B. anthracis, one of several photomicrographs in his 1877 paper, the earliest published bacteria photos. Source. Robert Koch is one of the key figures in early bacteriology, helping develop culture techniques (e.g. solid media), critical reasoning (e.g. Koch’s postulates), and disease etiology (e.g. cholera and tuberculosis). He also published the first...
by Stanley Falkow I had a conversation with some colleagues last week about “personalized medicine,” which has been transformed now into the term “precision medicine.” The conversation revolved around what to do about the perceived effects of antibiotic treatment on the microbiota of individuals. How does one treat a patient without disrupting their microbiota? Do we create new classes of...
What do you think is the single best criterion for telling an endosymbiont of a eukaryotic cell from an organelle?
To paraphrase an old adage, no bacterium is an island. Indeed, bacteria in nature exist as polymicrobial communities where interactions between individuals influence activities of the entire population. This is especially true of pathogenic bacteria, although it has been mostly ignored because we frequently isolate a single species from an infection site and prescribe antibiotic therapy based upon this information. A recent paper by Korgaonkar and coworkers highlights that this practice is […]
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