The cytoskeleton in cell-autonomous immunity: structural determinants of host defence

Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Sep 15;15(9):559-73. doi: 10.1038/nri3877. Epub 2015 Aug 21.


Host cells use antimicrobial proteins, pathogen-restrictive compartmentalization and cell death in their defence against intracellular pathogens. Recent work has revealed that four components of the cytoskeleton--actin, microtubules, intermediate filaments and septins, which are well known for their roles in cell division, shape and movement--have important functions in innate immunity and cellular self-defence. Investigations using cellular and animal models have shown that these cytoskeletal proteins are crucial for sensing bacteria and for mobilizing effector mechanisms to eliminate them. In this Review, we highlight the emerging roles of the cytoskeleton as a structural determinant of cell-autonomous host defence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / immunology
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Cell Death / immunology
  • Cytoskeleton / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Inflammasomes / immunology
  • Intermediate Filaments / immunology
  • Microtubules / immunology
  • Septins / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*


  • Actins
  • Inflammasomes
  • Septins