Specific Features of the Legionella Genomes

The information gleaned from the genome sequence provided new and valuable insight into the biology of L. pneumophila and highlighted the adaptation of this pathogen to intracellular life. One ofthe most striking features is the exceptionally large number of eukaryotic-like proteins and proteins encoding domains preferentially found in eukaryotic proteins, suggesting that L. pneumophila has the ability to exploit and modulate host cell functions in various ways. In order to act in the eukaryotic cell, these proteins need to be secreted. This could be achieved by various secretion systems, a particularly high number and wide variety of which are present in L. pneumophila - possibly another characteristic of this species. Another important feature identified through genome comparisons ofthe three sequenced strains is the marked plasticity and high genetic diversity, which may enhance versatility of L. pneumophila.

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