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Trends Microbiol. 2007 Aug;15(8):372-80. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Effector proteins translocated by Legionella pneumophila: strength in numbers.

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Section of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, 295 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


The Gram-negative bacterium Legionella pneumophila is a parasite of eukaryotic cells. It has evolved to survive and replicate in a wide range of protozoan hosts and can also infect human alveolar macrophages as an opportunistic pathogen. Crucially for the infection process, L. pneumophila uses a type IV secretion system called Dot/Icm to translocate bacterial proteins into host cells. In recent years a large number of Dot/Icm-translocated proteins have been identified. The study of these proteins, referred to as effectors, is providing valuable insight into the mechanism by which an intracellular pathogen can manipulate eukaryotic cellular processes to traffic and replicate in host cells.

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