Phase and antigenic variation in bacteria

Marjan W. Van Der Woude, Andreas J Baumler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

418 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phase and antigenic variation result in a heterogenic phenotype of a clonal bacterial population, in which individual cells either express the phase-variable protein(s) or not, or express one of multiple antigenic forms of the protein, respectively. This form of regulation has been identified mainly, but by no means exclusively, for a wide variety of surface structures in animal pathogens and is implicated as a virulence strategy. This review provides an overview of the many bacterial proteins and structures that are under the control of phase or antigenic variation. The context is mainly within the role of the proteins and variation for pathogenesis, which reflects the main body of literature. The occurrence of phase variation in expression of genes not readily recognizable as virulence factors is highlighted as well, to illustrate that our current knowledge is incomplete. From recent genome sequence analysis, it has become clear that phase variation may be more widespread than is currently recognized, and a brief discussion is included to show how genome sequence analysis can provide novel information, as well as its limitations. The current state of knowledge of the molecular mechanisms leading to phase variation and antigenic variation are reviewed, and the way in which these mechanisms form part of the general regulatory network of the cell is addressed. Arguments both for and against a role of phase and antigenic variation in immune evasion are presented and put into new perspective by distinguishing between a role in bacterial persistence in a host and a role in facilitating evasion of cross-immunity. Finally, examples are presented to illustrate that phase-variable gene expression should be taken into account in the development of diagnostic assays and in the interpretation of experimental results and epidemiological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-611
Number of pages31
JournalClinical Microbiology Reviews
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Antigenic Variation
Bacteria
Sequence Analysis
Genome
Animal Structures
Immune Evasion
Bacterial Structures
Gene Expression
Proteins
Bacterial Proteins
Virulence Factors
Virulence
Epidemiologic Studies
Immunity
Phenotype
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

Cite this

Phase and antigenic variation in bacteria. / Van Der Woude, Marjan W.; Baumler, Andreas J.

In: Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Vol. 17, No. 3, 07.2004, p. 581-611.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Van Der Woude, Marjan W. ; Baumler, Andreas J. / Phase and antigenic variation in bacteria. In: Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2004 ; Vol. 17, No. 3. pp. 581-611.
@article{220107dac68849b1b44b5e6b0f9d69e1,
title = "Phase and antigenic variation in bacteria",
abstract = "Phase and antigenic variation result in a heterogenic phenotype of a clonal bacterial population, in which individual cells either express the phase-variable protein(s) or not, or express one of multiple antigenic forms of the protein, respectively. This form of regulation has been identified mainly, but by no means exclusively, for a wide variety of surface structures in animal pathogens and is implicated as a virulence strategy. This review provides an overview of the many bacterial proteins and structures that are under the control of phase or antigenic variation. The context is mainly within the role of the proteins and variation for pathogenesis, which reflects the main body of literature. The occurrence of phase variation in expression of genes not readily recognizable as virulence factors is highlighted as well, to illustrate that our current knowledge is incomplete. From recent genome sequence analysis, it has become clear that phase variation may be more widespread than is currently recognized, and a brief discussion is included to show how genome sequence analysis can provide novel information, as well as its limitations. The current state of knowledge of the molecular mechanisms leading to phase variation and antigenic variation are reviewed, and the way in which these mechanisms form part of the general regulatory network of the cell is addressed. Arguments both for and against a role of phase and antigenic variation in immune evasion are presented and put into new perspective by distinguishing between a role in bacterial persistence in a host and a role in facilitating evasion of cross-immunity. Finally, examples are presented to illustrate that phase-variable gene expression should be taken into account in the development of diagnostic assays and in the interpretation of experimental results and epidemiological studies.",
author = "{Van Der Woude}, {Marjan W.} and Baumler, {Andreas J}",
year = "2004",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1128/CMR.17.3.581-611.2004",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "17",
pages = "581--611",
journal = "Clinical Microbiology Reviews",
issn = "0893-8512",
publisher = "American Society for Microbiology",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Phase and antigenic variation in bacteria

AU - Van Der Woude, Marjan W.

AU - Baumler, Andreas J

PY - 2004/7

Y1 - 2004/7

N2 - Phase and antigenic variation result in a heterogenic phenotype of a clonal bacterial population, in which individual cells either express the phase-variable protein(s) or not, or express one of multiple antigenic forms of the protein, respectively. This form of regulation has been identified mainly, but by no means exclusively, for a wide variety of surface structures in animal pathogens and is implicated as a virulence strategy. This review provides an overview of the many bacterial proteins and structures that are under the control of phase or antigenic variation. The context is mainly within the role of the proteins and variation for pathogenesis, which reflects the main body of literature. The occurrence of phase variation in expression of genes not readily recognizable as virulence factors is highlighted as well, to illustrate that our current knowledge is incomplete. From recent genome sequence analysis, it has become clear that phase variation may be more widespread than is currently recognized, and a brief discussion is included to show how genome sequence analysis can provide novel information, as well as its limitations. The current state of knowledge of the molecular mechanisms leading to phase variation and antigenic variation are reviewed, and the way in which these mechanisms form part of the general regulatory network of the cell is addressed. Arguments both for and against a role of phase and antigenic variation in immune evasion are presented and put into new perspective by distinguishing between a role in bacterial persistence in a host and a role in facilitating evasion of cross-immunity. Finally, examples are presented to illustrate that phase-variable gene expression should be taken into account in the development of diagnostic assays and in the interpretation of experimental results and epidemiological studies.

AB - Phase and antigenic variation result in a heterogenic phenotype of a clonal bacterial population, in which individual cells either express the phase-variable protein(s) or not, or express one of multiple antigenic forms of the protein, respectively. This form of regulation has been identified mainly, but by no means exclusively, for a wide variety of surface structures in animal pathogens and is implicated as a virulence strategy. This review provides an overview of the many bacterial proteins and structures that are under the control of phase or antigenic variation. The context is mainly within the role of the proteins and variation for pathogenesis, which reflects the main body of literature. The occurrence of phase variation in expression of genes not readily recognizable as virulence factors is highlighted as well, to illustrate that our current knowledge is incomplete. From recent genome sequence analysis, it has become clear that phase variation may be more widespread than is currently recognized, and a brief discussion is included to show how genome sequence analysis can provide novel information, as well as its limitations. The current state of knowledge of the molecular mechanisms leading to phase variation and antigenic variation are reviewed, and the way in which these mechanisms form part of the general regulatory network of the cell is addressed. Arguments both for and against a role of phase and antigenic variation in immune evasion are presented and put into new perspective by distinguishing between a role in bacterial persistence in a host and a role in facilitating evasion of cross-immunity. Finally, examples are presented to illustrate that phase-variable gene expression should be taken into account in the development of diagnostic assays and in the interpretation of experimental results and epidemiological studies.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=3242757523&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=3242757523&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1128/CMR.17.3.581-611.2004

DO - 10.1128/CMR.17.3.581-611.2004

M3 - Article

C2 - 15258095

AN - SCOPUS:3242757523

VL - 17

SP - 581

EP - 611

JO - Clinical Microbiology Reviews

JF - Clinical Microbiology Reviews

SN - 0893-8512

IS - 3

ER -