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Trends Microbiol. 2008 Sep;16(9):436-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2008.06.003. Epub 2008 Aug 11.

The case for hypervirulence through gene deletion in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, London, NW1 0TU, UK.


Deletion of genes in a pathogen is commonly associated with a reduction in its ability to cause disease. However, some rare cases have been described in the literature whereby deletion of a gene results in an increase in virulence. Recently, there have been several reports of hypervirulence resulting from gene deletion in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Here, we explore this phenomenon in the context of the interaction between the pathogen and the host response.

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