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Investigation of mechanisms involved in phagocytosis of Legionella pneumophila by human cells

Abstract

Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires' disease, is able to survive and multiply efficiently in a variety of mammalian cells. By using in vitro assays, the uptake of L. pneumophila into monocytes has shown to be mediated, at least in part, through attachment of complement-coated bacteria to complement receptors, but complement-independent phagocytosis could also be demonstrated. Since complement levels in the human lung are normally low, the role of complement-dependent phagocytosis in the pathogenesis of Legionnaires' disease is doubtful. However, the contribution of other potential phagocytosis-related host cell surface molecules to the phagocytosis of L. pneumophila has never been investigated. We therefore analyzed the role of complement receptors 1 (CD35) and 3 (CD11b/18), the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptor (CD14), the beta(1)-integrin chain of the fibronectin receptor (CD29), the intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1, CD54) and the transferrin receptor (CD71) in the complement-independent uptake of L. pneumophila. To exclude any influence of culture conditions onto phagocytosis rates, we compared a fresh clinical isolate with an agar-adapted isolate of L. pneumophila. In addition, we used three different host cell types (MM6, HeLa and Jurkat cells) expressing different rates of complement receptors. We could show that both strains of L. pneumophila were phagocytized by the three host cell lines to the same extent, but intracellular multiplication was only found in MM6 and, although to a much lesser degree, in Jurkat cells. Preincubation of MM6 cells with monoclonal antibodies directed against the above cited phagocytosis-related receptors did not result in inhibition of L. pneumophila uptake. We therefore conclude that typical phagocytosis-related cell surface receptors are not involved in the complement-independent phagocytosis of L. pneumophila.

Authors: Weissgerber P, Faigle M, Northoff H, Neumeister B
Journal: FEMS Microbiol Lett 219: 173-179
Year: 2003
PubMed: Find in PubMed