Microbial pathogenesis and cytoskeletal function

Nature. 2003 Apr 17;422(6933):775-81. doi: 10.1038/nature01603.


Pathogenic microbes subvert normal host-cell processes to create a specialized niche, which enhances their survival. A common and recurring target of pathogens is the host cell's cytoskeleton, which is utilized by these microbes for purposes that include attachment, entry into cells, movement within and between cells, vacuole formation and remodelling, and avoidance of phagocytosis. Our increased understanding of these processes in recent years has not only contributed to a greater comprehension of the molecular causes of infectious diseases, but has also revealed fundamental insights into normal functions of the cytoskeleton. From the use of bacterial toxins to investigate Rho family GTPases to in vitro studies of actin polymerization using Listeria and Shigella, the study of pathogenesis has provided important tools to probe cytoskeletal function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / microbiology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Infections / microbiology*
  • Infections / parasitology
  • Infections / pathology*
  • Infections / virology
  • Phagocytes / cytology
  • Phagocytes / metabolism
  • Phagocytes / microbiology
  • Phagocytosis
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / microbiology
  • Vacuoles / microbiology
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Actins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins