Polymorphonuclear neutrophil granulocytes (PMNs) possess numerous effector mechanisms to kill ingested pathogens as the first line of defence. However, several microorganisms evade intracellular killing in neutrophils, survive and retain infectivity. There is increasing evidence that several pathogens even multiply within neutrophils. Taking Leishmania major as a prototypic intracellular pathogen, we suggest an evasion strategy that includes the manipulation of PMNs in such a way that the pathogens are able to use the granulocytes as host cells. The ability to survive and maintain infectivity in PMNs subsequently enables these organisms to establish productive infection. These organisms can use granulocytes as Trojan horses before they enter their definitive host cells, the macrophages.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)