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J Med Microbiol. 2002 Oct;51(10):821-31.

In-vitro characterisation of the phagocytosis and fate of anthrax spores in macrophages and the effects of anti-PA antibody.

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Antibodies (Abs) to the protective antigen (PA) component of the anthrax toxins have anti-spore as well as anti-toxin activities. Anti-PA antisera and purified anti-PA Abs enhance the phagocytosis by murine-derived macrophages (MQs) of spores of the Ames and Sterne strains and retard the germination of extracellular spores in vitro. The fate after phagocytosis of untreated and anti-PA-treated spores was further studied in culture medium that supported phagocytosis without stimulating spore germination (Dulbecco's minimal essential medium with horse serum 10%). The spores germinated within cells of primary peritoneal murine MQs (C3H/HeN) and MQs of the RAW264.7 MQ-like cell line; germination was associated with a rapid decline in spore viability. Exposure of MQs to inhibitors of phago-endosomal acidification (bafilomycin A and chloroquine) reduced the efficiency of MQ killing and allowed outgrowth and replication of the organisms. Treatment of spores with anti-PA Abs stimulated their phagocytosis and was associated with enhanced MQ killing of the spores. The enhanced killing of spores correlated with the greater extent of germination of anti-PA-treated spores after phagocytosis. A PA null mutant of the Ames strain exhibited none of the effects associated with anti-PA Ab treatment ofthe parental strain. Thus, the anti-PA Ab-specific immunity induced by vaccines has anti-spore activities and its role in impeding the early stages of infection with Bacillusanthracis needs to be assessed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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