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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2010 May;16(5):411-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03183.x. Epub 2010 Feb 2.

Streptococcus pneumoniae: virulence factors and variation.

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Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre, University of Glasgow, UK.


Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major pathogen of humans, causing diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis. The organism produces several virulence factors that are involved in the disease process. The molecular basis of the action of some of these virulence factors is being elucidated. The advent of whole genome sequencing combined with biological studies has demonstrated that genome variation is important in the ability of pneumococci to interact with the host. This review discusses the biological activity of several pneumococcal virulence factors, and describes how genome variation may impact on the ability of pneumococci to cause disease.

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