Caister Academic Press
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CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2005) 7: 151-178.

Transcriptional Regulation in Yersinia: An Update Yersinia: An Update

Michael Marceau

In response to the ever-present need to adapt to environmental stress, bacteria have evolved complex (and often overlapping) regulatory networks that respond to various changes in growth conditions, including entry into the host. The expression of most bacterial virulence factors is regulated; thus the question of how bacteria orchestrate this process has become a recurrent research theme for every bacterial pathogen, and the three pathogenic Yersinia are no exception. The earliest studies of regulation in these species were prompted by the characterization of plasmid-encoded virulence determinants, and those conducted since have continued to focus on the principal aspects of virulence in these pathogens. Most Yersinia virulence factors are thermally regulated, and are active at either 28 degrees C (the optimal growth temperature) or 37 degrees C (the host temperature). However, regulation by this omnipresent thermal stimulus occurs through a wide variety of mechanisms, which generally act in conjunction with (or are modulated by) additional controls for other environmental cues such as pH, ion concentration, nutrient availability, osmolarity, oxygen tension and DNA damage. Yersinia's recent entry into the genome sequencing era has given scientists the opportunity to study these regulators on a genome-wide basis. This has prompted the first attempts to establish links between the presence or absence of regulatory elements and the three pathogenic species' respective lifestyles and degrees of virulence.

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