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Science. 2000 Aug 18;289(5482):1185-8.

Degradation of outer membrane protein A in Escherichia coli killing by neutrophil elastase.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


In determining the mechanism of neutrophil elastase (NE)-mediated killing of Escherichia coli, we found that NE degraded outer membrane protein A (OmpA), localized on the surface of Gram-negative bacteria. NE killed wild-type, but not OmpA-deficient, E. coli. Also, whereas NE-deficient mice had impaired survival in response to E. coli sepsis, as compared to wild-type mice, the presence or absence of NE had no influence on survival in response to sepsis that had been induced with OmpA-deficient E. coli. These findings define a mechanism of nonoxidative bacterial killing by NE and point to OmpA as a bacterial target in host defense.

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