Bacterial Avoidance of Phagocytosis

Trends Microbiol. 2002 May;10(5):232-7. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(02)02343-0.


Phagocytosis constitutes the primary line of host innate and adaptive defence against incoming microbial pathogens, providing an efficient means for their removal and destruction. However, several virulent bacteria that do not function as intracellular pathogens have evolved mechanisms to avoid and prevent phagocytosis that constitute an essential part of their pathogenic capacity. Some of these mechanisms include preventing recognition by phagocytic receptors or blocking uptake by professional phagocytes. Recently, the molecular mechanisms of such antiphagocytic properties have been elucidated for some pathogens. Such mechanisms illustrate the diversity of mechanisms bacterial pathogens use to avoid phagocytic uptake.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacteria / immunology
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Models, Immunological
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antigens, Bacterial