Modulation of tumor necrosis factor by microbial pathogens

Masmudur M. Rahman, Grant McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


In response to invasion by microbial pathogens, host defense mechanisms get activated by both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune responses. TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is a potent proinflammatory cytokine expressed by activated macrophages and lymphocytes that induces diverse cellular responses that can vary from apoptosis to the expression of genes involved in both early inflammatory and acquired immune responses. A wide spectrum of microbes has acquired elegant mechanisms to overcome or deflect the host responses mediated by TNF. For example, modulatory proteins encoded by multiple families of viruses can block TNF and TNF-mediated responses at multiple levels, such as the inhibition of the TNF ligand or its receptors, or by modulating key transduction molecules of the TNF signaling pathway. Bacteria, on the other hand, tend to modify TNF-mediated responses specifically by regulating components of the TNF signaling pathway. Investigation of these diverse strategies employed by viral and bacterial pathogens has significantly advanced our understanding of both host TNF responses and microbial pathogenesis. This review summarizes the diverse microbial strategies to regulate TNF and how such insights into TNF modulation could benefit the treatment of inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-77
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Modulation of tumor necrosis factor by microbial pathogens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this