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Host–pathogen interactions and immune evasion strategies in Francisella tularensis pathogenicity

Authors Steiner D, Furuya Y, Metzger D

Received 13 May 2014

Accepted for publication 3 June 2014

Published 18 September 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 239—251


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Don J Steiner, Yoichi Furuya, Dennis W Metzger

Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA

Abstract: Francisella tularensis is an intracellular Gram-negative bacterium that causes life-threatening tularemia. Although the prevalence of natural infection is low, F. tularensis remains a tier I priority pathogen due to its extreme virulence and ease of aerosol dissemination. F. tularensis can infect a host through multiple routes, including the intradermal and respiratory routes. Respiratory infection can result from a very small inoculum (ten organisms or fewer) and is the most lethal form of infection. Following infection, F. tularensis employs strategies for immune evasion that delay the immune response, permitting systemic distribution and induction of sepsis. In this review we summarize the current knowledge of F. tularensis in an immunological context, with emphasis on the host response and bacterial evasion of that response.

Keywords: LVS, Schu S4, tularemia, host immunity, Francisella tularensis

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