"Virulence Factors" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus,
MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure,
which enables searching at various levels of specificity.
Those components of an organism that determine its capacity to cause disease but are not required for its viability per se. Two classes have been characterized: TOXINS, BIOLOGICAL and surface adhesion molecules that effect the ability of the microorganism to invade and colonize a host. (From Davis et al., Microbiology, 4th ed. p486)
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