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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2003 Oct;15(5):633-9.

Bacterial pathogenesis: exploiting cellular adherence.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Biotechnology Laboratory, Wesbrook Building, Room 237, 6174 University Boulevard, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z3.


Cell adhesion molecules, such as integrins, cadherins, the immunoglobulin superfamily of cell adhesion molecules and selectins, play important structural roles and are involved in various signal transduction processes. As an initial step in the infectious process, many bacterial pathogens adhere to cell adhesion molecules as a means of exploiting the underlying signaling pathways, entering into host cells or establishing extracellular persistence. Often, bacteria are able to bind to cell adhesion molecules by mimicking or acting in place of host cell receptors or their ligands. Recent studies have contributed to our understanding of bacterial adherence mechanisms and the consequences of receptor engagement; they have also highlighted alternative functions of cell adhesion molecules.

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