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All microorganisms dependent on persistence in a host for survival rely on either hiding from or modulating host responses to infection. The small molecule phosphorylcholine, or choline phosphate (ChoP), is used for both of these purposes by a wide array of bacterial and parasitic microbes. While the mechanisms underlying ChoP acquisition and expression are diverse, a unifying theme is the use of ChoP to reduce the immune response to infection, creating an advantage for ChoP-expressing microorganisms. In this minireview, we discuss several benefits of ChoP expression during infection as well as how the immune system fights back against ChoP-expressing pathogens.


Sarah E Clark, Jeffrey N Weiser. Microbial modulation of host immunity with the small molecule phosphorylcholine. Infection and immunity. 2013 Feb;81(2):392-401

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PMID: 23230294

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