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Vet Res. 1999 Mar-Jun;30(2-3):131-55.

Virulence gene regulation in pathogenic Escherichia coli.

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Département de pathologie et microbiologie, faculté de médecine vétérinaire, université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada.


The ability to regulate gene expression throughout the course of an infection is important for the survival of a pathogen in the host. Thus, virulence gene expression responds to environmental signals in many complex ways. Frequently, global regulatory factors associated with specific regulators co-ordinate expression of virulence genes. In this review, we present well-described regulatory mechanisms used to co-ordinate the expression of virulence factors by pathogenic Escherichia coli with a relative emphasis on diseases caused by E. coli in animals. Many of the virulence-associated genes of pathogenic E. coli respond to environmental conditions. The involvement of global regulators, including housekeeping regulons and virulence regulons, specific regulators and then sensor regulatory systems involved in virulence, is described. Specific regulation mechanisms are illustrated using the regulation of genes encoding for fimbriae, curli, haemolysin and capsules as examples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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