Chapter 5 : The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens

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Pathogenicity islands (PAIs) have been defined as (i) large genomic regions that (ii) carry one or more virulence associated gene, (iii) have a G+C content different from that of the rest of the chromosome, (iv) are frequently associated with tRNA genes, (v) are often flanked by repeat structures, (vi) contain mobility genes such as integrase genes and transposases, and (vii) are often unstable. This chapter discusses the role of PAIs in the evolution of bacterial virulence. It focuses on features of PAIs, and other mobile genetic elements. Insertion sequence (IS) elements contribute to genome variability by several means. First, they mediate DNA rearrangements by transpositional events as well as by homologous recombination between multiple copies of the same insertion sequence (IS) element within one genome. Second, IS elements can modulate fast changes in gene activity by reversible excision and integration events into target sequences within coding regions. Finally, they are involved in the mobilization of genetic information due to association and dissociation of chromosomal DNA segments to and from natural vectors such as plasmids. Genomic island (GEIs) have been described for more than 30 microbial species, and the ongoing discussion of their properties and definition as well as their significance for microbial evolution is reflected in the chapter. GEIs represent formerly transferred or still mobile genetic entities that have evolved from horizontal gene transfer and DNA recombination events. They are important factors for bacterial evolution and will contribute to an ongoing evolution of bacterial variants, including bacterial pathogens.

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 1

General mechanisms in evolution of bacterial pathogens. Genome evolution is based on loss (indicated by shaded areas) and acquisition of genetic information. Mobile genetic elements such as plasmids, bacteriophages, and PAIs encoding virulence traits (fimbriae, secreted toxins, etc.) that are horizontally transferred by transformation, transduction, and conjugation play an important role in gene acquistion. For more details, see text.

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
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Image of FIGURE 2

Features of pathogenicity islands (PAIs). The model illustrates the main features of PAIs that are listed in the box. Island-associated genes are shown as shaded boxes and the bacterial chromosome as a line (top). G+C content of the PAI and the core genome often differ from each other (bottom). Abbreviations: , integrase gene; , virulence-associated gene; Δ, truncated mobility gene; IS, insertion sequence. Modified from reference .

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
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Properties of mobile genetic elements

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
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Pathogenicity islands (PAIs) or PAI-like structures of pathogenic enterobacteria”

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
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PAIs of other gram-negative bacteria

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
Generic image for table

PAIs of gram-positive bacteria

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5
Generic image for table

Genomic islands (GEIs) and their encoded functions

Citation: Hochhut B, Dobrindt U, Hacker J. 2006. The Contribution of Pathogenicity Islands to the Evolution of Bacterial Pathogens, p 83-107. In Seifert H, DiRita V (ed), Evolution of Microbial Pathogens. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815622.ch5

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