Essay 75: Biology-Watching for Students

Nature Reviews Microbiology

December 2019 Volume 17, Issue 12


Hype or hope?
p717 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0283-5
Microbiome research has attracted considerable attention, partially because of the potential to manipulate the microbiome for human health. To fulfil this promise, tractable methods and cautious interpretation of results are needed.
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The future of faecal transplants
Edward M. Giles, Gemma L. D’Adamo & Samuel C. Forster
p719 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0271-9
Faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is now accepted as an effective treatment for Clostridioides difficile infections. With the increasing number of FMT treatments and clinical trials for other indications there is an urgent need for standardized regulations to ensure patient safety and focused development of safer, rationally designed, microbiota-based medicines.
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Your microbiome is what you eat
Ashley York
p721 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0287-1
Three recent studies highlight how the gut microbiome responds to dietary change, with potential consequences for host–microbiota interactions.
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Sublethal antibiotics and a sticky situation
Andrea Du Toit
p722 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0290-6
This study shows that sublethal doses of ciprofloxacin enhanced aggregation of bacterial cells, which resulted in their increased expulsion from the gut by the mechanical activity of the intestine.
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Human trial of vaginal microbiome transplantation
Andrea Du Toit
p722 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0291-5
This study reports the feasibility of vaginal microbiome transplantation from healthy donors as treatment for patients suffering from symptomatic, intractable and recurrent bacterial vaginosis.
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Designing phagebodies
Andrea Du Toit
p722 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0292-4
A study reports the generation of synthetic ‘phagebodies’ with a broadened host range that were able to target naturally occurring phage-resistant bacterial mutants.
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An apple a day helps Bacteroides to stay
Ursula Hofer
pp722 – 723 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0280-8
This study explores the response of the gut microbiota to dietary fibres and presents new biosensors that can measure microbial fibre use in vivo.
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Microbial conductors
Andrea Du Toit
pp722 – 723 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0285-3
This study links a histone deacetylase and the gut microbiota to the circadian regulation of host metabolism.
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Providing resistance to rotavirus
Ashley York
p723 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0295-1
This study finds that gut segmented filamentous bacteria prevent and cure rotavirus infection in immunodeficient mice.
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A probiotic for candidiasis?
Ashley York
p723 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0296-0
A recent study finds that probiotic yeasts can inhibit virulence of several non-albicans Candida species, including mutidrug-resistant Candida auris.
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Distinct drivers of functional diversity
Ashley York
p723 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0297-z
This study observed that the functional diversity of core and accessory genes in the soil microbiome are governed by distinct processes.
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The expanding horizons of host–microorganism imaging are clear to see
Patrick G. Inns & Gideon Mamou
p724 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0289-z
This month’s Under the Lens explores how recent developments in sample preparation are aiding and advancing the imaging of host–microorganism interactions.
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Common principles and best practices for engineering microbiomes
Christopher E. Lawson, William R. Harcombe, Roland Hatzenpichler, Stephen R. Lindemann, Frank E. Löffler et al.
pp725 – 741 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0255-9
Microbiome engineering has many potential applications, ranging from agriculture to medicine. In this Review, Lawson, McMahon and colleagues guide us through the design–build–test–learn cycle that has been successful in many disciplines and explain how it applies to microbiome engineering.
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Diet–microbiota interactions and personalized nutrition
Aleksandra A. Kolodziejczyk, Danping Zheng & Eran Elinav
pp742 – 753 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0256-8
In this Review, Kolodziejczyk, Zheng and Elinav describe the latest advances in understanding diet–microbiota interactions, the individuality of gut microbiota composition and how this knowledge could be harnessed for personalized nutrition strategies to improve human health.
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Synthetic ecology of the human gut microbiota
Gino Vrancken, Ann C. Gregory, Geert R. B. Huys, Karoline Faust & Jeroen Raes pp754 – 763 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0264-8
Going from description of the diversity and disease associations of the human gut microbiota towards functional understanding and applications is challenging. In this Review, Raes and colleagues present synthetic ecology approaches that reduce the complexity and advance translation of human gut microbiota research.
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Simple animal models for microbiome research
Angela E. Douglas
pp764 – 775 | doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0242-1
Simple animal models are emerging as valuable tools for microbiome research. In this Review, Douglas discusses the opportunity for microbiome research on the traditional biomedical models Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans and zebrafish. Other systems, for example, hydra, squid and the honeybee, are valuable alternative models to address specific questions.
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