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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2006 Feb;9(1):95-101. Epub 2006 Jan 6.

Ehrlichia subversion of host innate responses.

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Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, 1925 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Anaplasma (formerly Ehrlichia) phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia chaffeensis, upon infection of humans, replicate in host leukocyte granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages, respectively. These unusual Gram-negative bacteria lack genes for biosynthesis of the lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan that activate host leukocytes. Caveolae-mediated endocytosis directs A. phagocytophilum and E. chaffeensis to an intracellular compartment secluded from oxygen-dependent and -independent killing. Furthermore, these bacteria orchestrate a remarkable series of events that culminate in suppression of NADPH oxidase, phagocyte activation and differentiation pathways, apoptosis, and interferon-gamma signaling in host leukocytes. They offer a fascinating example of how pathogens employ intricate strategies to usurp and subvert host cell function.

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