Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

During colonization and disease, bacterial pathogens must survive the onslaught of the host immune system. A key component of the innate immune response is the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species by phagocytic cells, which target and disrupt pathogen molecules, particularly DNA, and the base excision repair (BER) pathway is the most important mechanism for the repair of such oxidative DNA damage. In this Review, we discuss how the human-specific pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Helicobacter pylori and Neisseria meningitidis have evolved specialized mechanisms of DNA repair, particularly their BER pathways, compared with model organisms such as Escherichia coli. This specialization in DNA repair is likely to reflect the distinct niches occupied by these important human pathogens in the host.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Rev Microbiol

Publication Date





83 - 94


Bacteria, Bacterial Infections, DNA Damage, DNA Repair, DNA, Bacterial, Humans, Immunity, Innate