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Sci. STKE, 16 May 2006
Vol. 2006, Issue 335, p. re5
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.3352006re5]


Signaling During Pathogen Infection

Sylvia Münter1, Michael Way2*, and Freddy Frischknecht1*

1Department of Parasitology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Im Neuenheimer Feld 324, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
2Cell Motility Laboratory, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK.

Gloss: Pathogens infect almost every living organism. In animals, including humans, the diversity of pathogens ranges from viruses, bacteria, and unicellular parasites to complex fungi, worms, and arthropods. Because pathogens have coevolved with their hosts and have sometimes been coopted as symbionts or commensals, each pathogen/host pair represents a striking success story of survival that reflects the biological complexity of both parties. All invading microorganisms face similar problems, such as gaining access to their host, achieving successful replication, and spreading to a similar or different host. It is therefore not surprising that many different pathogens target similar organs, cell types, and even molecules to achieve their goals. However, no two microbial parasites appear to be completely alike. Although they often target similar signaling networks, they do so in subtly different ways to achieve the desired outcome. This review has eight figures, three movies, and 139 citations and emphasizes two well-established signaling pathways that are often activated during the interaction of different pathogens with their host cells. It illustrates a small part of how the dissection of host/pathogen interactions can reveal, on a molecular scale, a nature shaped by evolutionary forces that can rival the great descriptions of our macroscopic world.

*Corresponding authors. Telephone, 49-6221-566537; fax, 49-6221-564643; e-mail, freddy.frischknecht{at} (F.F.); telephone, 44-207-269 3733; fax, 44-207-269 3581; e-mail, Michael.Way{at} (M.W.)

Citation: S. Münter, M. Way, F. Frischknecht, Signaling During Pathogen Infection. Sci. STKE 2006, re5 (2006).

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