JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Current status of immune mechanisms of killing of intracellular microorganisms

Nahed Ismail, Juan P Olano, Hui-Min Feng, David H Walker
FEMS Microbiology Letters 2002 February 5, 207 (2): 111-20
11958927
The interaction between intracellular pathogens and the mammalian host follows different pathways that reflect evolved survival mechanisms of both the pathogen and the host to assure each one's own survival. From the host's perspective, different immune mechanisms predominate at different stages of infection. Both phagocytic and non-phagocytic target cells participate in microbial uptake and, in some cases, intracellular destruction. In addition, the development of specific immunity ensures sustained activation of intracellular microbicidal mechanisms in the target cells, and induction of apoptotic or lytic target cell death by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. From the pathogen's perspective, different evasion strategies are employed to counteract host defenses. Understanding microbial survival strategies and the immune mechanisms that result in killing of intracellular pathogens will deepen our insight into the pathogenesis of infection that could be applied towards the development of effective vaccination and immunotherapy.

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