Diversity-generating machines: genetics of bacterial sugar-coating

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Title: Diversity-generating machines: genetics of bacterial sugar-coating
Authors: Mostowy, RJ
Holt, KE
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Bacterial pathogens and commensals are surrounded by diverse surface polysaccharides which include capsules and lipopolysaccharides. These carbohydrates play a vital role in bacterial ecology and interactions with the environment. Here, we review recent rapid advancements in this field, which have improved our understanding of the roles, structures, and genetics of bacterial polysaccharide antigens. Genetic loci encoding the biosynthesis of these antigens may have evolved as bacterial diversity-generating machines, driven by selection from a variety of forces, including host immunity, bacteriophages, and cell-cell interactions. We argue that the high adaptive potential of polysaccharide antigens should be taken into account in the design of polysaccharide-targeting medical interventions like conjugate vaccines and phage-based therapies.
Issue Date: 20-Jul-2018
Date of Acceptance: 22-Jun-2018
ISSN: 0966-842X
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal / Book Title: Trends in Microbiology
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC-BY license (
Keywords: ecology
phage therapy
0605 Microbiology
1108 Medical Microbiology
Publication Status: Published online
Conference Place: England
Online Publication Date: 2018-07-20
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine
Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care

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