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Infect Immun. 2001 Mar;69(3):1895-901.

Role of alginate O acetylation in resistance of mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa to opsonic phagocytosis.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5804, USA. gpier@channing.harvard.edu

Abstract

Establishment and maintenance of chronic lung infections with mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) require that the bacteria avoid host defenses. Elaboration of the extracellular, O-acetylated mucoid exopolysaccharide, or alginate, is a major microbial factor in resistance to immune effectors. Here we show that O acetylation of alginate maximizes the resistance of mucoid P. aeruginosa to antibody-independent opsonic killing and is the molecular basis for the resistance of mucoid P. aeruginosa to normally nonopsonic but alginate-specific antibodies found in normal human sera and sera of infected CF patients. O acetylation of alginate appears to be critical for P. aeruginosa resistance to host immune effectors in CF patients.

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