Title

Chlamydia and apoptosis: life and death decisions of an intracellular pathogen

ORCiD

David M. Ojcius: 0000-0003-1461-4495

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Nature Reviews Microbiology

ISSN

1740-1526

Volume

2

DOI

10.1038/nrmicro1007

First Page

802

Last Page

808

Publication Date

10-1-2004

Abstract

The chlamydiae are important obligate intracellular prokaryotic pathogens that, each year, are responsible for millions of human infections involving the eye, genital tract, respiratory tract, vasculature and joints. The chlamydiae grow in cytoplasmic vesicles in susceptible host cells, which include the mucosal epithelium, vascular endothelium, smooth muscle cells, circulating monocytes and recruited or tissue-specific macrophages. One important pathogenic strategy that chlamydiae have evolved to promote their survival is the modulation of programmed cell death pathways in infected host cells. The chlamydiae can elicit the induction of host cell death, or apoptosis, under some circumstances and actively inhibit apoptosis under others. This subtle pathogenic mechanism highlights the manner in which these highly successful pathogens take control of infected cells to promote their own survival — even under the most adverse circumstances.