Host-cell interactions with pathogenic Rickettsia species

Sanjeev K. Sahni, Elena Rydkina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Pathogenic Rickettsia species are Gram-negative, obligate intracellular bacteria responsible for the spotted fever and typhus groups of diseases around the world. It is now well established that a majority of sequelae associated with human rickettsioses are the outcome of the pathogen's affinity for endothelium lining the blood vessels, the consequences of which are vascular inflammation, insult to vascular integrity and compromised vascular permeability, collectively termed 'Rickettsial vasculitis'. Signaling mechanisms leading to transcriptional activation of target cells in response to Rickettsial adhesion and/or invasion, differential activation of host-cell signaling due to infection with spotted fever versus typhus subgroups of Rickettsiae, and their contributions to the host's immune responses and determination of cell fate are the major subtopics of this review. Also included is a succinct analysis of established in vivo models and their use for understanding Rickettsial interactions with host cells and pathogenesis of vasculotropic rickettsioses. Continued progress in these important but relatively under-explored areas of bacterial pathogenesis research should further highlight unique aspects of Rickettsial interactions with host cells, elucidate the biological basis of endothelial tropism and reveal novel chemotherapeutic and vaccination strategies for debilitating Rickettsial diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-339
Number of pages17
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Chemokine
  • Cytokine
  • Endothelium
  • MAPK
  • NF-κB
  • P38
  • Rickettsia
  • Spotted fever rickettsioses
  • Typhus rickettsioses
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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