Biology & Genetics of Yersinia pestis

NIAID-supported investigators sequenced the genome of the strain of Yersinia pestis that was associated with the second pandemic of plague, including the Black Death. This will provide a valuable research resource to scientists for identifying new targets for vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics for this deadly pathogen.

Current research projects include identifying genes in Y. pestis that infect the digestive tract of fleas and researching how the bacteria are transferred to humans. NIAID is also studying the disease-causing proteins and genes of Y. pestis that allow the bacteria to grow in humans and learning how they function in human lungs.

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