Chapter

Tuberculosis

Volume 215 of the series Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology pp 131-156

Virulence Determinants of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

  • F. D. QuinnAffiliated withDivision of AIDS, STD, and TB Laboratory Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , G. W. NewmanAffiliated withDivision of AIDS, STD, and TB Laboratory Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , C. H. KingAffiliated withDivision of AIDS, STD, and TB Laboratory Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Abstract

Microbial pathogenicity has been defined as “the biochemical mechanisms whereby microorganisms cause disease” (Smith 1968); however, the actual process is much more dramatic. The interaction between host and pathogen during disease is a dynamic confrontation where the microbe’s strategies for survival meet face to face with the formidable defenses of the immune system. The tactics employed by both participants provide fascinating topics for researchers of many disciplines. Advances, fueled largely by the application of molecular biology, have been made in the biochemistry, immunology, and cell biology of the host-parasite interaction. Among the many new insights is the recognition that bacterial pathogens have evolved sophisticated signal transduction systems controlling the coordinate expression of virulence determinants.