Phosphoinositide Involvement in Phagocytosis and Phagosome Maturation

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Abstract Cells of the innate immune system engulf invading microorganisms into plasma membrane-derived vacuoles called phagosomes. Newly formed phagosomes gradually acquire microbicidal properties by a maturation process which involves sequential and coordinated rounds of fusion with endomembranes and concomitant fission. Some pathogens interfere with this maturation sequence and thereby evade killing by the immune cells, managing to survive intracellularly as parasites. Phosphoinositides seem to be intimately involved in the processes of phagosome formation and maturation, and initial observations suggest that the ability of some microorganisms to survive intracellularly is associated with alterations in phosphoinositide metabolism. This chapter presents a brief overview of phosphoinositides in cells of the immune system, their metabolism in the context of phagocytosis and phagosome maturation and their possible derangements during infectious pathogenesis.