This episode: Fruit fly gut microbes can mediate non-genetic traits passed from parents to offspring!

Thanks to Dr. Per Stenberg for his contribution!

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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.

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This episode: Women who immigrated to the US from southeast Asia lost much of their gut microbiota diversity, resulting in a microbe community similar to the typical American!

Takeaways
Our gut microbiota, the community of microbes in our gastrointestinal tract, is associated with many aspects of health, including weight. People living in less industrialized places often have a greater diversity of microbes in their gut communities than those living in more industrialized nations.

In this study, when women from Thailand immigrated to the US or were born of such immigrants in the US, their gut microbe communities soon came to resemble those of Americans of European descent, with lower diversity of species. They also tended to gain weight.

However, the diets of these immigrants and children of immigrants didn’t resemble the typical American diet as closely as one might expect, suggesting that there may be other factors affecting the gut community of these women.

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Pseudomonas anguilliseptica

News item

Journal Paper:
Vangay P, Johnson AJ, Ward TL, Al-Ghalith GA, Shields-Cutler RR, Hillmann BM, Lucas SK, Beura LK, Thompson EA, Till LM, Batres R, Paw B, Pergament SL, Saenyakul P, Xiong M, Kim AD, Kim G, Masopust D, Martens EC, Angkurawaranon C, McGready R, Kashyap PC, Culhane-Pera KA, Knights D. 2018. US Immigration Westernizes the Human Gut Microbiome. Cell 175:962-972.e10.

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This episode: Bacteria rid themselves of burdensome waste by ejecting it inside little pieces of their own cell, called minicells!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Cacao yellow mosaic virus

News item

Journal Papers:
Rang CU, Proenca A, Buetz C, Shi C, Chao L. 2018. Minicells as a Damage Disposal Mechanism in Escherichia coli. mSphere 3:e00428-18.

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This episode: Dr. Klara Junker joins me to discuss her work on the predatory yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii that can kill the serious pathogenic yeast Candida auris!

Download Episode (11 MB, 12 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Lambdapapillomavirus 5

Movies of Saccharomycopsis attacking other yeasts

Journal Papers:
Junker K, Bravo Ruiz G, Lorenz A, Walker L, Gow NAR, Wendland J. 2018. The mycoparasitic yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii predates and kills multi-drug resistant Candida auris. Sci Rep 8:14959.

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This episode: Engineering other organisms to fix nitrogen by combining the required enzyme components into giant proteins that then get cut into the regular-sized subunit components!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Blastochloris sulfoviridis

Journal commentary (paywall)

Journal Papers:
Yang J, Xie X, Xiang N, Tian Z-X, Dixon R, Wang Y-P. 2018. Polyprotein strategy for stoichiometric assembly of nitrogen fixation components for synthetic biology. Proc Natl Acad Sci 115:E8509–E8517.

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This episode: Intricate networks of tunnels in garnet gemstones seem to have come from tunneling microorganisms!

Thanks to Magnus Ivarsson for his contribution!

Download Episode (5 MB, 6 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces griseosporeus

News item

Journal Papers:
Ivarsson M, Skogby H, Phichaikamjornwut B, Bengtson S, Siljeström S, Ounchanum P, Boonsoong A, Kruachanta M, Marone F, Belivanova V, Holmström S. 2018. Intricate tunnels in garnets from soils and river sediments in Thailand – Possible endolithic microborings. PLOS ONE 13:e0200351.

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This episode: Combining all 16 of yeast’s chromosomes into one or two only impairs their growth slightly in the lab, but it prevents them from successful mating with wild yeasts!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Vibrio succinogenes

News item 1/News item 2

Journal Papers:
Luo J, Sun X, Cormack BP, Boeke JD. 2018. Karyotype engineering by chromosome fusion leads to reproductive isolation in yeast. Nature 560:392–396.
Shao Y, Lu N, Wu Z, Cai C, Wang S, Zhang L-L, Zhou F, Xiao S, Liu L, Zeng X, Zheng H, Yang C, Zhao Z, Zhao G, Zhou J-Q, Xue X, Qin Z. 2018. Creating a functional single-chromosome yeast. Nature 560:331–335.

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This episode: Bringing a fungus that makes zombie flies into the lab makes a good model for studying microbial mind-control!

Thanks to Dr. Carolyn Elya for her contribution!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Dipteran brevidensovirus 2

News item

Videos of fly fungus infection progression

Journal Papers:
Elya C, Lok TC, Spencer QE, McCausland H, Martinez CC, Eisen M. 2018. Robust manipulation of the behavior of Drosophila melanogaster by a fungal pathogen in the laboratory. eLife 7:e34414.

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This episode: Bacteriophages with defenses against bacterial CRISPR defenses have to work together to succeed!

Thanks to Drs. Edze Westra and Stineke van Houte for their contributions, and to Calvin Cornell for suggesting this story!

Download Episode (10 MB, 11 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Lactobacillus casei subsp. alactosus

News item 1/News item 2

Journal Papers:
Borges AL, Zhang JY, Rollins MF, Osuna BA, Wiedenheft B, Bondy-Denomy J. 2018. Bacteriophage Cooperation Suppresses CRISPR-Cas3 and Cas9 Immunity. Cell 174:917-925.e10.

Landsberger M, Gandon S, Meaden S, Rollie C, Chevallereau A, Chabas H, Buckling A, Westra ER, Houte S van. 2018. Anti-CRISPR Phages Cooperate to Overcome CRISPR-Cas Immunity. Cell 174:908-916.e12.

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This episode: Some bacteria produce DNA-targeting toxins, which provokes a similar retaliation from other strains. Sometimes this hurts the provoker, but sometimes it is very helpful to them!

Thanks to Dr. Despoina Mavridou for her contribution!

Download Episode (8 MB,8 minutes)

Microbe of the episode: Siegesbeckia yellow vein betasatellite

Show Notes

Microbe of the episode: Mycobacterium virus Athena

News item

Journal Paper:
Gonzalez D, Sabnis A, Foster KR, Mavridou DAI. 2018. Costs and benefits of provocation in bacterial warfare. Proc Natl Acad Sci 115:7593–7598.

Other interesting stories:

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

Subscribe at iTunes or Google Play, support the show at Patreon, or check out the show at Twitter, or Facebook