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Int Rev Cytol. 1999;187:203-59.

The regulation of apoptosis by microbial pathogens.

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Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University Medical Center, New York City 10016, USA.


In the past few years, there has been remarkable progress unraveling the mechanism and significance of eukaryotic programmed cell death (PCD), or apoptosis. Not surprisingly, it has been discovered that numerous, unrelated microbial pathogens engage or circumvent the host's apoptotic program. In this chapter, we briefly summarize apoptosis, emphasizing those studies which assist the reader in understanding the subsequent discussion on PCD and pathogens. We then examine the relationship between virulent bacteria and apoptosis. This section is organized to reflect both common and diverse mechanisms employed by bacteria to induce PCD. A short discussion of parasites and fungi is followed by a detailed description of the interaction of viral pathogens with the apoptotic machinery. Throughout the review, apoptosis is considered within the broader contexts of pathogenesis, virulence, and host defense. Our goals are to update the reader on this rapidly expanding field and identify topics in the current literature which demand further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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