Buruli ulcer: reductive evolution enhances pathogenicity of Mycobacterium ulcerans

Buruli ulcer is an emerging human disease caused by infection with a slow-growing pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans, that produces mycolactone, a cytotoxin with immunomodulatory properties. The disease is associated with wetlands in certain tropical countries, and evidence for a role of insects in transmission of this pathogen is growing. Comparative genomic analysis has revealed that M. ulcerans arose from Mycobacterium marinum, a ubiquitous fast-growing aquatic species, by horizontal transfer of a virulence plasmid that carries a cluster of genes for mycolactone production, followed by reductive evolution. Here, the ecology, microbiology, evolutionary genomics and immunopathology of Buruli ulcer are reviewed.


Published in:
Nature reviews. Microbiology, 7, 1, 50-60
Year:
2008
ISSN:
1740-1534
Keywords:
Laboratories:




 Record created 2010-09-07, last modified 2018-09-13


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