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6 January 2014

978 1 90445 533 2
Caister Academic Press
GBP 150.00

Vibrio cholerae: Genomics and Molecular Biology

Shah M. Faruque and G. Balakrish Nair (eds)

This book reviews the most important highly topical facts of Vibrio Cholerae. Written by leading experts in the field, the book offers a broad overview of all facets of this microorganism.

The comprehensive introduction makes it especially easy for non-experts to get into the topic. It provides a condensed overview of the subjects discussed in more detail in the subsequent chapters. All the chapters are built thematically and contain very detailed, but comprehensible, information. V. cholerae can be considered an important human pathogen which caused several severe epidemics in the last century affecting a large number of people. And still, outbreaks are reported. How V. cholerae functions, proliferates and causes infections is described in detail in this book. It includes chapters on genomics and evolution, genetic diversity, population genomics, its pathogenicity and how it becomes virulent, as well as gene regulation and expression. Additionally, it provides details on the molecular basis for transmissibility and colonization, survival of the pathogen in the environment and finally, the development of antibiotic resistance.

In the last decade scientists have been able to explain remarkable facts, and provide new insights on the biology of V. cholerae. One remarkable example is the discovery of filamentous bacteriophages that can convert its host from non-pathogenic into a pathogenic strain carrying the cholera toxin. A very interesting chapter on bacteriophages discusses how seven phages account to V. cholerae’s virulence. Could this be the ultimate target for disease control?

The following chapters will leave the reader in awe of what a remarkable organism V. cholerae is. It is able to adapt to very versatile environments. Its natural habitat is aquatic, but it is just as well able to survive in human intestines. This transition is possible because of the co-ordinated activity of a set of genes and several regulatory circuits. The organism exhibits specific mechanisms comprising cell-surface-associated polysaccharides to evade the human defence system. V. choloerae’s impressive adaptability is also shown in the constant emergence of new epidemic strains. Genetic elements have been discovered that mediate horizontal gene transfer between bacterial strains. The mechanisms of colonization and the molecular ecology of V. cholerae are discussed in detail in three excellent chapters.

I found this book to be a great resource for up-to-date information on V. cholerae. I discovered many interesting facts, and was impressed by the organism’s versatility and complexity. It is definitely a book to be recommended to everyone with a general interest in V. colerae and infectious diseases, and especially for scientists working in microbiology.

(Mirja Krause, Technical University of Berlin, Germany)

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