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Cell Host Microbe. 2010 Jul 22;8(1):20-35. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2010.06.006.

Bacterial interactions with the host epithelium.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Disease Control, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Tokyo 4-6-1, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


The gastrointestinal epithelium deploys multiple innate defense mechanisms to fight microbial intruders, including epithelial integrity, rapid epithelial cell turnover, quick expulsion of infected cells, autophagy, and innate immune responses. Nevertheless, many bacterial pathogens are equipped with highly evolved infectious stratagems that circumvent these defense systems and use the epithelium as a replicative foothold. During replication on and within the gastrointestinal epithelium, gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens secrete various components, toxins, and effectors that can subvert, usurp, and exploit host cellular functions to benefit bacterial survival. In addition, bacterial pathogens use a variety of mechanisms that balance breaching the epithelial barrier with maintaining the epithelium in order to promote bacterial colonization. These complex strategies represent a new paradigm of bacterial pathogenesis.

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