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J Med Microbiol. 1998 Feb;47(2):159-68.

Outer-membrane antigen expression by Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis influences pulmonary clearance.

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  • 1Faculty of Applied Science, University of Canberra, Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory.


Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis is a common respiratory tract pathogen in man. The bacterium shows a strong tendency to form aggregates in vitro. A variant strain of M. catarrhalis that showed a reduced tendency to form aggregates was selected by successive in-vitro passage in broth culture from which aggregates had settled. The non-clumping variant strain showed alteration in expression of outer-membrane antigens, including the HMW-OMP, an outer-membrane protein of c. 200 kDa, outer-membrane protein CD and lipo-oligosaccharide. A mouse model for pulmonary challenge with M. catarrhalis revealed significant differences in the rate of clearance of the isogenic variant strains from the lung. The parent strain caused enhanced recruitment of neutrophils to the lung and more rapid clearance of bacteria from the lungs in comparison to the non-clumping variant. It is concluded that alteration of expression of surface molecules by M. catarrhalis has a significant impact in an in-vivo model of pulmonary clearance.

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