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Trends Microbiol. 2002 Nov;10(11):521-9.

Common themes among bacteriophage-encoded virulence factors and diversity among the bacteriophages involved.

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Dept of Microbiology, UCC, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland.


There are common themes among bacteriophage-encoded virulence factors, which include the well-characterized bacterial toxins and proteins that alter antigenicity as well as several new classes of bacteriophage-encoded proteins such as superantigens, effectors translocated by a type III secretion system, and proteins required for intracellular survival and host cell attachment. These virulence factors are encoded by a diversity of bacteriophages, members of the viral families Siphoviridae, Podoviridae, Myoviridae and Inoviridae, with some bacteriophages having characteristics of more than one virus family. The location of virulence genes within the bacteriophage genomes is non-random and consistent with an origin via imprecise prophage excision or as either transferable cassettes or integral components of the bacteriophage genome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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