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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2006 Feb;9(1):12-20. Epub 2005 Dec 9.

Adherence molecules of pathogenic pneumococci.

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Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Würzburg, Röntgenring 11, D-97070 Würzburg, Germany.


Adherence molecules are key players in pathogen-host interactions. These are usually surface-exposed structures that facilitate adherence to host cells, or target host serum proteins of the extracellular matrix. Our knowledge of the function of pneumococcal cell-surface structures, and the basic mechanisms underlying their interaction with host receptor molecules has dramatically increased, through molecular and structural analysis of adherence molecules. In particular, choline-binding proteins have received considerable attention because of their versatility, and their sophisticated role in the interaction with host proteins. Interestingly, subversion of host-protein functions to facilitate host invasion and immune evasion has also been attributed to intracellular or surface-exposed proteins of the pathogen. Many of these molecules do not possess the classic features of bacterial surface proteins.

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