Editors' ChoiceHost-Pathogen Interactions

Here to Stay

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Science Signaling  07 Sep 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 138, pp. ec276
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3138ec276

For systemic infection, bacterial pathogens must breach the mucosal epithelial barrier. Our bodies have developed a variety of strategies to protect the mucosa, including rapid turnover of epithelial cells. Muenzner et al. show how invasive bacteria overcome this host defense in a humanized mouse model susceptible to Neisseria gonorrhoeae urogenital infection. The bacteria bind to a host-cell surface protein called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), which triggers a cascade of changes modulating the cell adhesion properties of the targeted epithelium to prevent the cells from being shed.

P. Muenzner, V. Bachmann, W. Zimmermann, J. Hentschel, C. R. Hauck, Human-restricted bacterial pathogens block shedding of epithelial cells by stimulating integrin activation. Science 329, 1197–1201 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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