Molecular Basis of Bacterial InfectionVirulence factors of pathogenic bacteria and how they work

Published October 2009 Updated August 2011 25 lectures
Prof. B. Brett Finlay
University of British Columbia, Canada

Bacterial infections continue to be a major source of morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is also increasing resistance to antibiotics, and emerging new pathogens continue to arise. However, over the past decade there has been a very significant increase in our understanding of how bacterial pathogens infect their hosts, including... read moredefining many of the virulence factors. Many of these factors affect host cellular pathways, providing new information about host cell biology as well as pathogenesis.

An increased understanding of how the host responds to infections has further enhanced our comprehension of infectious diseases, as innate and acquired immune responses are closely associated with bacterial infections. In addition to the bacterial pathogen and host, recent work has indicated that the microbiota (normal flora) can play a key role in many infections. Enhanced knowledge about the molecular basis of pathogenesis has led to several new preventative and therapeutic approaches that are now being applied to microbial pathogens as alternatives to antibiotics.

The main emphasis of this series is on major bacterial pathogens of medical importance and interest. The understanding of the molecular mechanisms, and how these may be exploited to control bacterial infections, are important concepts in controlling and curtailing many important human pathogens.