Molecular mechanisms leading to diversity in Neisseria meningitidis
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Neisseria meningitidis causes devastating disease around the globe. Yet, key questions concerning colonization, emergent disease and diversity remain unanswered. Only a subset of individuals colonized with N. meningitidis contracts devastating invasive disease. The factors determining the establishment and progression of disease remain largely unknown. N. meningitidis exhibits a huge genetic and phenotype diversity. Extensive research on this variation will extend fundamental knowledge needed for the development of an efficient vaccine. Crucial for handling this unpredictable pathogen in the future, are insights about how rapid phenotypic switching and allelic diversity is mediated at molecular level. The present review highlights the molecular events that drive N. meningitidis genetic diversity which potentially affects the phenotype, as well as the issues to be resolved.