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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2008;271:253-300. doi: 10.1016/S1937-6448(08)01206-9.

Phagocytosis and host-pathogen interactions in Dictyostelium with a look at macrophages.

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Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Ospedale S. Luigi, 10043 Orbassano, Italy.


Research into phagocytosis and host-pathogen interactions in the lower eukaryote Dictyostelium discoideum has flourished in recent years. This chapter presents a glimpse of where this research stands, with emphasis on the cell biology of the phagocytic process and on the wealth of molecular genetic data that have been gathered. The basic mechanistic machinery and most of the underlying genes appear to be evolutionarily conserved, reflecting the fact that phagocytosis arose as an efficient way to ingest food in single protozoan cells devoid of a rigid cell wall. In spite of some differences, the signal transduction pathways regulating phagosome biogenesis are also emerging as ultimately similar between Dictyostelium and macrophages. Both cell types are hosts for many pathogenic invasive bacteria, which exploit phagocytosis to grow intracellularly. We present an overwiew, based on the analysis of mutants, on how Dictyostelium contributes as a genetic model system to decipher the complexity of host-pathogen interactions.

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