Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.
- In mammals, prions can be bad news: they can morph into infectious pathogens that cause neurologic disease. In other organisms, they are important for gene regulation, particularly for responding to environmental changes.
- Neuraminidase inhibitors such as Tamiflu will likely be important for defense against avian influenza viruses should they ever establish in humans. Resistance emerges, but usually comes with a fitness cost.
- The disease cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which colonizes the intestine and causes massive and potentially lethal diarrhea. In water the bacterium exists as biofilms that colonize plankton, particularly copepods, from which they obtain chitin.
I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.