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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Protection from lethal gram-positive infection by macrophage scavenger receptor-dependent phagocytosis.

Infections with gram-positive bacteria are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Opsonin-dependent phagocytosis plays a major role in protection against and recovery from gram-positive infections. Inborn and acquired defects in opsonin generation and/or recognition by phagocytes are associated with an increased susceptibility to bacterial infections. In contrast, the physiological significance of opsonin-independent phagocytosis is unknown. Type I and II class A scavenger receptors (SR-AI/II) recognize a variety of polyanions including bacterial cell wall products such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipoteichoic acid (LTA), suggesting a role for SR-AI/II in innate immunity to bacterial infections. Here, we show that SR-AI/II-deficient mice (MSR-A(-/-)) are more susceptible to intraperitoneal infection with a prototypic gram-positive pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, than MSR-A(+/+) control mice. MSR-A(-/-) mice display an impaired ability to clear bacteria from the site of infection despite normal killing of S. aureus by neutrophils and die as a result of disseminated infection. Opsonin-independent phagocytosis of gram-positive bacteria by MSR-A(-/-) macrophages is significantly decreased although their phagocytic machinery is intact. Peritoneal macrophages from control mice phagocytose a variety of gram-positive bacteria in an SR-AI/II-dependent manner. Our findings demonstrate that SR-AI/II mediate opsonin-independent phagocytosis of gram-positive bacteria, and provide the first evidence that opsonin-independent phagocytosis plays a critical role in host defense against bacterial infections in vivo.[1]


  1. Protection from lethal gram-positive infection by macrophage scavenger receptor-dependent phagocytosis. Thomas, C.A., Li, Y., Kodama, T., Suzuki, H., Silverstein, S.C., El Khoury, J. J. Exp. Med. (2000) [Pubmed]
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