Molecular armory or niche factors: virulence determinants of Corynebacterium species

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2015 Dec;362(23):fnv185. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnv185. Epub 2015 Oct 7.


For successful colonization of a host, pathogenic bacteria are equipped with a plethora of proteins and other components, often designated as virulence factors. However, many of these factors are involved in general adaptation to ecological niches rather than being specific for interaction of a bacterial pathogen with a distinct host. Therefore, a designation of these components as niche factors was proposed. While originally developed for different species colonizing the gastro-intestinal tract, in this communication the concept of niche factors is discussed in respect to a single genus, i.e. Corynebacterium species.

Keywords: Shiga-like toxin; cord factor; diphtheria toxin; mycolic acids; phospholipase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cord Factors / metabolism
  • Corynebacterium / classification
  • Corynebacterium / genetics
  • Corynebacterium / pathogenicity*
  • Corynebacterium / physiology
  • Diphtheria Toxin / genetics
  • Diphtheria Toxin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mycolic Acids / metabolism
  • Phospholipases / metabolism
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism*


  • Cord Factors
  • Diphtheria Toxin
  • Mycolic Acids
  • Virulence Factors
  • Phospholipases