Entry into host cells and intracellular persistence by invasive bacteria are tightly coupled to the ability of the bacterium to disrupt the eukaryotic cytoskeletal machinery. Herein we review the main strategies used by three intracellular pathogens to harness key modulators of the cytoskeleton. Two of these bacteria, namely Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, exhibit quite distinct intracellular lifestyles and therefore provide a comprehensive panel for the understanding of the intricate bacteria-cytoskeleton interplay during infections. The emerging intracellular pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus is depicted as a developing model for the uncovering of novel mechanisms used to hijack the cytoskeleton.
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