New book looks at ecosystem of mucous membranes


WASHINGTON, DC February 16, 2005--A new book from ASM Press highlights the codependent relationship that has evolved between mammals and microbes in the mucous membranes. Colonization of Mucosal Surfaces provides an in-depth look at the complex ecosystems of mammalian mucosa and examines mechanisms adapted by microorganisms to colonize these surfaces effectively.

"Large organisms, including all mammals, store an enticing accumulation of biological energy substrates and nutrients, naturally attractive to assault by microorganisms," says Editor James P. Nataro of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "The mammalian mucosa has evolved numerous types of defenses to protect itself from microbial invaders and simultaneously to provide sustenance for an abundant commensal microflora. An understanding of the biology at these sites is critical to understanding both health and disease and to developing effective means to prevent infection."

As mammalian defenses evolve to protect against infection, pathogens are simultaneously evolving to circumvent new barriers and gain access to valuable host nutrients and energy. Colonization of Mucosal Surfaces, containing contributions by experts in the field, is a state-of-the-art presentation of the opposing evolutionary forces that ultimately determine the health of host organisms and survival of pathogenic microorganisms.

The book comprehensively covers colonization of the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, and the genitourinary tract and considers the various organisms present at these surfaces. Aspects of bacterial colonization revealed by the most recent research are also addressed, including penetration of the mucous layer, innate immune effectors and their subversion, signaling of the host cells by adherence factors, modulation of adherence, phase variation of colonization factors, and regulation of colonization effectors.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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