Staying alive: bacterial inhibition of apoptosis during infection

Trends Microbiol. 2008 Apr;16(4):173-80. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


The ability of bacterial pathogens to inhibit apoptosis in eukaryotic cells during infection is an emerging theme in the study of bacterial pathogenesis. Prevention of apoptosis provides a survival advantage because it enables the bacteria to replicate inside host cells. Bacterial pathogens have evolved several ways to prevent apoptosis by protecting the mitochondria and preventing cytochrome c release, by activating cell survival pathways, or by preventing caspase activation. This review summarizes the most recent work on bacterial anti-apoptotic strategies and suggests new research that is necessary to advance the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cytochromes c / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Cells / microbiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Rats


  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Cytochromes c
  • Caspases