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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Apr;6(4):288-301. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1871.

The role of Streptococcus pneumoniae virulence factors in host respiratory colonization and disease.

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Department of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 9HN, United Kingdom.


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that colonizes the mucosal surfaces of the host nasopharynx and upper airway. Through a combination of virulence-factor activity and an ability to evade the early components of the host immune response, this organism can spread from the upper respiratory tract to the sterile regions of the lower respiratory tract, which leads to pneumonia. In this Review, we describe how S. pneumoniae uses its armamentarium of virulence factors to colonize the upper and lower respiratory tracts of the host and cause disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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