Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a Gram-positive bacterium, which belongs to the species of streptococci. Other pathogenic bacteria belonging to this class include Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus suis, Streptococcus uberis, Streptococcus bovis and Streptococcus mutans. In addition, the pneumococcus is closely related to Lactococcus lactis, a non-pathogenic bacterium used for the production of dairy products. S. pneumoniae, formerly known as Diplococcus pneumoniae, was described for the first time in 1881, simultaneously by Louis Pasteur and George Sternberg. Since then, it has been under extensive study, and this research has significantly contributed to many fields in biology. The most well known example consists of the pioneering experiments of Griffith, who showed that non-virulent pneumococcal types could be transformed into virulent types using heat-killed virulent types (15), suggesting that transfer of hereditary features had occurred. This seminal observation was the basis that led to the discovery of DNA as the hereditary material.

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Sophia Foundation for Medical Research, Rotterdam, EMC Rotterdam
P.W.M. Hermans (Peter) , R. de Groot (Ronald)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hendriksen, W. (2010, May 25). Gene Regulation in Streptococcus pneumoniae: interplay between nutrition and virulence. Retrieved from