Bacterial Epithelial Cell Cross Talk

  • B. Raupach
  • J. Mecsas
  • U. Heczko
  • S. Falkow
  • B. B. Finlay
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 236)


The ability to bind to epithelial cells is an important determinant of virulence for many pathogenic bacteria. The interaction of enteropathogens with host cells of the intestinal epithelia can lead to either extracellular adhesion or internalization of the microorganisms. Generally, binding to intestinal host cells is essential for the bacteria to resist the fluid flow of the luminal contents. Once bound to the epithelial surface, the bacteria may flourish and establish a micro-colony. However, adhesion also serves as a prerequisite for subsequent invasion. Increasingly, evidence suggests that many enteropathogenic bacteria target specialized antigentransporting membraneous cells (M cells) within the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) of the Peyer’s patches (Siebers and Finlay 1996). This is a remarkable and somewhat ironical adaptation by the pathogens, because not only are M cells a minority in the epithelial population within the intestine, but they also represent a key element of the gastrointestinal immune system. M cells serve as samplers of the intestinal content by constantly transporting potential antigens from the gut lumen to the underlying lymph tissues. Therefore, it is surprising that several enteropathogens have chosen M cells as their conduit to deeper tissues.


Yersinia Enterocolitica Shigella Flexneri Bacterial Entry Pedestal Formation Focal Adhesion Plaque 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Raupach
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Mecsas
    • 1
  • U. Heczko
    • 3
  • S. Falkow
    • 1
    • 4
  • B. B. Finlay
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of ImmunologyMax-Planck Institut für InfektionsbiologieBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Biotechnology LaboratoryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  4. 4.Rocky Mountain LaboratoryHamiltonUSA

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