Special Reviews

Intracellular Parasite Invasion Strategies

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Science  09 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5668, pp. 248-253
DOI: 10.1126/science.1094717

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Intracellular parasites use various strategies to invade cells and to subvert cellular signaling pathways and, thus, to gain a foothold against host defenses. Efficient cell entry, ability to exploit intracellular niches, and persistence make these parasites treacherous pathogens. Most intracellular parasites gain entry via host-mediated processes, but apicomplexans use a system of adhesion-based motility called “gliding” to actively penetrate host cells. Actin polymerization–dependent motility facilitates parasite migration across cellular barriers, enables dissemination within tissues, and powers invasion of host cells. Efficient invasion has brought widespread success to this group, which includes Toxoplasma, Plasmodium, and Cryptosporidium.

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