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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Feb;23:171-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.11.019. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Bacteriophage-mediated spread of bacterial virulence genes.

Author information

1
Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK. Electronic address: JoseR.Penades@glasgow.ac.uk.
2
Skirball Institute Program in Molecular Pathogenesis and Departments of Microbiology and Medicine, New York University Medical Center, New York, NY 10016, United States.
3
Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK; Universidad Cardenal Herrera CEU, 46113 Moncada, Valencia, Spain.
4
Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK; Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia (IBV-CSIC), 46010 Valencia, Spain.

Abstract

Bacteriophages are types of viruses that infect bacteria. They are the most abundant and diverse entities in the biosphere, and influence the evolution of most bacterial species by promoting gene transfer, sometimes in unexpected ways. Although pac-type phages can randomly package and transfer bacterial DNA by a process called generalized transduction, some mobile genetic elements have developed elegant and sophisticated strategies to hijack the phage DNA-packaging machinery for their own transfer. Moreover, phage-like particles (gene transfer agents) have also evolved, that can package random pieces of the producing cell's genome. The purpose of this review is to give an overview of some of the various ways by which phages and phage-like particles can transfer bacterial genes, driving bacterial evolution and promoting the emergence of novel pathogens.

PMID:
25528295
DOI:
10.1016/j.mib.2014.11.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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