Shigella and related enteropathogens deliver effector molecules into the cytoplasm of epithelial cells and macrophages via a type III secretion system. Epithelial cells respond to contact with Shigella by rearranging the cytoskeleton, which leads to uptake of the bacterium. Apart from several cytoskeletal proteins, this process involves the recruitment and activation of kinases, and the small GTPase rho. Macrophages infected with Shigella undergo apoptosis and release mature IL-1beta, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. This apoptotic pathway requires caspase-1 (IL-1beta-converting enzyme). Pro-inflammatory macrophage apoptosis triggers acute shigellosis and might be relevant in other infectious diseases.