Invasion Strategy

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Science  25 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5632, pp. 439
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5632.439b

Bacillary dysentery occurs when the bacterium Shigella flexneri invades the cells lining the colon. The bacteria divide within the host cells and go on to invade neighboring cells. Contact with host cells activates the type III secretion of Shigella proteins, which insert into the host cell membrane and enable the cytosolic access of bacterial effectors that reorganize the host cell cytoskeleton, which, in turn, promotes successful invasion and further bacterial dissemination. Tran Van Nhieu et al. examined the role of the gap junction protein connexin in the processes of invasion and dissemination by Shigella. Cells lacking connexins were refractory to bacterial dissemination; in cells possessing connexin 26, transient peaks of intracellular calcium were induced during invasion. These peaks depended on the invading bacteria expressing a functional type III secretion system. The effectors then induced the opening of connexin 26 hemichannels, causing the release of ATP into the medium, stimulating further bacterial invasion. — SMH

Nature Cell Biol. 10.1038/ncb1021 (2003).

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