IMAGE OF SCIENCE

Personality traits of bacteria

©Inserm/Emmanuel Eugene
©Inserm/Emmanuel Eugene

To understand more about a bacterium's infectious mechanism, first we need to ascertain its similarities and differences with the known mechanisms of other pathogens. This image shows human endothelial cells (actin cytoskeleton depicted in green) that have been infected by a clinical strain of Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus, in blue). Marking (in red) of paxillin (an adapter protein that localises to the focal adhesions responsible for anchoring the cell to the extracellular matrix) reveals that these anchoring points are not destroyed by the infection. This distinguishes Neisseria meningitidis markedly from the infectious mechanisms of other bacteria, such as enteropathogenic Salmonella, Shigella or E. coli.



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