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Microbiol Spectr. 2014 Aug;2(4):EHEC-0012-2013. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EHEC-0012-2013.

The Inflammatory Response during Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli Infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Victoria 3000, Australia.


The inflammatory response is an integral part of host defense against enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infection and also contributes to disease pathology. In this article we explore the factors leading to inflammation during EHEC infection and the mechanisms EHEC and other attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens have evolved to suppress inflammatory signaling. EHEC stimulates an inflammatory response in the intestine through host recognition of bacterial components such as flagellin and lipopolysaccharide. In addition, the activity of Shiga toxin and some type III secretion system effectors leads to increased tissue inflammation. Various infection models of EHEC and other A/E pathogens have revealed many of the immune factors that mediate this response. In particular, the outcome of infection is greatly influenced by the ability of an infected epithelial cell to mount an effective host inflammatory response. The inflammatory response of infected enterocytes is counterbalanced by the activity of type III secretion system effectors such as NleE and NleC that modify and inhibit components of the signaling pathways that lead to proinflammatory cytokine production. Overall, A/E pathogens have taught us that innate mucosal immune responses in the gastrointestinal tract during infection with A/E pathogens are highly complex and ultimate clearance of the pathogen depends on multiple factors, including inflammatory mediators, bacterial burden, and the function and integrity of resident intestinal epithelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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