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Trends Microbiol. 2003 Mar;11(3):118-23.

Will the enigma of Francisella tularensis virulence soon be solved?

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  • 1Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, Salisbury, UK SP4 0JQ.


Francisella tularensis is one of the most infectious bacterial pathogens known and is the causative agent of the zoonotic disease tularemia. In spite of the importance of this pathogen little is known about its virulence mechanisms. However, it is clear that the bacterium is an intracellular pathogen, replicating mainly in macrophages, with replication in amoebae also having been reported. The genome sequence of a high virulence strain of F. tularensis is close to completion and when available, will stimulate further research into virulence mechanisms.

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