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Metabolism and Bacterial Pathogenesis

Editors: Tyrrell Conway1, Paul S. Cohen2
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Affiliations: 1: Oklahoma State University; 2: University of Rhode Island
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Hardcover
Publication Year: 2015

Category: Bacterial Pathogenesis

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For too long, bacterial metabolism and bacterial pathogenesis have been studied as separate entities. However, the scientific community is beginning to realize that not only are bacterial nutrient acquisition and utilization essential for pathogenesis, but that interfering with the pathogen-specific metabolic pathways used during infection can regulate virulence factor expression and might lead to effective breakthroughs in a variety of treatments.

Editors Paul Cohen and Tyrrell Conway, who pioneered the use of metabolic mutants in competitive colonization assays, an approach now widely used to investigate the nutrition of pathogens in vivo, are uniquely qualified to advance our knowledge of this integrative field of research. They convened a group of contributors who are breaking new ground in understanding how bacterial metabolism is foundational to pathogenesis to share their expert perspectives and outlook for the future.

Beginning with overviews, covers
  • a wide range of diseases and both Gram-positive and -negative bacteria that serve as model systems for in vitro and in vivo investigations
  • intracellular, respiratory, and enteric pathogens
  • pathogen-specific nutrient acquisition in hosts
  • mechanisms of host-driven metabolic adaptation by pathogens
  • metabolic regulation of virulence gene expression

Useful for specialists in bacterial pathogenesis and specialists in metabolism as well as molecular biologists, physicians, veterinarians, dentists, graduate and undergraduate students, and laboratory technicians, is also essential reading for scientists studying the microbiome.

“Within these pages, leading experts in the field summarize research on a timely topic that connects research on the pathogenesis of infectious diseases to bacterial physiology. is great addition for bacteriologists from both medical schools and colleges of biological sciences.”

—Andreas Bäumler, Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis School of Medicine

recently retired from his professorship in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Rhode Island. During most of his career, Dr. Cohen conducted research on various strains of E. coli, and is currently involved in studies related to E. coli colonization in the large intestines of mice. He is coeditor of Colonization of Mucosal Surfaces (ASM Press).

is Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Oklahoma State University. Among his several scientific discoveries, Dr. Conway is the co-inventor of U.S. Patent number 5,000,000 for genetically engineering E. coli to make biofuels, and he published the first DNA microarray paper on E. coli.

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The Quarterly Review of Biology

02 November 2016

One of the issues with being in a postgenomic
world is that the puzzles are now more intricate.
We can no longer be satisfied with understanding
what single genes may do as we are holding entire
decrypted genomes in our hands. The same is true
for function, or phenotype, or even behavior. In
order to help begin unraveling one such convoluted
puzzle, Tyrrell Conway and Paul Cohen have
put together in their new book a very capable collection
of chapters helping us to understand how
metabolism interacts with pathogenesis in bacteria.
This volume is a welcome marker of our time,
laying groundwork for potential future directions
in dissecting pathogenesis and disease.


Metabolism and Bacterial Pathogenesis begins with
chapters devoted to providing a review of metabolic
pathways and pathogenesis itself. From there,
readers are treated to a series of chapters that discuss
metabolism and pathogenesis in a series of
well-known pathogenic organisms, including Borrelia
burgdorferi, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa

and, on a more general level, gram-positive
as well as gram-negative bacteria. There is even an
entire chapter devoted to oral pathogens and their
metabolic needs. In truth, just about anyone with a
more than casual interest in microbiology should
be able to find a chapter-length treatment of their
pathogen of interest with regard to the topics mentioned
in the book’s title. There should be almost
no one who would not both learn something new
and interesting in any given chapter, all of which
were written by highly regarded researchers. The
audience that is most accurately targeted would
be a graduate-level course on pathogens. I can see
a good number of these chapters becoming standard
reading for many such courses.

That being said, there are a few issues with the
book. First, and perhaps most strikingly, there is
no chapter devoted to metabolomics. Surely, in a
publication designed to help understand the connections
between pathogenesis and metabolism, a
chapter devoted to the –omics study of metabolism
is warranted. Unfortunately, Conway and Cohen
provide no explanation as to why they chose not
to include one. This is, however, the only misstep
attributable to the editors, with the remainder all
squarely resting with the usually more than capable
publisher, ASM Press. In fact, there are a number
of publisher-based issues, none of which are catastrophic, but all that certainly should not appear in
final print. These include misspelled chapter author
names or incorrect order of author’s names
in chapter page headers. There are figures that are
far too small to read without magnification or, in
other cases, figures that are oversized. Additionally,
there is an odd mix of color and black-andwhite
figures, sometimes even on adjoining pages.
And perhaps most peevish: poor copyediting evidenced
by numerous misspelled words and improper
punctuation. In recommending Metabolism
and Bacterial Pathogenesis
, the suggestion is to focus
on the content and not be overly concerned with
the lower-than-expected fit and finish of the book
itself. The content is worth the extra effort.

Volume 91, Number 2

Fabrizio Spagnolo, Applied Biomathematics Inc.,
Setauket, New York

June 2016

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