Innate immunity against Legionella pneumophila during pulmonary infections in mice

Bonggoo Park, Gayoung Park, Jiyoung Kim, Seon Ah Lim, Kyung Mi Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Legionella pneumophila is an etiological agent of the severe pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease (LD). This gram-negative bacterium is thought to replicate naturally in various freshwater amoebae, but also replicates in human alveolar macrophages. Inside host cells, legionella induce the production of non-endosomal replicative phagosomes by injecting effector proteins into the cytosol. Innate immune responses are first line defenses against legionella during early phases of infection, and distinguish between legionella and host cells using germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors such as Toll-like receptors , NOD-like receptors, and RIG-I-like receptors, which sense pathogen-associated molecular patterns that are absent in host cells. During pulmonary legionella infections, various inflammatory cells such as macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer (NK) cells, large mononuclear cells, B cells, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells are recruited into infected lungs, and predominantly occupy interstitial areas to control legionella. During pulmonary legionella infections, the interplay between distinct cytokines and chemokines also modulates innate host responses to clear legionella from the lungs. Recognition by NK cell receptors triggers effector functions including secretion of cytokines and chemokines, and leads to lysis of target cells. Crosstalk between NK cells and dendritic cells, monocytes, and macrophages provides a major first-line defense against legionella infection, whereas activation of T and B cells resolves the infection and mounts legionella-specific memory in the host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Pharmacal Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea.


  • Legionella pneumophila
  • NOD-like receptor
  • Natural killer cells
  • Pattern recognition receptor
  • Pulmonary infection
  • Toll-like receptor


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