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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Oct;16(5):643-51. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Sep 7.

The FUN of identifying gene function in bacterial pathogens; insights from Salmonella functional genomics.

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Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 7ZB, United Kingdom.


The availability of thousands of genome sequences of bacterial pathogens poses a particular challenge because each genome contains hundreds of genes of unknown function (FUN). How can we easily discover which FUN genes encode important virulence factors? One solution is to combine two different functional genomic approaches. First, transcriptomics identifies bacterial FUN genes that show differential expression during the process of mammalian infection. Second, global mutagenesis identifies individual FUN genes that the pathogen requires to cause disease. The intersection of these datasets can reveal a small set of candidate genes most likely to encode novel virulence attributes. We demonstrate this approach with the Salmonella infection model, and propose that a similar strategy could be used for other bacterial pathogens.

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