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Annu Rev Genet. 2000;34:139-164.

Assessment of bacterial pathogenesis by analysis of gene expression in the host.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA.


A number of techniques have been developed to assess the expression of microbial virulence genes within the host (in vivo). These studies have shown that bacteria employ a wide variety of mechanisms to coordinately regulate the expression of these genes during infection. Two tenets have emerged from these studies: bacterial adaptation responses are critical to growth within the host, and interactions between microorganisms and the microenvironments of their hosts cannot be revealed from in vitro studies alone. Results that support these tenets include (i) the prevalent class of in vivo expressed genes are involved in adaptation to environmental stresses, (ii) pathogens recovered from host tissues (versus laboratory growth) are often more resistant to host killing mechanisms, and (iii) virulence gene expression can differ in the animal compared to laboratory media. Thus, pathogenicity comprises the unique ability to adapt to the varied host milieus encountered as the infection proceeds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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