Cronobacter spp.—Opportunistic Foodborne Pathogens: an Update on Evolution, Osmotic Adaptation and Pathogenesis
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Purpose of Review
Cronobacter spp. are opportunistic, foodborne pathogens capable of causing severe illnesses predominantly in premature and low-birth-weight infants. These organisms have evolved features, which aid them to survive under harsh environmental conditions but may also contribute to pathogenesis during infection. In this review, we highlight efforts to study genetic diversity and evolutionary aspects, osmotic adaptation and pathogenesis of these pathogens.
Next-generation genome sequencing-based techniques elucidated a species-level bidirectional divergence driven by niche adaptation in Cronobacter spp. Whole genome comparisons and proteomics revealed genes and pathways contributing to the survival and persistence phenotype in low-moisture environments. In silico genome comparisons and application of suitable in vivo models provided answers to pathogenesis-related questions.
Development and application of innovative molecular techniques and in vivo infection models have shed light on how Cronobacter spp. adapt to challenges experienced in natural, food processing and host-related environments.
KeywordsCronobacter spp. Evolution Osmotic adaptation Pathogenesis
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Lehner reports grants from Swiss National Science Foundation, during the conduct of the study.
Ben Davis Tall, Seamus Fanning and Shabarinath Srikumar declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards and international/national/institutional guidelines).
Recently published papers of particular interest have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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