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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Microbiology - Respiratory Medicine

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Elastase Provides an Escape from Phagocytosis by Degrading the Pulmonary Surfactant Protein-A
Published: Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Author: Zhizhou Kuang et al.

by Zhizhou Kuang, Yonghua Hao, Brent E. Walling, Jayme L. Jeffries, Dennis E. Ohman, Gee W. Lau

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes both acute pneumonitis in immunocompromised patients and chronic lung infections in individuals with cystic fibrosis and other bronchiectasis. Over 75% of clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa secrete elastase B (LasB), an elastolytic metalloproteinase that is encoded by the lasB gene. Previously, in vitro studies have demonstrated that LasB degrades a number of components in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. These include surfactant proteins, antibacterial peptides, cytokines, chemokines and immunoglobulins. However, the contribution of LasB to lung infection by P. aeruginosa and to inactivation of pulmonary innate immunity in vivo needs more clarification. In this study, we examined the mechanisms underlying enhanced clearance of the ?lasB mutant in mouse lungs. The ?lasB mutant was attenuated in virulence when compared to the wild-type strain PAO1 during lung infection in SP-A+/+ mice. However, the ?lasB mutant was as virulent as PAO1 in the lungs of SP-A-/- mice. Detailed analysis showed that the ?lasB mutant was more susceptible to SP-A-mediated opsonization but not membrane permeabilization. In vitro and in vivo phagocytosis experiments revealed that SP-A augmented the phagocytosis of ?lasB mutant bacteria more efficiently than the isogenic wild-type PAO1. The ?lasB mutant was found to have a severely reduced ability to degrade SP-A, consequently making it unable to evade opsonization by the collectin during phagocytosis. These results suggest that P. aeruginosa LasB protects against SP-A-mediated opsonization by degrading the collectin.
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