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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1996 Oct 25;797:177-90.

Bacterial adherence and mucosal cytokine responses. Receptors and transmembrane signaling.

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Department of Medical Microbiology (Section for Clinical Immunology), Lund University, Sweden.


By attaching to cells or secreted mucosal components, microbes are thought to avoid elimination by the flow of secretions that constantly wash mucosal surfaces. The attached state enhances their ability to trap nutrients and allows the bacteria to multiply more efficiently than do unattached bacterial cells. Attachment is therefore regarded as an end result in itself, and emphasis has been placed on the role of adherence for colonization of mucosal surfaces. Specific adherence was shown to be essential for the tissue tropism that is to guide microbes to their respective sites of colonization/infection. Attachment is not only a mechanism of tissue targeting but also a first step in the pathogenesis of many infections. The attaching bacteria engage in a "cross-talk" with the host cells through the mutual exchange of signals and responses. Enteropathogenic E. coli induce attaching and effacing lesions (Finley et al., this issue). Shigella and Listeria sp. invade the cells and cause actin polymerization (Sansonetti et al., this issue). This review describes the ability of bacteria to trigger mucosal inflammation through activation of cells in the mucosal lining. The results suggest that receptors for bacterial adhesins bind their ligands with a high degree of specificity and that ligand-receptor interactions trigger transmembrane signaling events that cause cell activation. Receptors for microbial ligands thus appear to fulfill also the same criteria as those used to define receptors for other classes of ligands such as hormones, growth factors, and cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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