Reviews & Analysis

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  • Infections during pregnancy can be associated with devastating outcomes for the pregnant mother and developing fetus. In this Review, Megli and Coyne discuss placental defences and provide an overview of how various viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens traverse the maternal–fetal interface and cause disease.

    • Christina J. Megli
    • Carolyn B. Coyne
    Review Article
  • In this Review, Chevallereau et al. explore the composition and evolution of phage communities as well as their roles in controlling the population and evolutionary dynamics of bacterial communities. They highlight the need for greater ecological realism in laboratory studies to capture the complexity of microbial communities that thrive in natural environments.

    • Anne Chevallereau
    • Benoît J. Pons
    • Edze R. Westra
    Review Article
  • In this Review, Avalos and colleagues discuss different aspects of microbial physiology that can have an impact on engineered metabolic pathways, and they describe instances in which natural or engineered physiological traits in host organisms have been harnessed to benefit engineered metabolic pathways for chemical production.

    • José Montaño López
    • Lisset Duran
    • José L. Avalos
    Review Article
  • A hallmark of retroviral replication is establishment of the proviral state, wherein a DNA copy of the viral RNA genome is stably incorporated into a host cell chromosome by the viral enzyme integrase. In this Review, Maertens, Engelman and Cherepanov explore the structure and function of retroviral integrase and how this knowledge is informing the development of integrase inhibitors for the treatment of HIV infection.

    • Goedele N. Maertens
    • Alan N. Engelman
    • Peter Cherepanov
    Review Article
  • Hypoxic environments in which anaerobes dwell experience episodic oxygenation, which can be toxic to these organisms, yet many anaerobes have the capacity to tolerate substantial levels of oxygen. In this Review, Lu and Imlay explore the molecular mechanisms by which oxygen impairs anaerobic bacteria and the degree to which anaerobic bacteria protect themselves from oxidative stress.

    • Zheng Lu
    • James A. Imlay
    Review Article
  • In this Review, Hancock, Alford and Haney discuss how the complex functional attributes of host defence peptides provide many opportunities for the development of antimicrobial therapeutics, focusing on their emerging antibiofilm properties.

    • Robert E. W. Hancock
    • Morgan A. Alford
    • Evan F. Haney
    Review Article
  • Biofuels produced by conversion of biomass by engineered microorganisms have the potential to replace fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. In this Review, Keasling and colleagues discuss engineering of metabolic pathways to produce advanced biofuels and approaches to reduce metabolite toxicity and cost and increase titre, rate and yield.

    • Jay Keasling
    • Hector Garcia Martin
    • Eric Sundstrom
    Review Article
  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is ordinarily controlled by a vigorous immune response; however, HCMV can replicate to high levels and cause end organ disease when the immune system is compromised. In this Review, Griffiths and Reeves discuss HCMV pathogenesis in immunocompromised individuals and emerging strategies to treat and prevent infection and disease.

    • Paul Griffiths
    • Matthew Reeves
    Review Article
  • There is considerable variability in antimicrobial pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, which can pose challenges for treatment of infection and antimicrobial resistance development. In this Review, Holmes and colleagues discuss how precision antimicrobial therapy, including biosensors and individualized treatment, can contribute to antimicrobial stewardship.

    • Timothy M. Rawson
    • Richard C. Wilson
    • Alison H. Holmes
    Review Article
  • Recent updates on the squid–vibrio symbiosis show mechanistic details that underlie the establishment and maintenance of a symbiotic association along the apical surfaces of an animal epithelium.

    • Christoph Giez
    • Thomas C. G. Bosch
    News & Views
  • The evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been characterized by the emergence of mutations and so-called variants of concern that impact virus characteristics, including transmissibility and antigenicity. In this Review, members of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium and colleagues summarize mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, focusing on their impacts on antigenicity and contextualizing them in the protein structure, and discuss them in the context of observed mutation frequencies in global sequence datasets.

    • William T. Harvey
    • Alessandro M. Carabelli
    • David L. Robertson
    Review Article
  • Small antibacterial molecules termed bacteriocins can influence microbiome composition by providing an advantage to bacteriocin producers over bacteriocin-sensitive strains. In this Review, Peschel and colleagues provide an overview of the types of bacteriocins, their costs and benefits, and how they may provide new avenues for antibacterial drug development.

    • Simon Heilbronner
    • Bernhard Krismer
    • Andreas Peschel
    Review Article
  • Prevotella is a genus of bacteria that commonly associate with humans, in various body sites. In this Review, Segata, Ercolini and colleagues discuss Prevotella diversity and the evidence for the involvement of these bacteria in human health and disease.

    • Adrian Tett
    • Edoardo Pasolli
    • Nicola Segata
    Review Article
  • In this Review, Mallott and Amato summarize the prevalence of phylosymbiosis across the animal kingdom and explore the microbial community assembly processes and related host traits that contribute to phylosymbiosis. They find that phylosymbiosis is less prevalent in taxonomically richer microbiomes across the animal kingdom, except in mammals, perhaps owing to a unique combination of mammalian traits that influence the microbiota.

    • Elizabeth K. Mallott
    • Katherine R. Amato
    Review Article
  • Type VII secretion systems have a key role in the secretion of effector proteins in non-pathogenic mycobacteria and pathogenic mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In this Review, Rivera-Calzada et al. provide an overview of the architecture of type VII secretion systems, their functions and transport models.

    • Angel Rivera-Calzada
    • Nikolaos Famelis
    • Sebastian Geibel
    Review Article
  • In this Review, Galán discusses the mechanisms by which Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium triggers inflammation in the intestinal tract through the activities of effector proteins as well as the mechanisms that are aimed at recovering host homeostasis after the inflammatory response.

    • Jorge E. Galán
    Review Article
  • In this Review, Mizrahi and colleagues describe the composition, ecology and metabolism of the rumen microbiome, and the impact on host physiology and the environment. They also discuss the most pertinent methane mitigation strategies that emerged to balance food security and environmental impact.

    • Itzhak Mizrahi
    • R. John Wallace
    • Sarah Moraïs
    Review Article