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Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Apr;13(4):204-9.

Caspase-1 activation by Salmonella.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Department of Cellular Microbiology, Campus Charité Mitte, Schumannstrasse 21/22, Berlin 10117, Germany.


Salmonella is an interesting example of how the selective pressure of host environments has led to the evolution of sophisticated bacterial virulence mechanisms. This microbe exploits the first-line of defence, the macrophage, as a crucial tool in the initiation of disease. After invasion of intestinal macrophages, a virulence protein secreted by Salmonella specifically induces apoptotic cell death by activating the cysteine protease caspase-1. The pro-apoptotic capability is necessary for successful pathogenesis. The study of mechanisms by which Salmonella induces programmed cell death offers new insights into how pathogens cause disease and into general mechanisms of activation of the innate immune system.

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