Spirochaetes as Intestinal Pathogens

GLOBAL - David J. Hampson (Murdoch University, Australia) and Niyaz Ahmed (University of Hyderabad, India) have published a paper in Gut Pathogens that helps understanding of how the Brachyspira pathogen adapts to its many environments. The bacteria are well-known pathogens in pigs but also affect poultry and humans.
calendar icon 8 May 2009
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Anaerobic spirochaetes of the genus Brachyspira have long been known as important gut pathogens of pigs, but increasingly they are recognised as causing disease in birds and other animal species, including human beings, according to the paper's authors, Hampson and Ahmed.

The genome sequence of the major swine pathogen, Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, was recently published, and this revealed extensive genome optimisation that leads to adaptation to the complex environment of the colon. The genome sequences of other pathogenic and non-pathogenic Brachyspira species are becoming available, and this data will help to reveal how these species have evolved and adapted to varied lifestyles in the large intestines of different species, and why some but not others can induce colitis and diarrhoea.


Hampson D.J. and N. Ahmed. 2009. Spirochaetes as intestinal pathogens: Lessons from a Brachyspira genome. Gut Pathogens 2009, 1:10doi:10.1186/1757-4749-1-10.

Further Reading

- You can view a provisional PDF version of the full report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on spirochaetosis by clicking here.
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