The influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) fusion glycoprotein mediates viral entry into host cells through its receptor binding and membrane fusion activities. In this issue of Cell, Das et al. use single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) to monitor HA conformational dynamics. Their study reveals this prototypical class I fusion protein to be a highly dynamic molecule capable of reversibly sampling multiple…
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CD8+ T cells respond to signals via the T cell receptor (TCR), costimulatory molecules, and immunoregulatory cytokines by developing into diverse populations of effector and memory cells. The relative strength of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling early in the T cell response can dramatically influence downstream effector and memory T cell differentiation. We show that initial PI3K signaling during T cell activation…
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The complexity of microbial communities, combined with technical biases in next-generation sequencing, pose a challenge to metagenomic analysis. Here, we develop a set of internal DNA standards, termed “sequins” (sequencing spike-ins), that together constitute a synthetic community of artificial microbial genomes. Sequins are added to environmental DNA samples prior to library preparation, and undergo concurrent sequencing with the accompanying sample.…
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New Tools for Syphilis Research

Syphilis research has been severely limited by the necessity to propagate Treponema pallidumin vivo in rabbits. After decades of erroneous or irreproducible reports of cultivation of T. pallidum, the recent very convincing report of its successful long-term in vitro propagation opens numerous opportunities for development of genetictools for studying pathogenesis and protein function, antigenic variation, and surface exposure of antigens. The possibility of more rapid isolation of…
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Iodide Improves Outcome After Acute Myocardial Infarction in Rats and Pigs

In this study, we tested whether iodide would reduce heart damage in rat and pig models of acute myocardial infarction as a risk analysis for a human trial. Acute myocardial infarction was induced by temporary ligation of the coronary artery followed by reperfusion. Iodide was administered orally in rats or IV in rats and pigs just prior to reperfusion. Damage was assessed by blood…
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A Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase Effector Alters Phagosomal Maturation to Promote Intracellular Growth of Francisella

Many pathogenic intracellular bacteria manipulate the host phago-endosomal system to establish and maintain a permissive niche. The fate and identity of these intracellular compartments is controlled by phosphoinositide lipids. By mechanisms that have remained undefined, a Francisella pathogenicity island-encoded secretion system allows phagosomal escape and replication of bacteria within host cell cytoplasm. Here we report the discovery that a substrate…
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