Leafcutting ants

Leafcutting ants
By Bandwagonman,
CC BY-SA 3.0

This episode: Fungi living in plants could protect them from ants that cut up their leaves to feed their own fungal gardens!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Escherichia virus RB3

Journal Paper:
Rocha SL, Evans HC, Jorge VL, Cardoso LAO, Pereira FST, Rocha FB, Barreto RW, Hart AG, Elliot SL. 2017. Recognition of endophytic Trichoderma species by leaf-cutting ants and their potential in a Trojan-horse management strategy. R Soc Open Sci 4:160628.

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This episode: A stable community of only 7 bacteria around corn roots take on similar functions to the much more diverse soil community!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Mycoplasma arginini

Cool videos of microbial weapons firing

Journal Paper:
Gavelis GS, Wakeman KC, Tillmann U, Ripken C, Mitarai S, Herranz M, Özbek S, Holstein T, Keeling PJ, Leander BS. 2017. Microbial arms race: Ballistic “nematocysts” in dinoflagellates represent a new extreme in organelle complexity. Sci Adv 3:e1602552.

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Enterobacter cloacaeThis episode: A stable community of only 7 bacteria around corn roots take on similar functions to the much more diverse soil community!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Corynebacterium insidiosum

Journal Paper:
Niu B, Paulson JN, Zheng X, Kolter R. 2017. Simplified and representative bacterial community of maize roots. Proc Natl Acad Sci 114:E2450–E2459.

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fat mouseThis episode: Microbes from obese mice seemed helpful in protecting other mice somewhat from an unhealthy lifestyle.

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces thermoviolaceus

News item

Journal Paper:
Nicolas S, Blasco‐Baque V, Fournel A, Gilleron J, Klopp P, Waget A, Ceppo F, Marlin A, Padmanabhan R, Iacovoni JS, Tercé F, Cani PD, Tanti J-F, Burcelin R, Knauf C, Cormont M, Serino M. 2017. Transfer of dysbiotic gut microbiota has beneficial effects on host liver metabolism. Mol Syst Biol 13:921.

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Tardigrade

Tardigrade
Credit: Bob Goldstein
and Vicky Madden,
CC BY-SA 3.0

This episode: Tardigrades have an interesting way of surviving complete drying out: by producing proteins lacking a stable structure!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Chandipura vesiculovirus

News item

Journal Paper:
Boothby TC, Tapia H, Brozena AH, Piszkiewicz S, Smith AE, Giovannini I, Rebecchi L, Pielak GJ, Koshland D, Goldstein B. 2017. Tardigrades Use Intrinsically Disordered Proteins to Survive Desiccation. Mol Cell 65:975–984.e5.

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Prochlorococcus marinus

Prochlorococcus marinus
Credit: F. Partensky, CNRS, France

This episode: Viruses infecting cyanobacteria can produce proteins that actually help their host capture light better!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Pseudomonas asplenii

News item

Journal Paper:
Gasper R, Schwach J, Hartmann J, Holtkamp A, Wiethaus J, Riedel N, Hofmann E, Frankenberg-Dinkel N. 2017. Distinct Features of Cyanophage-encoded T-type Phycobiliprotein Lyase ΦCpeT: The Role of Auxiliary Metabolic Genes. J Biol Chem 292:3089–3098.

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C. elegans

Caenorhabditis elegans
By Bob Goldstein, CC BY-SA 3.0

This episode: Roundworms in soil can carry with them bacteria they eat to grow new food, like farmers!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Equid alphaherpesvirus 1

News item

Journal Paper:
Thutupalli S, Uppaluri S, Constable GWA, Levin SA, Stone HA, Tarnita CE, Brangwynne CP. 2017. Farming and public goods production in Caenorhabditis elegans populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci 114:2289–2294.

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Bacillus subtilis

Bacillus subtilis
By Y tambe, CCBY-SA 3.0

This episode: Even organisms as simple as viruses can communicate with each other!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Sweet potato virus C

Commentary (paywall)
Great talk about bacterial communication by Dr. Bonnie Bassler

Journal Paper:
Erez Z, Steinberger-Levy I, Shamir M, Doron S, Stokar-Avihail A, Peleg Y, Melamed S, Leavitt A, Savidor A, Albeck S, Amitai G, Sorek R. 2017. Communication between viruses guides lysis–lysogeny decisions. Nature 541:488–493.

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This episode: Ancient microbes built underwater structures that look like sunken, ancient cities!

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Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Actinomadura luteofluorescens

News item 1/News item 2

Journal Paper:
Andrews JE, Stamatakis MG, Marca-Bell A, Stewart C, Millar IL. 2016. Exhumed hydrocarbon-seep authigenic carbonates from Zakynthos Island (Greece): Concretions not archaeological remains. Marine and Petroleum Geology 76:16–25.

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Oyster mushroom mycelium

Oyster mushroom mycelium
By Tobi Kellner, CC BY-SA 3.0

This episode: Filament-forming organisms help bacteria swim through soil and exchange genes with each other! Also, new feature: microbe of the episode!

Download Episode (13.2 MB, 14.4 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode:
Azotobacter vinelandii

News item

Video of bacteria swimming along mycelium:

Full statement from Tom Berthold

Journal Paper:
Berthold T, Centler F, Hübschmann T, Remer R, Thullner M, Harms H, Wick LY. 2016. Mycelia as a focal point for horizontal gene transfer among soil bacteria. Sci Rep 6:36390.

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