Pathogenomics of mobile genetic elements of toxigenic bacteria

Jörg Hacker, Bianca Hochhut, Barbara Middendorf, György Schneider, Carmen Buchrieser, Gerhard Gottschalk, Ulrich Dobrindt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)


The growing knowledge of genetic diversity and whole genome organization in bacteria shows that pathogenicity islands (PAIs) represent a subtype of a more general genetic element, termed genomic island (GEI), which is widespread among pathogenic and nonpathogenic microbes. These findings mirror the importance of horizontal gene transfer, genome reduction and recombination events as fundamental mechanisms involved in evolution of bacterial variants. GEIs are part of the flexible gene pool and carry selfish genes, but also determinants which may be beneficial under certain conditions thus increasing bacterial fitness and consequently their survival or transmission. In this review, we focus on the role of mobile genetic elements that may also contain toxin-encoding genes for genome variability and evolution of bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004



  • Genomic islands
  • Pathogenicity islands
  • Pathogenomics
  • Toxigenic bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

Hacker, J., Hochhut, B., Middendorf, B., Schneider, G., Buchrieser, C., Gottschalk, G., & Dobrindt, U. (2004). Pathogenomics of mobile genetic elements of toxigenic bacteria. International Journal of Medical Microbiology, 293(7-8), 453-461.