Chapter 22 : Phase Variation of Streptococcus pneumoniae

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undergoes spontaneous, reversible phenotypic variation, or phase variation, which is readily visualized as differences in colony morphology. This chapter describes phase variation in , the pneumococcus, and characterizes its relationship to colonization and the pathogenesis of infection. In particular, the focus is on the identification of variably expressed cell surface components as a means of gaining insight into the pathogenesis of pneumococcal disease at a molecular level. is highly proficient at colonization of its human host. The pneumococcus has the capacity to thrive in a number of diverse host environments, including the bloodstream and the mucosal surface of the nasopharynx. As is the case for other respiratory tract pathogens that frequently cause invasive infection, the ability of the pneumococcus to adapt to these varied environments requires changes in the expression of specific cell surface molecules.

Citation: Weiser J. 2006. Phase Variation of Streptococcus pneumoniae, p 268-274. In Fischetti V, Novick R, Ferretti J, Portnoy D, Rood J (ed), Gram-Positive Pathogens, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816513.ch22
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Image of FIGURE 1

Colonies of a type 18C clinical isolate of showing phenotypic variation between opaque (solid arrow) and transparent (open arrow) colony forms when viewed with oblique, transmitted illumination on a transparent surface. Magnification, ×240.

Citation: Weiser J. 2006. Phase Variation of Streptococcus pneumoniae, p 268-274. In Fischetti V, Novick R, Ferretti J, Portnoy D, Rood J (ed), Gram-Positive Pathogens, Second Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816513.ch22
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