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

Bactericidal effect of polymorphonuclear neutrophils on antibiotic-induced filaments of gram-negative bacilli.

Exposure of strains of Escherichia coli to ampicillin and mezlocillin and of strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to azlocillin and cefsulodin caused the bacilli to elongate into filaments. The bacilli and their filaments were incubated with fresh human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), and the phagocytic process was recorded by means of phase-contrast microscopy. The bactericidal effect of PMNs on both filaments and bacilli was quantitated by counts of colony-forming units. A single PMN phagocytized one or more filaments, some of which were as long as 90 micron and contained as many as 20 genomes. Two predominant patterns of phagocytosis of filaments were observed. When the ratio of bacteria to PMNs was low (0.2-1.8), the rate of killing was 62%-81%. When the ratio was higher (5-12), the rate of killing of both filaments and bacilli was lower. As an alternative to colony-forming units, cell mass was used as a gauge of phagocytic activity. The relative mass of killed filaments was considerably greater than that of killed bacilli; this finding indicated that filaments were much more susceptible than were bacilli to the bactericidal activity of PMNs.[1]


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