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Adhesion properties of toxigenic corynebacteria

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Professur für Mikrobiologie, Staudtstr. 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany

Special Issue: Bacterial adherence: much more than a bond

Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis and Corynebacterium ulcerans share one distinctive feature: they are all putative carriers of the diphtheria toxin (DT), encoded by a β-corynephage integrated into the genome. Due to its medical relevance, C. diphtheriae may be the most highly investigated species of the genus Corynebacterium. Nevertheless, systemic infections caused by C. ulcerans are increasingly being reported indicating that this species is an emerging pathogen today. C. diphtheriae, C. pseudotuberculosis and C. ulcerans are able to colonize different types of epithelial cells in a strain-specific manner, independent of the presence of the tox gene. However, the molecular mechanisms contributing to host colonization are barely understood. This review gives a comprehensive update of recent data concerning the adhesion properties of toxigenic corynebacteria, demonstrating that adhesion is a multi-factorial process.
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