Caister Academic Press

Mobile Genetic Elements as Carriers for Bacterial Virulence Genes

José R Penadés and J. Ross Fitzgerald
from: Bacterial Toxins: Genetics, Cellular Biology and Practical Applications (Edited by: Thomas Proft). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2013)


The identification of accessory genetic elements (plasmids, bacteriophages, and 'pathogenicity islands') encoding virulence-associated genes has led to enhanced understanding of the evolution of pathogenic bacteria and how they adapt to new host environments. It is evident that mobile genetic elements (MGE) have had a profound influence on the emergence and spread of pathogenic bacteria. Furthermore, an understanding of the mechanisms of horizontal acquisition of virulence genes may lead to the identification of alternative approaches for preventing the emergence of new pathogenic clones or for controlling existing ones. In this chapter, we provide examples of MGE, which confer determinants of pathogenicity to selected bacterial species, and summarise current knowledge regarding their mechanisms of transmission read more ...
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