Genetic variation in pathogenic bacteria

Trends Genet. 1992 Dec;8(12):422-7. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(92)90325-x.


In contrast to textbook ideas of pure cultures and defined strains, genetic variation is a fact of life in the microbial world. It not only allows pathogens to establish themselves in their chosen host, but also allows them to resist that host's subsequent attempts to evict them. Here we review some of the mechanisms that bring about this variation, and some of the functional consequences that result from it.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Bacterial Adhesion / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial
  • Gene Conversion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Virulence


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides