Article

Buruli ulcer: reductive evolution enhances pathogenicity of Mycobacterium ulcerans.

Institut Pasteur, UP Pathogénomique Mycobactérienne Intégrée, Paris, France.
Nature Reviews Microbiology (Impact Factor: 23.32). 02/2009; 7(1):50-60. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro2077
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Buruli ulcer is an emerging human disease caused by infection with a slow-growing pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans, that produces mycolactone, a cytotoxin with immunomodulatory properties. The disease is associated with wetlands in certain tropical countries, and evidence for a role of insects in transmission of this pathogen is growing. Comparative genomic analysis has revealed that M. ulcerans arose from Mycobacterium marinum, a ubiquitous fast-growing aquatic species, by horizontal transfer of a virulence plasmid that carries a cluster of genes for mycolactone production, followed by reductive evolution. Here, the ecology, microbiology, evolutionary genomics and immunopathology of Buruli ulcer are reviewed.

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