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Chapter 22 : Studies on Bacterial Pathogenicity since 1950 and Their Future

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Abstract:

Brilliant studies on bacterial pathogenicity were made during the Golden Age of medical bacteriology, i.e., from the enunciation of Koch’s Postulates in 1876 to the end of World War I, when the causative organisms of all major bacterial diseases were recognized. The study of bacterial pathogenicity became a backwater in microbiology. Bacterial disease persisted, even in developed countries where antibiotics were available. Bacterial infection remained at a lower level, but it still posed a formidable public health problem. The work on the anthrax toxin showed that toxins could have multiple components. The revival of interest in bacterial pathogenicity was delayed until the 1970s, when genetic manipulation was applied to the subject. The great boon of genetic manipulation to the study of bacterial pathogenicity was providing a rapid and convenient way of identifying virulence determinants and proving relevance in vivo. The surge of interest was not equal over all aspects of bacterial pathogenicity. Comparative genomics studies have also highlighted new mobile and accessible genetic elements in pathogens which shed light on their virulence and evolution. The monitoring of global gene expression by detecting mRNA by microhybridisation with fluorescently labeled cDNA is being used increasingly for bacterial pathogens.

Citation: Smith H. 2007. Studies on Bacterial Pathogenicity since 1950 and Their Future, p 327-338. In Brogden K, Minion F, Cornick N, Stanton T, Zhang Q, Nolan L, Wannemuehler M (ed), Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815851.ch22

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