Virulence Factors - Biotech, Pharma and Life Science Channel

11:59 EST 22nd December 2014 | BioPortfolio

Virulence factors are molecules expressed and secreted by pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa) that enable them to achieve the following:

* colonization of a niche in the host (this includes adhesion to cells)
* Immunoevasion, evasion of the host's immune response
* Immunosuppression, inhibition of the host's immune response
* entry into and exit out of cells (if the pathogen is an intracellular one)
* obtain nutrition from the host.

Virulence factors are very often responsible for causing disease in the host as they inhibit certain host functions.

Adherence Factors: Many pathogenic bacteria colonize mucosal sites by using pili (fimbriae) to adhere to cells.

Invasion Factors: Surface components that allow the bacterium to invade host cells can be encoded on plasmids, but more often are on the chromosome.

Capsules: Many bacteria are surrounded by capsules that protect them from opsonization and phagocytosis.

Endotoxins: The lipopolysaccharide endotoxins on Gram-negative bacteria cause fever, changes in blood pressure, inflammation, lethal shock, and many other toxic events.

Exotoxins: Exotoxins include several types of protein toxins and enzymes produced and/or secreted from pathogenic bacteria. Major categories include cytotoxins, neurotoxins, and enterotoxins.

Siderophores: Siderophores are iron-binding factors that allow some bacteria to compete with the host for iron, which is bound to hemoglobin, transferrin, and lactoferrin.

Source; NCBI

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The degree of pathogenicity within a group or species of microorganisms or viruses as indicated by case fatality rates and/or the ability of the organism to invade the tissues of the host. The pathogenic capacity of an organism is determined by its VIRULENCE FACTORS.

One of the virulence factors produced by BORDETELLA PERTUSSIS. It is a multimeric protein composed of five subunits S1 - S5. S1 contains mono ADPribose transferase activity.

One of the virulence factors produced by virulent BORDETELLA organisms. It is a bifunctional protein with both ADENYLATE CYCLASE and hemolysin components.

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Those components of an organism that determine its capacity to cause disease but are not required for its viability per se. Two classes have been characterized: TOXINS, BIOLOGICAL and surface adhesion molecules that effect the ability of the microorganism to invade and colonize a host. (From Davis et al., Microbiology, 4th ed. p486)

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