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Microbes Infect. 2001 Mar;3(3):249-55.

Entry and survival of pathogenic mycobacteria in macrophages.

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Basel Institute for Immunology, Grenzacherstrasse 487, CH-4005 Basel, Switzerland.


Pathogenic mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, are phagocytosed by macrophages but manage to survive within the mycobacterial phagosome. Recent work has shed some more light on the mechanisms of mycobacterial entry and survival inside macrophages. Two host cell components, the steroid cholesterol and a phagosomal coat protein termed TACO were found to play crucial roles in the establishment of an intracellular infection. This review describes how these findings may help to understand the circumvention of the normal trafficking routes inside host cells by mycobacteria.

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