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Cover Medical Microbiology

Bacterial pathogenesis  

Lynn G. Dover

This chapter focuses on bacterial pathogenesis. Most of the bacteria that colonize our bodies do so without causing us any harm. However, some bacteria are inherently more damaging than others. Their degree of pathogenicity is described in the term ‘virulence’, which can be quantified by establishing experimental metrics such as median lethal dose and median time to death. Virulence and pathogenicity are dependent upon the composition of the bacterial genome; pathogen genomes encode many virulence factors which operate in a concerted fashion to express pathogenicity. The chapter then describes the characteristics of pathogenic bacteria that allow them to adhere to epithelial surfaces (adhesins), evade the immune system (evasins and impedins), invade tissues (invasins), and damage underlying tissues (toxins). It looks at toxinogenesis and considers pan-genomes, mobile genetic elements, and the acquisition virulence factors.


Cover Medical Microbiology

Whole genome sequencing in microbiology  

This chapter addresses how genomics is now one of the most rapidly developing areas in microbiology, mainly due to the rapid progression of whole genome sequencing (WGS) techniques such as Sanger sequencing. As the cost per test has decreased, the more useful WGS has become as a routine diagnostic tool across diagnostic microbiology. These uses include epidemiology, detection of virulence markers, detection of drug resistance, and in vaccine development. In the early 2000s, DNA sequencing changed rapidly with the introduction of ‘non-Sanger’ technologies — so-called next generation sequencing (NGS). As rapid developments in sequencing technologies are occurring every year, they will rapidly change microbiology and enhance its ability to better diagnose and monitor causes of infectious disease throughout the world.


Cover Medical Microbiology
Medical Microbiology covers a range of key laboratory techniques used in the diagnosis of human diseases caused by microorganisms, with case studies throughout to highlight the clinical relevance of the techniques being described. The text is written from the point of view of a laboratory biomedical scientist. Topics include whole genome sequencing; MALDI-TOF, air sampling, and food microbiology; congenital infections, syphilis, human papillomavirus infection, and sample processing; the detection of antimicrobial resistance by molecular methods; and progressive cognitive disease, high-level resistance, and faecal transplantation.


Cover Infection and Immunity

Disease: virulence and susceptibility  

This chapter addresses elements in the pathogen that predispose to disease. These are collectively known as virulence factors. The chapter begins by displaying the two main categories of virulence factors: pathogen mechanisms directly or indirectly causing host damage, and pathogen mechanisms aimed at escaping host protective mechanisms, including immunity. The chapter also studies the host gene expression, genome sequencing, and deep sequencing. It then shifts to examine how genetic differences on the host side contribute to the occurrence and severity of the disease. Next, the chapter looks at the two situations in which disease is caused directly by the pathogen: pathogens that destroy cells (cytopathic), predominantly viruses, and pathogens that release toxins, predominantly bacteria. It then reviews some common complications of intestinal infection such as diarrhoea and vomiting.