Antigenic variation in bacterial pathogens

Guy H. Palmer*, Troy Bankhead, H. Steven Seifert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Antigenic variation is a strategy used by a broad diversity of microbial pathogens to persist within the mammalian host. Whereas viruses make use of a minimal proofreading capacity combined with large amounts of progeny to use random mutation for variant generation, antigenically variant bacteria have evolved mechanisms which use a stable genome, which aids in protecting the fitness of the progeny. Here, three well-characterized and highly antigenically variant bacterial pathogens are discussed: Anaplasma, Borrelia, and Neisseria. These three pathogens display a variety of mechanisms used to create the structural and antigenic variation needed for immune escape and long-term persistence. Intrahost antigenic variation is the focus; however, the role of these immune escape mechanisms at the population level is also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberVMBF-0005-2015
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases

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