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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2000 May 29;355(1397):601-11.

Measurement of bacterial gene expression in vivo.

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Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, UK.


The complexities of bacterial gene expression during mammalian infection cannot be addressed by in vitro experiments. We know that the infected host represents a complex and dynamic environment, which is modified during the infection process, presenting a variety of stimuli to which the pathogen must respond if it is to be successful. This response involves hundreds of ivi (in vivo-induced) genes which have recently been identified in animal and cell culture models using a variety of technologies including in vivo expression technology, differential fluorescence induction, subtractive hybridization and differential display. Proteomic analysis is beginning to be used to identify IVI proteins, and has benefited from the availability of genome sequences for increasing numbers of bacterial pathogens. The patterns of bacterial gene expression during infection remain to be investigated. Are ivi genes expressed in an organ-specific or cell-type-specific fashion? New approaches are required to answer these questions. The uses of the immunologically based in vivo antigen technology system, in situ PCR and DNA microarray analysis are considered. This review considers existing methods for examining bacterial gene expression in vivo, and describes emerging approaches that should further our understanding in the future.

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