Patterns of pathogenesis: discrimination of pathogenic and nonpathogenic microbes by the innate immune system

Cell Host Microbe. 2009 Jul 23;6(1):10-21. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2009.06.007.


The dominant conceptual framework for understanding innate immunity has been that host cells respond to evolutionarily conserved molecular features of pathogens called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). Here, we propose that PAMPs should be understood in the context of how they are naturally presented by pathogens. This can be experimentally challenging, since pathogens, almost by definition, bypass host defense. Nevertheless, in this review, we explore the idea that the immune system responds to PAMPs in the context of additional signals that derive from common "patterns of pathogenesis" employed by pathogens to infect, multiply within, and spread among their hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Models, Biological