Phagosome-Bacteria Interactions from the Bottom Up.
When attempting to propagate infections, bacterial pathogens encounter phagocytes that encase them in vacuoles called phagosomes. Within phagosomes, bacteria are bombarded with a plethora of stresses that often lead to their demise. However, pathogens have evolved numerous strategies to counter those host defenses and facilitate survival. Given the importance of phagosome-bacteria interactions to infection outcomes, they represent a collection of targets that are of interest for next-generation antibacterials. To facilitate such therapies, different approaches can be employed to increase understanding of phagosome-bacteria interactions, and these can be classified broadly as top down (starting from intact systems and breaking down the importance of different parts) or bottom up (developing a knowledge base on simplified systems and progressively increasing complexity). Here we review knowledge of phagosomal compositions and bacterial survival tactics useful for bottom-up approaches, which are particularly relevant for the application of reaction engineering to quantify and predict the time evolution of biochemical species in these death-dealing vacuoles. Further, we highlight how understanding in this area can be built up through the combination of immunology, microbiology, and engineering.