The role of mitochondria in cellular defense against microbial infection

Semin Immunol. 2009 Aug;21(4):223-32. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2009.05.009. Epub 2009 Jun 16.


Mitochondria have been long recognized for their key role in the modulation of cell death pathways. Thus, it is therefore not surprising that this organelle represents a recurrent target for pathogenic microbes, aiming to manipulate the fate of the infected host cell. More recently, mitochondria have been shown to serve as a crucial platform for innate immune signaling, as illustrated by the identification of MAVS (also known as IPS-1, VISA and Cardif), NLRX1 and STING as mitochondrial proteins. This review discusses the tight interplay between microbial infection, innate immune signaling and mitochondria.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Bacterial Infections / metabolism
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Cell Death
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Mitochondria / immunology*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / metabolism
  • Virus Diseases / pathology