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Regulation of Bacterial Virulence

Editors: Michael L. Vasil1, Andrew J. Darwin2
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Affiliations: 1: University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado; 2: New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Hardcover, Electronic
Publication Year: 2013

Category: Bacterial Pathogenesis

features 28 review chapters, written by leading investigators in the field, encompassing the most current, innovative insights regarding established regulatory systems as well as emerging new paradigms in host­pathogen confrontations. It also

  • Provides insights into global control and the switch between distinct infectious states (acute versus chronic).
  • Considers key issues about the mechanisms of gene regulation relating to surface factors, exported toxins, and export mechanisms.
  • Reflects on how the regulation of intracellular lifestyles and the response to stress can ultimately have an impact on the outcome of an infection.
  • Highlights and examines emerging regulatory mechanisms of special significance.

is an ideal resource for students, researchers, and faculty interested in how the mechanisms of gene regulation ultimately affect the out­come of an array of bacterial infectious diseases.

Hardcover, 620 pages, full-color illustrations, index.

"This book nicely integrates descriptions of general regulatory themes with specific examples of how genes are regulated in particular pathogens, providing an interesting and useful un­derstanding of the regulation of bacterial virulence."

— Stanley Maloy, Dean, College of Sciences, San Diego State University

"To understand gene regulation is to understand how bacteria think. Vasil and Darwin have recruited a distinguished group of contributors to explore the myriad ways in which pathogenic bacteria perceive and respond to diverse host environments. This volume is highly recommended for experienced investiga­tors and newcomers alike."

— Ferric C. Fang, Director, Harborview Medical Center Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, and Professor Universityof Washington School of Medicine

obtained his PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1975. He is currently a professor of microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He has written or coauthored over 150 published works. Dr. Vasil is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology and was elected to the Academy of Medical Educators at the University of Colorado.

obtained his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 1993. He is currently an associate pro­fessor at the New York University School of Medicine. His interests include the molecular genetic analysis of bacterial physiology and virulence. Dr. Darwin is currently a member of the editorial boards of , the , and as well as an associate editor of the forthcoming ASM Press periodical .

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 Quarterly Review of Biology

29 May 2014

The book represents a compilation of chapters on the topics that one way or another are focused on the molecular  mechanisms employed by bacterial pathogens to up or downregulate expression of different traits in the course of infection, ensuring the pathogens success in the course of infection. There are 28 chapters contributed by recognized experts in the field, but primarily representing research laboratories from the Unites States. The topics are of a broad range and are combined into six sections, covering regulation of virulence factors in a wide and well-balanced spectrum of gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial species that includes professional, opportunistic, zoonotic, and environmental human pathogens.

Chapters in the first section describe some fundamental strategies of the dynamic regulation of virulence in general, in either specific species (e.g., great chapters on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) or in response to commonly occurring signals in the infection microenvironment (e.g., iron or bacterial density—“quorum sensing”). The following three chapters are more specific and focused on particular categories of the virulence factors—adhesion-mediating organelles and surface capsular components, toxins, and protein secretion systems. With some exceptions, these chapters provide descriptions of multiple representatives of different traits in each category rather than being limited to a single example. This is very important as it provides readers with good general overviews of the virulence factors and their regulation rather than information of interest to a more narrow audience. One of the best chapters describes the mechanisms of a phase-variable switch in the expression of surface antigens in four different species of human pathogens. Another example is an excellent chapter on regulation of lipopolysaccharide modification and antimicrobial peptide resistance. The next section is devoted to virulence-related stress response in bacteria. Although the examples given are quite specific (e.g., the chapter on Salmonella response to intracellular reactive oxygen and nitrogen species or the one on envelope stress responses in mycobacteria), they are very informative and provide insight on potential stress-mediated regulation mechanisms in other bacterial pathogens. Probably the most intriguing is the last section in book, which is comprised of chapters that describe regulation mechanisms that are either recently discovered or have not been yet the focus of mainstream research. It begins with a large and very well-written chapter on what is currently known about the role of silencing RNA in regulation of virulence of several bacterial pathogens. Also well written and thought-provoking are the following chapters on downregulation of antivirulence factors during different infection stages; bacterial response to the host hormones, cytokines, and metabolites; and preparation of the waterborne pathogens (Vibrio cholerae) for exiting the host back to the environment.

Overall, the book underwent exceptional editorial work ensuring similar (and good) organizational structure of each chapter, with most having color and highly informative schematic illustrations on the corresponding topics. Thus, this volume has the excellent potential to be of use for a wide spectrum of readers interested in molecular biology and physiology of bacterial pathogens—established researchers, teaching instructors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. 

Quarterly Review of Biology

Volume 89, Number 2, Pages 183-184

Reviewer: Evgeni V. Sokurenko, Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Review Date: June 2014

Microbiology Today

22 September 2013

Given the extraordinary breadth and pace of change within the field of bacterial virulence regulation, it would seem a challenge indeed to produce a text that adequately reflects the multitude of virulence strategies and underlying regulatory mechanisms that diverse pathogens employ to colonise and engage with their particular host niche. Yet, commendably, the editors have done just that in this compendium of authoritative and expert reviews. Arranged in six main sections which broadly define temporal stages in the host–pathogen interaction, review chapters nicely blend historical context with up-to-date contemporary detail, providing the reader with a strong appreciation of both progress in a particular area and the key outstanding research questions. Reviews are accessibly written, comprehensively referenced and adequately, but not elaborately illustrated. The extent of themes covered in this book, including regulation of quorum sensing, adherence, colonisation, virulence protein production/secretion and regulatory responses to host molecules should draw attention from anyone with an interest in bacterial pathogenesis and infectious disease, from experienced researcher to student alike. Given its scope, it’s unlikely to be read from cover to cover, but will no doubt be a well-thumbed essential reference for many and a highly recommended addition to any institutional library.

Society for General Microbiology: Microbiology Today

Reviewer: Rob Delahay, University of Nottingham

Review Date: August 2013

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