Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

15: Microbial Mechanisms of Pathogenicity

  • Page ID
    • 15.1: Characteristics of Infectious Diseases
      In an infection, a microorganism enters a host and begins to multiply. Some infections cause disease, which is any deviation from the normal function or structure of the host. Signs of a disease are objective and are measured. Symptoms of a disease are subjective and are reported by the patient. Diseases can either be noninfectious (due to genetics and environment) or infectious (due to pathogens).
    • 15.2: How Pathogens Cause Disease
      Koch’s postulates are used to determine whether a particular microorganism is a pathogen. Molecular Koch’s postulates are used to determine what genes contribute to a pathogen’s ability to cause disease. Virulence, the degree to which a pathogen can cause disease, can be quantified by calculating either the ID50 or LD50 of a pathogen on a given population. Primary pathogens are capable of causing pathological changes associated with disease in a healthy individual.
    • 15.3: Virulence Factors
      Virulence factors contribute to a pathogen’s ability to cause disease. Exoenzymes and toxins allow pathogens to invade host tissue and cause tissue damage. Exoenzymes are classified according to the macromolecule they target and exotoxins are classified based on their mechanism of action. Bacterial toxins include endotoxin and exotoxins. Endotoxin is the lipid A component of the LPS of the gram-negative cell envelope. Exotoxins are proteins secreted mainly by gram-positive bacteria.
    • 15.4: Aseptic Techniques
      Fungal and parasitic pathogens use pathogenic mechanisms and virulence factors that are similar to those of bacterial pathogens Fungi initiate infections through the interaction of adhesins with receptors on host cells. Some fungi produce toxins and exoenzymes involved in disease production and capsules that provide protection of phagocytosis. Protozoa adhere to target cells through complex mechanisms and can cause cellular damage through release of cytopathic substances.
    • 15.E: Microbial Mechanisms of Pathogenicity (Exercises)
      These are exercises for Chapter 15 "Microbial Mechanisms of Pathogenicity" in OpenStax's Microbiology Textmap.

    • Was this article helpful?