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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 579650, 11 pages
Review Article

Innate Immune Sensors and Gastrointestinal Bacterial Infections

1Division of Applied Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK
2Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, 80 Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1GA, UK

Received 20 January 2011; Accepted 4 March 2011

Academic Editor: Luigina Romani

Copyright © 2011 Georgina L. Hold et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The gastrointestinal microbiota is a major source of immune stimulation. The interaction between host pattern-recognition receptors and conserved microbial ligands profoundly influences infection dynamics. Identifying and understanding the nature of these interactions is a key step towards obtaining a clearer picture of microbial pathogenesis. These interactions underpin a complex interplay between microbe and host that has far reaching consequences for both. Here, we review the role of pattern recognition receptors in three prototype diseases affecting the stomach, the small intestine, and large intestine, respectively (Helicobacter pylori infection, Salmonella infection, and inflammatory bowel disease). Specifically, we review the nature and impact of pathogen:receptor interactions, their impact upon pathogenesis, and address the relevance of pattern recognition receptors in the development of therapies for gastrointestinal diseases.