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Front Biosci. 2001 Aug 1;6:D877-89.

Molecular pathogenesis of pneumococcal pneumonia.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's, Research Hospital, 332 N. Lauderdale Street, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of data on the molecular pathogenesis of pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, one of the most important pathogens currently plaguing man. Identification and functional analysis of genes and their proteins, elucidation of mechanisms involved in adherence, colonization, inflammation, and invasion, and an understanding of interactions with the host and with external factors have provided knowledge that can be used to attack this organism with small molecule or vaccine based strategies. Study of the pneumococcus has also led to insights into other pathogens that share a unique spectrum of respiratory disease. In this review we will discuss recent advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of pneumonia due to S. pneumoniae, highlighting emerging themes common to other organisms such as Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitidis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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