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Future Microbiol. 2012 Mar;7(3):369-81. doi: 10.2217/fmb.12.9.

Post-translational modifications of host proteins by Legionella pneumophila: a sophisticated survival strategy.

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Institut Pasteur, Biologie des Bactéries Intracellulaires, 75724 Paris, France.


Eukaryotic proteins are tightly regulated by post-translational modifications, leading to a very subtle degree of regulation in time and space. Pathogen-mediated post-translational modifications are key strategies to modulate host factors by targeting central signaling pathways in the host cell. Legionella pneumophila, an intracellular pathogen that coevolved with protozoan hosts, encodes a large arsenal of secreted effectors conferring the ability to evade host cellular defenses and to manipulate them to promote invasion and intracellular replication. Conservation of many signaling pathways of protozoa in human macrophages confers the ability of L. pneumophila to infect humans, causing a severe pneumonia called legionnaires' disease. Most of the secreted proteins are delivered by the Dot/Icm type IV secretion system and several of these have been shown to act on different cellular pathways critical for infection. Moreover, multiple effectors target a single host function to orchestrate bacterial survival. In this review, we focus on those effectors in the repertoire of L. pneumophila proteins that target key cellular pathways by specific post-translational modifications.

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