Skip to main content

Dr. Serge Mostowy - Use of the cytoskeleton to control Shigella infection

Serge Mostowy

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Use of the cytoskeleton to control Shigella infection

The intracellular bacterium Shigella flexneri has emerged as an exceptional model pathogen to address key issues in biology, including how bacteria can move inside host cells or be recognized by the immune system. We discovered that host cells employ septins, a poorly understood component of the cytoskeleton, to restrict the motility of Shigella and target them for destruction by autophagy, an important mechanism of innate immune defence. A major issue is now to fully decipher the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms, and to validate these events in vivo using relevant animal models. We developed zebrafish (Danio rerio) infection models to study the cell biology of Shigella infection in vivo and to discover new roles for septins in host defence against bacterial infection. Collectively, the results generated from our research can provide fundamental advances in understanding cellular immunity. This information should provide vital clues towards understanding bacterial disease and for illuminating new therapeutic strategies.

Selected references

  • Gomes & Mostowy. 2020 The case for modeling human infection in zebrafish. Trends Microbiol 28(1):10-18
  • Torraca et al. 2019 Shigella sonnei infection of zebrafish reveals that O-antigen mediates neutrophil tolerance and dysentery incidence. PLOS Pathog 15(12):e1008006
  • Krokowski et al. 2018 Septins recognize and entrap dividing bacterial cells for delivery to lysosomes. Cell Host Microbe 24(6):866-874
  • Mostowy et al. 2010 Entrapment of intracytosolic bacteria by septin cage-like structures. Cell Host Microbe 8(5):433-44


Contact: Etienne Meunier (

Note for visitors: Due to the COVID-19-related situation, the seminar is NOT open to persons outside the IPBS.

Registration to attend the seminar:

26 Jan

11:00 - 12:00

Online seminar