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Cell Microbiol. 2002 Oct;4(10):627-34.

The use of germ line-mutated mice in understanding host-pathogen interactions.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


Microbial pathogenesis reflects an imbalance between parasite and host factors that favour pathogen multiplication and tissue destruction over those required for microbial elimination and preservation of the integrity of host tissues. In vivo analysis of host-pathogen interactions has been revolutionized by the ability to engineer specific genetic alterations including loss of function mutations and transgenes into the mouse germline. This brief review recapitulates what we have learned about the host response to Toxoplasma gondii infection to illustrate the usefulness of gene-altered mice in microbial pathogenesis research. A consideration of the pitfalls and limitations of experiments in knockout mice and ways of addressing these concerns are discussed. Finally, advances in inducible and tissue-restricted alterations in gene function are presented and their possible applications to microbiology research are considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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