Author(s): Brubaker RR
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Abstract The experimental system constructed with the medically significant yersiniae provides a powerful basic model for comparative study of factors required for expression of acute versus chronic disease. The system exploits the close genetic similarity between Yersinia pestis, the etiological agent of bubonic plague, and enteropathogenic Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Yersinia enterocolitica. Y. pestis possesses three plasmids, of which one, shared by the enteropathogenic species, mediates a number of virulence factors that directly or indirectly promote survival within macrophages and immunosuppression. The two remaining plasmids are unique and encode functions that promote acute disease by enhancing bacterial dissemination in tissues and resistance to phagocytosis by neutrophils and monocytes. These properties are replaced in the enteropathogenic yersiniae by host cell invasins and an adhesin which promote chronic disease; the latter are cryptic in Y. pestis. Additional distinctions include specific mutational losses in Y. pestis which result in loss of fitness in natural environments plus gain of properties that facilitate transmission and infection via fleabite.
This article was published in Clin Microbiol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System