Salmonella interactions with host cells: type III secretion at work

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2001;17:53-86. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.17.1.53.


The bacterial pathogen Salmonella enterica has evolved a very sophisticated functional interface with its vertebrate hosts. At the center of this interface is a specialized organelle, the type III secretion system, that directs the translocation of bacterial proteins into the host cell. Salmonella spp. encode two such systems that deliver a remarkable array of bacterial proteins capable of modulating a variety of cellular functions, including actin cytoskeleton dynamics, nuclear responses, and endocytic trafficking. Many of these bacterial proteins operate by faithful mimicry of host proteins, in some cases representing the result of extensive molecular tinkering and convergent evolution. The coordinated action of these type III secreted proteins secures the replication and survival of the bacteria avoiding overt damage to the host. The study of this remarkable pathogen is not only illuminating general paradigms in microbial pathogenesis but is also providing valuable insight into host cell functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Bacterial Translocation / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / microbiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Models, Structural
  • Protein Transport
  • Salmonella enterica / metabolism*
  • Salmonella enterica / pathogenicity*
  • Signal Transduction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins