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Vaccine. 2009 Jun 24;27 Suppl 2:B103-11. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.04.064. Epub 2009 May 27.

Genome flexibility in Neisseria meningitidis.

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1
Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie, der Universität Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 2, Bau E1, Würzburg 97877, Germany. cschoen@hygiene.uni-wuerzburg.de

Abstract

Neisseria meningitidis usually lives as a commensal bacterium in the upper airways of humans. However, occasionally some strains can also cause life-threatening diseases such as sepsis and bacterial meningitis. Comparative genomics demonstrates that only very subtle genetic differences between carriage and disease strains might be responsible for the observed virulence differences and that N. meningitidis is, evolutionarily, a very recent species. Comparative genome sequencing also revealed a panoply of genetic mechanisms underlying its enormous genomic flexibility which also might affect the virulence of particular strains. From these studies, N. meningitidis emerges as a paradigm for organisms that use genome variability as an adaptation to changing and thus challenging environments.

PMID:
19477564
PMCID:
PMC3898611
DOI:
10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.04.064
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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