How bacterial pathogens colonize their hosts and invade deeper tissues

Microbes Infect. 2015 Mar;17(3):173-83. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2015.01.004. Epub 2015 Jan 29.


Bacterial pathogens have evolved a wide range of strategies to colonize and invade human organs, despite the presence of multiple host defense mechanisms. In this review, we will describe how pathogenic bacteria can adhere and multiply at the surface of host cells, how some bacteria can enter and proliferate inside these cells, and finally how pathogens may cross epithelial or endothelial host barriers and get access to internal tissues, leading to severe diseases in humans.

Keywords: Bacterial adhesion; Bacterial invasion; Host barrier; Host–pathogen interactions; Listeria; Microbiota.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / complications
  • Bacteremia / immunology
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Adhesion / immunology
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Listeria / pathogenicity
  • Microbiota / immunology*