FIGURE 19.12 Eluding the Immune System by Changing Surface Proteins

Invading microorganisms are killed because the host immune system recognizes the surface proteins expressed by the microorganism. To trick the immune system, the microorganism will change its surface proteins by mutating or rearranging the DNA of the respective gene. Each time the surface marker changes, a new set of immune cells must be manufactured to squelch the population of microorganisms.

surface proteins, they will not be recognized. One sophisticated way to achieve this is for the disease-causing microorganism to shuffle its surface proteins by genetic rearrangements.

Although bacteria or viruses cause most diseases of temperate climates, many tropical or subtropical diseases are due to single-celled eukaryotes. Perhaps the best-known diseases are amoebic dysentery, sleeping sickness and malaria. Sleeping sickness in Africa, and the rare Chagas' disease of South America, are both caused by trypanosomes. These microorganisms are about 20 microns long (about 20 times longer trypanosomes Group of parasitic single-celled eukaryotes that cause sleeping sickness and other tropical diseases

Variable region

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