A subgroup of intracellular pathogens reside and replicate within membrane-bound compartments often termed pathogen-containing compartments (PCC). PCCs navigate around a wide range of host cell vesicles and organelles. In light of the perils of engaging with vesicles of the endocytic pathway, most PCCs modulate their interactions with endocytic vesicles while a few avoid those interactions. The secretory pathway constitutes another important grouping of vesicles and organelles in host cells. Although the negative consequences of engaging with the secretory pathway are not known, there is evidence that PCCs interact differentially with vesicles and organelles in this pathway as well. In this review, we consider three prokaryote pathogens and two protozoan parasites for which there is information on the interactions of their PCCs with the secretory pathway. Current understandings of the molecular interactions as well as the metabolic benefits that accompany those interactions are discussed. Not unexpectedly, our understanding of the extent of these interactions is variable. An underlying theme that is brought to the fore is that PCCs establish preferential interactions with distinct compartments of the secretory pathway.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.