Berkeley Lab researchers, in collaboration with scientists from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Max Planck Institute, have demonstrated that fluctuation X-ray scattering is capable of capturing the behavior of biological systems in unprecedented detail. Although this technique was first proposed more than four decades ago, its implementation was hindered by the lack of sufficiently powerful X-ray sources and associated detector technology, sample delivery methods, and the means to analyze the data. The team developed a novel mathematical and data analyses framework that was applied to data obtained from DOE’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC. This breakthrough was recently reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).More »
Robert Glaeser, senior scientist in the Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging Division, was awarded the Glenn T. Seaborg Medal by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). At a symposium held on November 1o, Glaeser and Richard Henderson, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2017, were recognized for their “crucial contributions to the science of electron cryo-microscopy.”More »
Bacteria deploy various biological mechanisms to fend off their competition, which are often other bacteria. In some cases, they secrete toxins in their fight for survival. A newly discovered toxin stands out from others in the battle for microbial domination. Marc Allaire, Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division researcher, worked with a team led by Joseph Mougous of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Washington School of Medicine, to characterize this new toxin.More »
In Nature Communications, giant virus genomes have been discovered for the first time in a forest soil ecosystem by researchers from the JGI and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass Amherst). The giant virus genomes were discovered by JGI research scientist Frederik Schulz while helping Lauren Alteio, a UMass Amherst graduate student in Jeff Blanchard’s lab, analyze her metagenomic data. JGI researchers used a “mini-metagenomics” approach to reduce the complexity of the soil microbial communities, uncovering 15 novel giant virus genomes.
“Soils have been an overlooked ecosystem for giant virus diversity, with studies mostly focused on aquatic environments. The unbinned metagenome soil data suggests that the extent of giant virus diversity in Harvard forest soil is much higher than the 16 genomes recovered in this study, but accessing the genomes with traditional approaches is challenging,” said JGI Microbial Program head and study senior author Tanja Woyke. Click here to learn more on the JGI website.
Truffles are the fruiting bodies of the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal symbionts residing on host plant roots, they play an important role in soil ecosystem services. In many Ascomycota and Basidiomycota lineages, truffle-forming species have evolved independently in nearly every major group. This suggests that symbiosis drives evolution of truffle diversity and selects for specific traits. An international team including JGI researchers sought insights into the ECM lifestyle of truffle-forming species. As reported in Nature Ecology & Evolution, the team conducted a comparative analysis of eight Pezizomycete fungi, including four species prized as delicacies.
Through the JGI’s Community Science Program, JGI de novo sequenced the genomes of two truffle-forming fungi: the Pig truffle (Choiromyces venosus) and, the Desert truffle (Terfezia boudieri) as well as of two other Pezizomycetes not forming truffles: Ascobolus immersus and Morchella importuna. These four genomes as well as the genome of the Piedmont white truffle (Tuber magnatum) were annotated through the JGI’s pipeline. The genome of the Burgundy Truffle (T. aestivum) was sequenced by Genoscope. Click to learn more on the JGI website.