Cell death and infection: a double-edged sword for host and pathogen survival

J Cell Biol. 2011 Dec 12;195(6):931-42. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201108081. Epub 2011 Nov 28.


Host cell death is an intrinsic immune defense mechanism in response to microbial infection. However, bacterial pathogens use many strategies to manipulate the host cell death and survival pathways to enhance their replication and survival. This manipulation is quite intricate, with pathogens often suppressing cell death to allow replication and then promoting it for dissemination. Frequently, these effects are exerted through modulation of the mitochondrial pro-death, NF-κB-dependent pro-survival, and inflammasome-dependent host cell death pathways during infection. Understanding the molecular details by which bacterial pathogens manipulate cell death pathways will provide insight into new therapeutic approaches to control infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / immunology
  • Necrosis
  • Phagocytes / immunology*
  • Phagocytes / microbiology


  • Inflammasomes