Chapter 10 : Pathogenomics of Bacterial Biothreat Agents

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The idea of "pathogenomics" encompasses every aspect of microbial pathogenesis. Before genome sequences for biothreat pathogens became available, the types of whole-genome approaches applied today were unimaginable to investigators. This chapter therefore revolves around a period of transition in the study of pathogen biology in general and of biothreat agents in particular, much of it stemming from the recent biodefense funding impetus. In discussing the genome biology of classical biothreat pathogens, several common themes emerge. The chapter provides an overview of these ideas before discussing the specific pathogenomics of each agent. The study of genomics emphasizes the similarities of the major themes in biology and allows advances that occur in one field to be quickly transferred to others. The enormity of the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on the genome content of bacterial species is gradually coming to light. In a postgenomic study, comparative proteomics of the secretomes performed with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis between fully virulent , pXO1/pXO2 and pXO1/pXO2 was performed. The pathobiology of , stimulated by the genome sequence, is a highly active field. As knowledge of biothreat pathogenesis grows, so does the possibility of identifying common pathways in the host. For instance, many of the bacteria described in the chapter invade macrophages at some point when causing disease.

Citation: Read T, Thomason B. 2007. Pathogenomics of Bacterial Biothreat Agents, p 232-266. In Pallen M, Nelson K, Preston G (ed), Bacterial Pathogenomics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815530.ch10

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Immune System Proteins
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Image of FIGURE 1

Dampening of macrophage immune response genes after treatment with anthrax lethal toxin measured by DNA microarray. Bars indicate the level of induction relative to expression in untreated cells, as measured by DNA microarray. For each gene indicated, induction levels are shown for cells treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and cells treated with LPS and lethal toxin (LeTx). TNF, tumor necrosis factor; MMP-9, matrix metalloproteinase 9; IL, interleukin. From reference .

Citation: Read T, Thomason B. 2007. Pathogenomics of Bacterial Biothreat Agents, p 232-266. In Pallen M, Nelson K, Preston G (ed), Bacterial Pathogenomics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815530.ch10
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Image of FIGURE 2

The nonpathogenic yersiniae gain the virulence plasmid pYV to form the predecessor of pathogenic yersinae. diverges from and forms three lineages: 1A, Old World, and New World. gains the ability to parasitize insects and to form biofilms in hosts before evolving into through the acquisition of plasmids pPla and pMT1, genome mixing, and decay. Hms, hemin storage; HPI and HPI*, high-pathogenicity islands; IS, insertion sequence. Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd.: ( ), copyright 2004.

Citation: Read T, Thomason B. 2007. Pathogenomics of Bacterial Biothreat Agents, p 232-266. In Pallen M, Nelson K, Preston G (ed), Bacterial Pathogenomics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815530.ch10
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