Pathogens: raft hijackers

Nat Rev Immunol. 2003 Jul;3(7):557-68. doi: 10.1038/nri1129.


Throughout evolution, organisms have developed immune-surveillance networks to protect themselves from potential pathogens. At the cellular level, the signalling events that regulate these defensive responses take place in membrane rafts--dynamic microdomains that are enriched in cholesterol and glycosphingolipids--that facilitate many protein-protein and lipid-protein interactions at the cell surface. Pathogens have evolved many strategies to ensure their own survival and to evade the host immune system, in some cases by hijacking rafts. However, understanding the means by which pathogens exploit rafts might lead to new therapeutic strategies to prevent or alleviate certain infectious diseases, such as those caused by HIV-1 or Ebola virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Bacterial Toxins / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / microbiology*
  • Eukaryota / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Surveillance
  • Membrane Microdomains / immunology
  • Membrane Microdomains / microbiology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • Viruses / pathogenicity


  • Bacterial Toxins