Bacterial protein toxins are important virulence factors. A particular class of toxins, the pore-form
toxins (PFTs), shares the toxigenic mechanism of forming pores in the membrane of target cells. The
relationship between autophagy and bacterial PFTs has been described for several toxin-secreting pathogens
and in this review we have recapitulated the more recent findings on this issue. A common outcome is that the
target cell, by a yet non-completely defined mechanism, senses the toxin attack and builds up complex
responses as a protective mechanism for host survival. However, in some cases, this cellular response is
beneficial to the microorganism by supplying an intracellular niche or by promoting host-cell death, which
facilitates pathogen spreading.
Keywords: Autophagy, intracellular pathogens, LC3, pore-forming toxins, phagophore, autophagosome, amphisome, biogenesis,
, lipid phosphatidylethanolamine, stress, starvation, apoptosis, necrosis, Bcl-2, Beclin 1.
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