Microbes in the News #2


Copycat fungus deceives immune system and deactivates body’s response to infection

Date: March 28, 2019          Source: University of Sheffield


Summary: New research shows fungi can make similar chemical signals as our immune system. These chemicals enter the body and make humans more likely to get an infection.


Connections: Just today in class we talked about the immune system and how it captures microbes.


Critical Analysis: Fungi have always produced chemicals similar to those released in our immune system. Up until know, we haven’t known the function of these chemicals. Now, research shows that when exposed to these chemicals the fungi can grow more easily than when the host is unexposed. I found it especially interesting that the fungus does not suppress the immune system in any ways. These fungi immune chemicals named prostoglandins activate a specific immune system pathway. This pathway prevents over-stimulation of the immune system. Ultimately this makes the body unable to fight off the fungal infection. What is even more dangerous is that opportunistic infections from usually commensal bacteria pose a danger while these postoglandins deceive the body. Once the body is tricked into shutting down the immune system, bacteria that our bodies always host begin to grow out of control.


Question: Would it be possible for microbiologists to isolate these prostoglandins in order to treat diseases in which the immune system attacks itself?

Lab 6 WAR -Micro to Macro

Jimmy Maynard F03


War is my artistic intent with these two painting. The first one is of a bacteriophage which represents the on going war between bacteria and viruses that is going on all around us but cant be seen by our naked eyes. The second is the type of war we hope to never see such as Pakistan and India who both have nuclear weapons and seen to always engaging in conflicts like the downing of two of Indias Air Force fighters just a few days ago.

As far as the materials used, most of the materials did not work. The inside capsid head of the bacteriophage I used my own bacterial isolate that despite being gram negative will not grow EMB plate or the MAC plate. I used E. coli because it has that nice black outline effect.