Breaking in and grabbing a meal: Anaplasma phagocytophilum cellular invasion, nutrient acquisition, and promising tools for their study

Microbes Infect. 2013 Dec;15(14-15):1017-25. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2013.10.010. Epub 2013 Oct 18.


Anaplasma phagocytophilum invades neutrophils to cause the emerging infection, human granulocytic anaplasmosis. Here, we provide a focused review of the A. phagocytophilum invasin-host cell receptor interactions that promote bacterial entry and the degradative and membrane traffic pathways that the organism exploits to route nutrients to the organelle in which it resides. Because its obligatory intracellular nature hinders knock out-complementation approaches, we also discuss the current methods used to study A. phagocytophilum gene function and the potential benefit of applying novel tools that have advanced studies of other obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens.

Keywords: Bacterial invasion; Ehrlichia; Nutritional virulence; Obligate intracellular; Rab GTPase; Rickettsia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum / pathogenicity
  • Anaplasma phagocytophilum / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Ehrlichiosis / metabolism
  • Ehrlichiosis / microbiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Intracellular Space / microbiology
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface