Immunity to Bacteria


Bacterial infections cause a variety of immune responses from the host depending on the specific bacterium involved. Understanding the virulence of bacteria provides insight into the medical approaches that can be used to treat infection and prevent disease.

Keywords: infectious disease; immune response; immune evasion; mechanisms of disease; mechanisms of host defence

Figure 1.

Schematic representation of the role of antibody and opsonization. (a) Antibody (yellow) binds to antigenic components on a bacterial surface (red). (b) The Fc region of the antibody becomes bound by Fc receptors expressed on a phagocyte (blue). (c) The phagocyte engulfs the bacterial cell through endocytosis. (d) The eventual fusion of the phagosome with intracellular lysosomes will both digest the pathogen and process bacterial antigens for presentation to the immune system.


Further Reading

Abbas AK and Lichtman AH (2005) Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 5th edn. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.

Belkaid Y and Rouse BT (2005) Natural regulatory T cells in infectious disease. Nature Immunology 6: 353–360.

Brunham RC and Rey‐Ladino J (2005) Immunology of Chlamydia infection: implications for a Chlamydia trachomatis vaccine. Nature Reviews Immunology 5:149–161.

Connolly SE and Benach JL (2005) The versatile roles of antibodies in Borrelia infections. Nature Reviews Microbiology 3: 411–420.

Edwards JL and Apicella MA (2004) The molecular mechanisms used by Neisseria gonorrhoeae to initiate infection differ between men and women. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 17: 965–981.

Hill DR, Ford L and Lalloo DG (2006) Oral cholera vaccines: use in clinical practice. Lancet Infectious Diseases 6: 361–373.

Janeway CA, Travers P, Walport M and Shlomchik MJ (2004) Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease, 6th edn. London: Garland Science.

Monack DM, Mueller A and Falkow S (2004) Persistent bacterial infections: the interface of the pathogen and the host immune system. Nature Reviews Microbiology 2: 747–765.

Murray PR, Rosenthal KS and Pfaller MA (2005) Medical Microbiology, 5th edn. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby.

Neutra MR and Kozlowski PA (2006) Mucosal vaccines: the promise and the challenge. Nature Reviews Immunology 6: 148–158.

Peeling RW and Hook EW III (2006) The pathogenesis of syphilis: the great mimicker, revisited. Journal of Pathology 208: 224–232.

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How to Cite close
Lowe, Devin B, Shearer, Michael H, Jumper, Cynthia A, and Kennedy, Ronald(Jul 2007) Immunity to Bacteria. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000481.pub2]