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Exploitation of Mammalian Host Cell Functions by Bacterial Pathogens

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Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 718-725
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.718

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Interest in bacterial pathogenesis has recently increased because of antibiotic resistance, the emergence of new pathogens and the resurgence of old ones, and the lack of effective therapeutics. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis are currently being defined, with precise knowledge of both the common strategies used by multiple pathogenic bacteria and the unique tactics evolved by individual species to help establish infection. What is emerging is a new appreciation of how bacterial pathogens interact with host cells. Many host cell functions, including signal transduction pathways, cytoskeletal rearrangements, and vacuolar trafficking, are exploited, and these are the focus of this review. A bonus of this work is that bacterial virulence factors are providing new tools to study various aspects of mammalian cell functions, in addition to mechanisms of bacterial disease. Together these developments may lead to new therapeutic strategies.

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