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Mol Microbiol. 2004 May;52(3):621-30.

Adaptation of the Brucellae to their intracellular niche.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, 600 Moye Boulevard, Greenville, NC 27858-4354, USA.


Members of the bacterial genus Brucella are facultative intracellular pathogens that reside predominantly within membrane-bound compartments within two host cell types, macrophages and placental trophoblasts. Within macrophages, the brucellae route themselves to an intracellular compartment that is favourable for survival and replication, and they also appear to be well-adapted from a physiological standpoint to withstand the environmental conditions encountered during prolonged residence in this intracellular niche. Much less is known about the interactions of the Brucella with placental trophoblasts, but experimental evidence suggests that these bacteria use an iron acquisition system to support extensive intracellular replication within these host cells that is not required for survival and replication in host macrophages. Thus, it appears that the brucellae rely upon the products of distinct subsets of genes to adapt successfully to the environmental conditions encountered within the two cell types within which they reside in their mammalian hosts.

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