As Old English Wegbrade the plantago is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm , recorded in the 10th century. In Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria, leaves from Plantago major are used as a folk remedy to preventing infection on cuts and scratches because of its antiseptic properties. In Slovenia and other Central European regions, the leaves were traditionally used topically as a cure for blisters resulting from friction (such as caused by tight shoes etc.) and as relief on mosquito bites in eastern Westphalia as well as western Eastphalia.
As a close relative to M. smithii and M. oralis , we have previously verified the existence of a third phylotype (“phylotype 3”) in periodontal pockets and within infected dental root canals [ 26 ]. First 16S rRNA gene sequences of this putative organism had already been reported earlier (., [ 27 ]), however only our combined recovery of both 16S rRNA and mcrA gene sequences with fitting topology of inferred phylogenetic trees from the same individual gave sufficient confidence that humans are colonized by a third Methanobrevibacter phylotype. This finding may sound trivial given the high archaeal diversity in environmental habitats, but not given the extreme reduced archaeal diversity in humans. Interesting questions that arise are, whether this uncultured organism shares individual niches or competes with M. oralis and why it has escaped cultivation so far. Though it is likely that this organism is cultivable with the same conditions as M. smithii and M. oralis , failure so far is probably due to its lower prevalence in human clinical samples [ 26 ].
To reconstruct the set of proteins LUCA could make, Kim and Caetano-Anollés (2011) ( direct link ), see also Wang et al. ( 2007 ), searched a database of proteins from 420 modern organisms, looking for structures that were common to all. Of the structures found, just 5 to 11 per cent were universal, meaning they were conserved enough to have originated in LUCA. By looking at their function, they conclude that LUCA had an advanced metabolic network, especially rich in nucleotide metabolism enzymes, had primordial pathways for the biosynthesis of membrane glycerol ether and ester lipids, crucial elements of translation, including aminoacyl-tRNA synthases, regulatory factors, and a primordial ribosome with protein synthesis capabilities. It lacked however transcription from DNA to RNA, processes for extracellular communication, and enzymes for deoxyribonucleotide synthesis, and in advanced evolutionary stages stored genetic information in RNA (not DNA) molecules.