Pathogens use various mechanisms to manipulate host processes to promote infection. Decades of research on pathogens have revealed not only the molecular mechanisms that these microbes use to replicate and survive within host cells, but also seminal information on how host signaling machinery regulates cellular processes. Among these discoveries are mechanisms involving posttranslational modifications that alter the activity, localization, or interactions of the modified protein. Herein, we examine how pathogens have contributed to our basic understanding of three posttranslational modifications: phosphorylation, NMPylation, and ubiquitylation. Over the years, technologies, techniques and research tools have developed side by side with the study of pathogens, facilitating the discovery of protein modifications and furthering our understanding of how they contribute to both infection and cellular functions.
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