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J Physiol. 2012 Feb 1;590(3):433-40. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.220822. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Interspecies communication in the gut, from bacterial delivery to host-cell response.

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Department of Digestive Disease and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 840 S. Wood Street, Room 718, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Intestinal pathogens have a wide variety of strategies for communicating with host epithelial cells. This review highlights a few key examples of those strategies. Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) use a type III secretion system (T3SS) to alter host ion transport through both transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. Salmonella use a similar T3SS to invade host cells and modify an intracellular vacuole, which also impacts host vesicle trafficking. Helicobacter pylori use host cell integrins to provide a conformational change which drives the type IV secretion system into the host cell for delivery of CagA. The novel type VI section systems are phage-like apparati that deliver VgrG-1, which causes actin cross-linking and fluid accumulation in a suckling mouse model. An entirely different delivery mechanism is the outer membrane vesicle (OMV) which is composed of bacterial outer membrane wrapped around contents of the periplamsic space. Enterotoxigenic E. coli use OMVs to deliver bundles of heat labile enterotoxin to host cells. Finally we discuss the host responses to these varied methods of communication.

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