Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Two-Tiered Evolution of Neiserria meningitis: How Within-Host Ecology and Between-Host Epidemiology Expedite Phase Shifting

Contents:

Author Info

  • Lauren W. Ancel
  • Bruce R. Levin
  • Anthony R. Richardson
  • Igor Stojiljkovic
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Many so-called pathogenic bacteria make their living as commensals or even symbionts of the hosts that they colonize. Bacteria such as Neiserria Meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus (1), Streptococcus pneumoneae, Helicobacter pylori, and Echerichia coli are far more likely to colonize and maintain their populations in healthy individuals, asymptomatically, than to cause disease. Moreover, the members of these otherwise benign or beneficial species that are actually responsible for diseases like meningitis and sepsis, are not transmitted to new hosts and are therefore at an ecological and evolutionary dead-end. This implies that the virulence factors responsible for the pathogenicity of these bacteria must evolve in response to selection pressures other than those for causing disease. What are these pressures? Here we consider Neisseria meningitidis - a common member of the commensal flora of the nasal pharyngeal passages of humans that is also responsible for sporadic and epidemic meningitis. We focus on the evolution of phase shifting - a mutational process that turns genes on and off and, in particular, genes that code for virulence determinants such as pili, lipopolysaccharide, capsular polysaccharide, and outer membrane proteins. Using mathematical models, we offer two testable hypotheses: First, within a single human host, fast phase shifting leads to virulence. And second, although virulence may be disadvantageous within the framework of a single host, fast phase shifting may evolve in response to selection operating at a multi-host epidemiological level. We discuss avenues for empirically testing these hypotheses and the implications of this work for the evolution of virulence in general.

    Download Info

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Working Papers with number 01-12-079.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: Dec 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-12-079

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
    Web page: http://www.santafe.edu/sfi/publications/working-papers.html
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Evolution; epidemiology; mutation rate; phase shifting; virulence; Neisseria meningitis;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:safiwp:01-12-079. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.