Role of septins in microbial infection

J Cell Sci. 2019 Apr 30;132(9):jcs226266. doi: 10.1242/jcs.226266.


Septins are widely recognized as a component of the cytoskeleton that is essential for cell division, and new work has shown that septins can recognise cell shape by assembling into filaments on membrane regions that display micrometer-scale curvature (e.g. at the cytokinetic furrow). Moreover, infection biology studies have illuminated important roles for septins in mediating the outcome of host-microbe interactions. In this Review, we discuss a selection of mechanistic insights recently gained from studying three infection paradigms: the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, the poxvirus family member vaccinia virus and the Gram-negative bacterium Shigella flexneri These studies have respectively discovered that higher-order septin assemblies enable fungal invasion into plant cells, entrap viral particles at the plasma membrane and recognize dividing bacterial cells for delivery to lysosomes. Collectively, these insights illustrate how studying septin biology during microbial infection can provide fundamental advances in both cell and infection biology, and suggest new concepts underlying infection control.

Keywords: Cytoskeleton; Magnaporthe oryzae; Membrane curvature; Septin; Shigella flexneri; Vaccinia virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / microbiology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / microbiology
  • Host Microbial Interactions / physiology*
  • Magnaporthe / pathogenicity
  • Oryza / microbiology*
  • Oryza / virology*
  • Plant Diseases* / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases* / virology
  • Septins* / biosynthesis
  • Septins* / chemistry
  • Septins* / genetics
  • Septins* / metabolism
  • Shigella flexneri / pathogenicity
  • Vaccinia virus / pathogenicity


  • Septins