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Cell Microbiol. 2003 Nov;5(11):743-54.

Invasion and survival strategies of Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

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Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, Room 525A, 300 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8031, USA.


Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an aetiological agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, an emerging tick-borne zoonosis in the United States and Europe. This obligate intracellular bacterium is unique in that it colonizes polymorphonuclear leucocytes (neutrophils). Neutrophils are key players in innate immunity. These short-lived phagocytes ingest invading microorganisms and destroy them by various means, which include fusing the bacteria-containing phagosome with acidic lysosomes as well as directing toxic oxidative and proteolytic compounds into the phagosomal lumen. Its tropism for neutrophils indicates that A. phagocytophilum uses strategies for evading and/or neutralizing these microbicidal activities. This review focuses on some of the mechanisms that A. phagocytophilum uses for neutrophil adhesion, surviving within the hostile intracellular environment of its host neutrophil and for effectively disseminating to naïve host cells.

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