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Microb Pathog. 2013 Jun-Jul;59-60:42-7. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2013.04.002. Epub 2013 Apr 13.

The Spr1875 protein confers resistance to the microglia-mediated killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Diagnostica, Clinica e di Sanità Pubblica, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia (Unimore), 41125 Modena, Italy.


By screening a whole-genome λ-display library of Streptococcus pneumoniae, we have previously identified a novel surface protein, named Spr1875, that exhibited immunogenic properties and was closely related to pneumococcal virulence. In the present study, we investigated the role of the Spr1875 antigen in the interaction of S. pneumoniae with microglia, the resident brain macrophages. By using an in vitro infection model, the BV2 microglial cell line was challenged with the S. pneumoniae strain DP1004 and its isogenic spr1875-deleted mutant (Δspr1875). Both strains were phagocytosed by microglia efficiently and to a similar extent; however, the DP1004 strain was more resistant than the Δspr1875 mutant to the intracellular killing, as assessed by antibiotic protection and phagosome maturation assays. Moreover, significant differences between the two strains were also observed in terms of susceptibility to microglia-mediated killing. Taken together, these results indicate that S. pneumoniae-microglial cell interplay is influenced by the presence of Spr1875, suggesting that this protein may play a role in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal meningitis.

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