Virulence properties of the legionella pneumophila cell envelope

Front Microbiol. 2011 Apr 25;2:74. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2011.00074. eCollection 2011.


The bacterial envelope plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the structure and molecular composition of the Legionella pneumophila cell envelope. We describe lipopolysaccharides biosynthesis and the biological activities of membrane and periplasmic proteins and discuss their decisive functions during the pathogen-host interaction. In addition to adherence, invasion, and intracellular survival of L. pneumophila, special emphasis is laid on iron acquisition, detoxification, key elicitors of the immune response and the diverse functions of outer membrane vesicles. The critical analysis of the literature reveals that the dynamics and phenotypic plasticity of the Legionella cell surface during the different metabolic stages require more attention in the future.

Keywords: LPS; Legionella pneumophila; bacterial envelope; membrane proteins; outer membrane vesicles; phospholipids.