Caister Academic Press

Chlamydia and Cell-autonomous Defence: Apoptosis and Autophagy

Georg Häcker and Thomas Rudel
from: Chlamydia Biology: From Genome to Disease (Edited by: Ming Tan, Johannes H. Hegemann and Christine Sütterlin). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2020) Pages: 135-150.


In this chapter, we will discuss two major mechanisms of cell-autonomous defence against chlamydial infection in mammalian cells: apoptosis and autophagy. Both have been implicated in chlamydial infection numerous times, and there is substantial evidence that Chlamydia has established ways to escape these two defence reactions. We will describe the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis and autophagy and review the literature concerning their roles during a chlamydial infection. We will also discuss how these mechanisms may be triggered during an infection to defend the host cell, and how they are subverted by the infecting bacteria. Chlamydia can inhibit apoptosis in infected cells: experimental stimuli that would normally induce apoptosis in human cells fail to do that in Chlamydia-infected cells. It is generally assumed that Chlamydia needs to inhibit apoptosis to keep its host cell alive, although this has not been experimentally substantiated. Autophagy can also be used as a defence mechanism against intracellular bacteria. Chlamydia uses at least two mechanisms to avoid recognition by the autophagy machinery. Both apoptosis and autophagy could defend a human cell against chlamydial infection, but the bacteria appear to have evolved mechanisms to escape these defence mechanisms read more ...
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