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

Human neutrophil chemotaxis is modulated by capsule and O antigen from an extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli strain.

Gram-negative enteric bacilli, such as Escherichia coli, are common causes of nosocomial pneumonia. The interaction between pulmonary neutrophils and the infecting pathogen is a critical step in determining the outcome. Previous studies from our laboratory, for which a rat model of pneumonia was used, established that pulmonary neutrophil recruitment was modulated by the E. coli virulence factors capsule and O-specific antigen. To begin to understand the mechanism by which this recruitment occurs, we conducted in vitro and ex vivo chemotaxis assays, for which we used a clinically relevant E. coli isolate (CP9) and isogenic derivatives that were deficient in only the O antigen (CP921) or capsule (CP9.137) as chemoattractants with or without the high-affinity N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine receptor antagonist N-tert-butoxycarbonyl-methionine-leucine-phenylalanine (N-t-BOC). Given that only live E. coli was used for the initial in vitro chemotaxis assays, it was predicted that only N-t-BOC-sensitive chemotaxis would occur. However, both N-t-BOC-sensitive and -insensitive chemotaxis was observed. N-t-BOC-insensitive chemotaxis was mediated in part by interleukin 8, which was produced by neutrophils that had migrated toward E. coli. N-t-BOC-insensitive chemotaxis was only observed when live E. coli bacteria, not cell-free E. coli culture supernatants, were used as chemoattractants, suggesting that a direct E. coli-neutrophil interaction was necessary. The presence of both capsule and O antigen diminished total, N-t-BOC-sensitive, and N-t-BOC-insensitive neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. The presence of capsule significantly decreased total, N-t-BOC-sensitive, and N-t-BOC-insensitive neutrophil chemotaxis ex vivo when cell-free bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from infected rats was used as the source of chemotactic factors. These effects of E. coli capsule and O antigen on neutrophil chemotaxis are novel, and they expand our understanding of the mechanisms by which these virulence traits contribute to the pathogenesis of gram-negative pneumonia and other extraintestinal infections.[1]


  1. Human neutrophil chemotaxis is modulated by capsule and O antigen from an extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli strain. Russo, T.A., Davidson, B.A., Topolnycky, D.M., Olson, R., Morrill, S.A., Knight, P.R., Murphy, P.M. Infect. Immun. (2003) [Pubmed]
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