Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Feb;16(1):59-62. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.01.001. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

The battle with the host over microbial size.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States.


An eponymous feature of microbes is their small size, and size affects their pathogenesis. The recognition of microbes by host factors, for example, is often dependent on the density and number of molecular interactions occurring over a limited surface area. As a consequence, certain antimicrobial substances, such as complement, appear to target particles with a larger surface area more effectively. Although microbes may inhibit these antimicrobial activities by minimizing their effective size, the host uses defenses such as agglutination by immunoglobulin to counteract this microbial evasion strategy. Some successful pathogens in turn are able to prevent immune mediated clearance by expressing virulence factors that block agglutination. Thus, microbial size is one of the battlegrounds between microbial survival and host defense.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center