Have archaeal genes contributed to bacterial virulence?

Uri Gophna*, Robert L. Charlebois, W. Ford Doolittle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although archaea have not been described as pathogens, it has recently been suggested that genes transferred from archaea might specifically contribute to bacterial virulence. Here, we survey 73 genomes of bacterial pathogens for the presence of genes originating from archaea. We describe 43 cases in which acquisition of archaeal genes by bacterial pathogens can be demonstrated. Although no bona fide virulence factors are among these acquired genes, several of them probably affect pathogen-host interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-219
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


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