Caister Academic Press

Mechanisms of Cellular Invasion of Neisseria meningitidis

Etienne Carbonnelle, Xavier Nassif and Sandrine Bourdoulous
from: Neisseria: Molecular Mechanisms of Pathogenesis (Edited by: Caroline Genco and Lee Wetzler). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)


Neisseria meningitidis is an extracellular human specific pathogen responsible for septicemia and meningitis. Like most bacterial pathogens, N. meningitidis exploits host cell signaling pathways in order to promote its uptake by host cells. N.meningitidis does not have a type III nor a type IV secretion system. The signaling leading to bacterial internatilisation is induced by the type IV pili which are the main attribute mediating bacterial adhesion onto cells. The signaling induced following Type IV pilus mediated adhesion is responsible for the formation of microvilli like structures at the site of the bacterial-cell interaction. These mircovilli trigger the internalization of the bacteria inside the cells. A major consequence of these signaling events is a reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton leading to the formation of membrane protrusion engulfing bacterial pathogens into intracellular vacuoles. Efficient internalization of N. meningitidis also requires the activation of an alternative signaling pathway coupled to the activation of the tyrosine kinase receptor ErbB2. Beside Type IV pili other outer membrane proteins may be involved in other mechanism of bacteria internalization inside cells read more ...
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