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Infect Immun. 2005 Oct;73(10):6493-8.

THP-1 monocytes up-regulate intercellular adhesion molecule 1 in response to pneumolysin from Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, 39216, USA,


Pneumolysin (PLY) is a major virulence factor of Streptococcus pneumoniae that elicits a variety of proinflammatory responses from cells of the host immune system. Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) is a cell adhesion molecule involved in leukocyte trafficking toward inflammatory stimuli in extravascular sites. In this study, we evaluated the effect of PLY on expression of ICAM-1 in THP-1 monocytic cells exposed to S. pneumoniae. Exposure of cells to PLY-expressing S. pneumoniae strain WU2 for 6 h led to significantly higher levels of ICAM-1 message than those in cells exposed to either medium alone or DeltaPLY1, a PLY-negative isogenic mutant of WU2. Cells exposed to purified recombinant PLY also showed a dose-dependent increase in ICAM-1 mRNA compared to cells exposed to medium alone. Exposure to recombinant PLY containing a single amino acid substitution (Trp433-->Phe) that decreases cytolytic activity did not increase ICAM-1 mRNA to levels seen with wild-type PLY. In addition, THP-1 cells exposed to wild-type strain WU2 or D39 had increased ICAM-1 on their surface compared to cells exposed to medium alone or their PLY-negative isogenic mutants DeltaPLY1 and DeltaPLY2, respectively. These data indicate that PLY induces transcription and production of a cell adhesion molecule involved in the inflammatory response that may play a role in pneumococcal infection.

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