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Review
, 27 Suppl 2 (Suppl 2), B71-7

Biology and Pathogenesis of the Evolutionarily Successful, Obligate Human Bacterium Neisseria Meningitidis

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Review

Biology and Pathogenesis of the Evolutionarily Successful, Obligate Human Bacterium Neisseria Meningitidis

David S Stephens. Vaccine.

Abstract

For at least two hundred years, Neisseria meningitidis (the meningococcus), the cause of epidemic meningitis and sepsis, has inflicted rapid death, disability and fear on disparate human populations. The meningococcus is also recognized as a highly successful commensal organism exclusively found in humans. The evolution of N. meningitidis as an exclusive human commensal and sometimes a fulminant and fatal pathogen represents an important case study in microbial pathogenesis. We review the general status of our knowledge of pathogenesis of meningococcal carriage, transmission and virulence behavior with particular emphasis on the relevance of research on this topic to vaccine development.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
A. Adhesion and introduction of cell microvilli. B. Microcolony formation. C. Cortical plaque formation and close adherence. D. Human epithelial cell invasion.

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