[Slow growth rate of mycobacteria. Possible reasons and significance for their pathogenicity]

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2005 Dec;48(12):1390-9. doi: 10.1007/s00103-005-1171-x.
[Article in German]


A characteristic feature of mycobacteria is their slow growth rate, which in addition strongly varies in different species of the genus. All highly pathogenic species such as M. tuberculosis and M. leprae causing tuberculosis and leprosy, respectively, belong to the slow growing mycobacteria, while the apathogenic and opportunistic species are members of the fast growing mycobacteria. This suggests that the question be posed whether there is causality between mycobacterial growth rate and virulence. We discuss possible reasons for the slow and variable growth rates of mycobacteria and the current state of knowledge concerning the significance of slow growth for mycobacterial pathogenicity.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium / growth & development*
  • Mycobacterium / pathogenicity*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology