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Eisenreich, Wolfgang; Rudel, Thomas; Heesemann, Jürgen; Goebel, Werner (2017): To Eat and to Be Eaten: Mutual Metabolic Adaptations of Immune Cells and Intracellular Bacterial Pathogens upon Infection. In: Frontiers in Cellular and infection Microbiology, Vol. 7, 316


Intracellular bacterial pathogens (IBPs) invade and replicate in different cell types including immune cells, in particular of the innate immune system (IIS) during infection in the acute phase. However, immune cells primarily function as essential players in the highly effective and integrated host defense systems comprising the IIS and the adaptive immune system (AIS), which cooperatively protect the host against invading microbes including IBPs. As countermeasures, the bacterial pathogens (and in particular the IBPs) have developed strategies to evade or reprogram the IIS at various steps. The intracellular replication capacity and the anti-immune defense responses of the IBP's as well as the specific antimicrobial responses of the immune cells of the innate and the AIS depend on specific metabolic programs of the IBPs and their host cells. The metabolic programs of the immune cells supporting or counteracting replication of the IBPs appear to be mutually exclusive. Indeed, recent studies show that upon interaction of naive, metabolically quiescent immune cells with IBPs, different metabolic activation processes occur which may result in the provision of a survival and replication niche for the pathogen or its eradication. It is therefore likely that within a possible host cell population subsets exist that are metabolically programmed for pro-or anti-microbial conditions. These metabolic programs may be triggered by the interactions between different bacterial agonistic components and host cell receptors. In this review, we summarize the current status in the field and discuss metabolic adaptation processes within immune cells of the IIS and the IBPs that support or restrict the intracellular replication of the pathogens.