Viewing Legionella pneumophila Pathogenesis through an Immunological Lens.


Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, 3610 Hamilton Walk, Johnson Pavilion 201B, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


Legionella pneumophila is the causative agent of the severe pneumonia Legionnaires' disease. L. pneumophila is ubiquitously found in freshwater environments, where it replicates within free-living protozoa. Aerosolization of contaminated water supplies allows the bacteria to be inhaled into the human lung, where L. pneumophila can be phagocytosed by alveolar macrophages and replicate intracellularly. The Dot/Icm type IV secretion system (T4SS) is one of the key virulence factors required for intracellular bacterial replication and subsequent disease. The Dot/Icm apparatus translocates more than 300 effector proteins into the host cell cytosol. These effectors interfere with a variety of cellular processes, thus enabling the bacterium to evade phagosome-lysosome fusion and establish an endoplasmic reticulum-derived Legionella-containing vacuole, which facilitates bacterial replication. In turn, the immune system has evolved numerous strategies to recognize intracellular bacteria such as L. pneumophila, leading to potent inflammatory responses that aid in eliminating infection. This review aims to provide an overview of L. pneumophila pathogenesis in the context of the host immune response.


Legionella pneumophila,cytokines,immune defense,intracellular bacteria,

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