Mechanisms of Francisella tularensis intracellular pathogenesis

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013 Apr 1;3(4):a010314. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a010314.


Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of the debilitating febrile illness tularemia. Although natural infections by F. tularensis are sporadic and generally localized, the low infectious dose, with the ability to be transmitted to humans via multiple routes and the potential to cause life-threatening infections, has led to concerns that this bacterium could be used as an agent of bioterror and released intentionally into the environment. Recent studies of F. tularensis and other closely related Francisella species have greatly increased our understanding of mechanisms used by this organism to infect and cause disease within the host. Here, we review the intracellular life cycle of Francisella and highlight key genetic determinants and/or pathways that contribute to the survival and proliferation of this bacterium within host cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosol / microbiology
  • Francisella tularensis / growth & development
  • Francisella tularensis / immunology
  • Francisella tularensis / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology
  • Inflammasomes / physiology
  • Life Cycle Stages / immunology
  • Life Cycle Stages / physiology
  • NADPH Oxidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phagosomes / microbiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tularemia / immunology
  • Tularemia / microbiology*
  • Tularemia / transmission
  • Zoonoses / microbiology
  • Zoonoses / transmission


  • Inflammasomes
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • NADPH Oxidases