Bacterial pathogenesis: exploiting cellular adherence

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2003 Oct;15(5):633-9. doi: 10.1016/s0955-0674(03)00099-1.


Cell adhesion molecules, such as integrins, cadherins, the immunoglobulin superfamily of cell adhesion molecules and selectins, play important structural roles and are involved in various signal transduction processes. As an initial step in the infectious process, many bacterial pathogens adhere to cell adhesion molecules as a means of exploiting the underlying signaling pathways, entering into host cells or establishing extracellular persistence. Often, bacteria are able to bind to cell adhesion molecules by mimicking or acting in place of host cell receptors or their ligands. Recent studies have contributed to our understanding of bacterial adherence mechanisms and the consequences of receptor engagement; they have also highlighted alternative functions of cell adhesion molecules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / microbiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Helicobacter pylori / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Listeria / metabolism
  • Listeria monocytogenes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / metabolism
  • Yersinia / metabolism


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • BabA protein, Helicobacter pylori
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cadherins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Integrins
  • YadA protein, Yersinia
  • internalin protein, Bacteria
  • Opa protein, Neisseria