Bacteria evolved many strategies to survive and persist within host cells. Secretion of bacterial effectors enables bacteria not only to enter the host cell but also to manipulate host gene expression to circumvent clearance by the host immune response. Some effectors were also shown to evade the nucleus to manipulate epigenetic processes as well as transcription and mRNA procession and are therefore classified as nucleomodulins. Others were shown to interfere downstream with gene expression at the level of mRNA stability, favoring either mRNA stabilization or mRNA degradation, translation or protein stability, including mechanisms of protein activation and degradation. Finally, manipulation of innate immune signaling and nutrient supply creates a replicative niche that enables bacterial intracellular persistence and survival. In this review, we want to highlight the divergent strategies applied by intracellular bacteria to evade host immune responses through subversion of host gene expression via bacterial effectors. Since these virulence proteins mimic host cell enzymes or own novel enzymatic functions, characterizing their properties could help to understand the complex interactions between host and pathogen during infections. Additionally, these insights could propose potential targets for medical therapy.
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