Monday, January 21, 2019

BacterioFiles 370 - Magnets Make Messenger More Moveable

Baculoviruses in occlusion body
This episode: Enhancing a virus with magnetic nanoparticles and CRISPR-Cas gene editing abilities makes it a good vector for genetic therapies!

Download Episode (11.2 MB, 12.25 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Staphylococcus virus S253

News item

Takeaways
Gene delivery, getting genetic content for gene therapy to the correct tissues in an organism, has long been a very tricky problem. And genetic modification, making specific changes at a specific place in a genome, is also difficult.

Viruses can help with both delivery and modification, but they're often not specific and targeted enough to be effective, or even safe. Off-target effects could be harmful or even deadly, potentially resulting in cancer.

In this study, a virus is modified with nanotechnology in the form of tiny magnets to allow humans to target it to specific tissues, and given the ability to modify specific genes using the bacterial CRISPR-Cas system. These modifications potentially make this gene delivery system much more safe and effective.

Journal Paper:
Zhu H, Zhang L, Tong S, Lee CM, Deshmukh H, Bao G. 2018. Spatial control of in vivo CRISPR–Cas9 genome editing via nanomagnets. Nat Biomed Eng.

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Post questions or comments here or email to bacteriofiles@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!

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Monday, January 14, 2019

BacterioFiles 369 - Powering Purple Prokaryote Protonation

This episode: Purple phototrophic bacteria could use certain kinds of wastewater, along with electric current, to produce valuable products like hydrogen without much waste!

Thanks to Dr. Ioanna Vasiliadou for her contribution!

Download Episode (12.7 MB, 13.9 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces tendae

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Takeaways
Purple phototrophic bacteria can take light energy and use it to help power their metabolism. They're not dependent on it like plants, but can use light or other energy sources for their versatile metabolism.

This versatility makes them very interesting candidates for industrial biotechnology applications. These bacteria can take in various combinations of nutrients and produce a number of different valuable products, including protein-rich feed, bioplastics, and biofuels such as hydrogen gas.

Today's study shows they can also take up electrons directly to help make their biofuel production process even more environmentally sustainable.

Journal Paper:
Vasiliadou IA, Berná A, Manchon C, Melero JA, Martinez F, Esteve-Nuñez A, Puyol D. 2018. Biological and Bioelectrochemical Systems for Hydrogen Production and Carbon Fixation Using Purple Phototrophic Bacteria. Front Energy Res 6:107.

Other interesting stories:

Post questions or comments here or email to bacteriofiles@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, RSS, Google Play. Support the show at Patreon, or check out the show at Twitter or Facebook.

Monday, January 7, 2019

BacterioFiles 368 - Prokaryotes Promote Passing Parent Peculiarities

Drosophila fruit fly
By André Karwath, CC BY-SA 2.5
This episode: Fruit fly gut microbes can mediate non-genetic traits passed from parents to offspring!

Thanks to Dr. Per Stenberg for his contribution!

Download Episode (10.0 MB, 10.9 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Bifidobacterium breve

News item

Takeaways
Heritability of traits is essential for evolution; if an ability can't be passed on from generation to generation, then natural selection can't act on it on a population-wide level.

An organism's genome is the source of most heritable traits, as DNA gets passed on to offspring, but a number of other ways of passing on traits have been discovered, in the field of epigenetics.

In this study, the gut microbes from fruit flies raised in one temperature could affect the gene expression of their offspring raised in a different temperature, compared to flies that had been kept at the latter temperature over both generations. While the effects on fly fitness or behavior are not yet known, these results suggest that gut microbes, transmitted from parents to offspring, could be another mechanism of heritability.

Journal Paper:
Zare A, Johansson A-M, Karlsson E, Delhomme N, Stenberg P. 2018. The gut microbiome participates in transgenerational inheritance of low-temperature responses in Drosophila melanogaster. FEBS Lett 592:4078–4086.

Other interesting stories:

Post questions or comments here or email to bacteriofiles@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, RSS, Google Play. Support the show at Patreon, or check out the show at Twitter or Facebook.