Genomic Plasticity and the Emergence of New Pathogenic E. coli
Shana R. Leopold, Ulrich Dobrindt, Helge Karch and Alexander Mellmann
from: Pathogenic Escherichia coli: Molecular and Cellular Microbiology (Edited by: Stefano Morabito). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)
Changes at the genomic level of E. coli occur by both on a small scale (e.g. point mutations, insertions, deletions) as well as through lateral gene transfer and homologous recombination of larger fragments. The ability of the E. coli chromosome to incorporate new sequence from various sources, including mobile elements, plasmids, and other exogenous DNA, gives rise to diversity of virulence and adaptative gene content throughout the species. This plasticity of the genome enables E. coli to rapidly adapt, exploiting new niches and forming new pathotypes. Intra-host genome alterations have also been documented, providing models of real time pathogen evolution. We are now learning more about this genomic flexibility as whole genome sequencing becomes more readily available read more ...