Pathogens and polymers: microbe-host interactions illuminate the cytoskeleton

J Cell Biol. 2011 Oct 3;195(1):7-17. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201103148.


Intracellular pathogens subvert the host cell cytoskeleton to promote their own survival, replication, and dissemination. Study of these microbes has led to many discoveries about host cell biology, including the identification of cytoskeletal proteins, regulatory pathways, and mechanisms of cytoskeletal function. Actin is a common target of bacterial pathogens, but recent work also highlights the use of microtubules, cytoskeletal motors, intermediate filaments, and septins. The study of pathogen interactions with the cytoskeleton has illuminated key cellular processes such as phagocytosis, macropinocytosis, membrane trafficking, motility, autophagy, and signal transduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / physiology
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Infections / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / microbiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / microbiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology