Membrane rafts: a potential gateway for bacterial entry into host cells


Anetta Hartlova, Centre of Advanced Studies, Faculty of Military Health Sciences, University of Defence, Trebesska1575, 500 01 Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.
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Pathogenic bacteria have developed various mechanisms to evade host immune defense systems. Invasion of pathogenic bacteria requires interaction of the pathogen with host receptors, followed by activation of signal transduction pathways and rearrangement of the cytoskeleton to facilitate bacterial entry. Numerous bacteria exploit specialized plasma membrane microdomains, commonly called membrane rafts, which are rich in cholesterol, sphingolipids and a special set of signaling molecules which allow entry to host cells and establishment of a protected niche within the host. This review focuses on the current understanding of the raft hypothesis and the means by which pathogenic bacteria subvert membrane microdomains to promote infection.