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Cell Host Microbe. 2007 Mar 15;1(1):51-61.

The broad antibacterial activity of the natural antibody repertoire is due to polyreactive antibodies.

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Experimental Medicine Section, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Polyreactive antibodies bind to a variety of structurally unrelated antigens. The function of these antibodies, however, has remained an enigma, and because of their low binding affinity their biological relevance has been questioned. Using a panel of monoclonal polyreactive antibodies, we showed that these antibodies can bind to both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and acting through the classical complement pathway can inhibit bacterial growth by lysis, generate anaphylatoxin C5a, enhance phagocytosis, and neutralize the functional activity of endotoxin. Polyreactive antibody-enriched, but not polyreactive antibody-reduced, IgM prepared from normal human serum displays antibacterial activity similar to that of monoclonal polyreactive IgM. We conclude that polyreactive antibodies are a major contributor to the broad antibacterial activity of the natural antibody repertoire.

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