Bacterial adhesins in host-microbe interactions

Cell Host Microbe. 2009 Jun 18;5(6):580-92. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2009.05.011.


Most commensal and pathogenic bacteria interacting with eukaryotic hosts express adhesive molecules on their surfaces that promote interaction with host cell receptors or with soluble macromolecules. Even though bacterial attachment to epithelial cells may be beneficial for bacterial colonization, adhesion may come at a cost because bacterial attachment to immune cells can facilitate phagocytosis and clearing. Many pathogenic bacteria have solved this dilemma by producing an antiphagocytic surface layer usually consisting of polysaccharide and by expressing their adhesins on polymeric structures that extend out from the cell surface. In this review, we will focus on the interaction between bacterial adhesins and the host, with an emphasis on pilus-like structures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Models, Biological
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism*


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Virulence Factors