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Chapter 13 : Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia

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Abstract:

This chapter focuses on (i) species that induce human diseases, (ii) species that are able to produce toxins, and (iii) the association of appropriate virulence factors with possible mobile elements. With reference to bacilli, the chapter discusses mainly and . A section on clostridia focuses on , neurotoxin-producing clostridia, and species capable of producing large clostridial cytotoxins (LCTs). The chapter talks about the contribution of the genetic mobility of virulence genes to the evolution of pathogenic bacilli and clostridia. strains produce a tripartite protein toxin, comprising PA (protective antigen), EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor). The main scientific interest is focused on the toxin plasmid (pXO1) and the capsule plasmid (pXO2), since they were recognized at an early stage as carrying the major virulence factors of . Under laboratory conditions, gene transfer has been achieved by transduction, conjugation, or conduction and has been reported to occur between , , and strains. With virulence factors that are known to be mobile, the significance of the association of mobile genetic elements with virulence genes for the evolution of the pathogenic clostridia and bacilli becomes clear. The extreme flexibility of the bacteria toward the loss and acquisition of virulence factors could help pathogenic bacteria adapt to the excessive pressure of selection to which they are subjected during the complex interactions between pathogens and their hosts.

Citation: Braun V, von Eichel-Streiber C. 1999. Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia, p 233-264. In Kaper J, Hacker J (ed), Pathogenicity Islands and Other Mobile Virulence Elements. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818173.ch13

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Mobile Genetic Elements
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Genetic Elements
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Horizontal Gene Transfer
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Figures

Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

Genetic organization of the chromosomal enterotoxin gene (cpe). ORFs are shown as arrows, and IS elements are indicated by solid boxes. encodes the putative purine permease; encodes the putative quinolinate phosphoribosyltransferase. The figure is based on data from references and .

Citation: Braun V, von Eichel-Streiber C. 1999. Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia, p 233-264. In Kaper J, Hacker J (ed), Pathogenicity Islands and Other Mobile Virulence Elements. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818173.ch13
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Gene arrangement of the toxin locus of selected strains. The figure is based on data summarized by Kubota et al. ( ).

Citation: Braun V, von Eichel-Streiber C. 1999. Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia, p 233-264. In Kaper J, Hacker J (ed), Pathogenicity Islands and Other Mobile Virulence Elements. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818173.ch13
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Figure 3

Model for the regulation of the toxin expression in The model is based on work in our laboratory ( ) and a reporter gene analysis by Moncrief et al. ( ). The antagonistic functions of the two putative regulatory molecules, TcdC and TcdD, for the expression of the toxins are indicated. The model is described in detail by Braun ( ).

Citation: Braun V, von Eichel-Streiber C. 1999. Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia, p 233-264. In Kaper J, Hacker J (ed), Pathogenicity Islands and Other Mobile Virulence Elements. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818173.ch13
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Image of Figure 4
Figure 4

Genetic organization of the pathogenicity locus of (partial), and (partial). The figure is based on data from references , and .

Citation: Braun V, von Eichel-Streiber C. 1999. Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia, p 233-264. In Kaper J, Hacker J (ed), Pathogenicity Islands and Other Mobile Virulence Elements. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818173.ch13
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Tables

Generic image for table
Table 1

Important toxins produced by bacilli and clostridia

Citation: Braun V, von Eichel-Streiber C. 1999. Virulence-Associated Mobile Elements in Bacilli and Clostridia, p 233-264. In Kaper J, Hacker J (ed), Pathogenicity Islands and Other Mobile Virulence Elements. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818173.ch13

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