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J Innate Immun. 2014;6(2):140-51. doi: 10.1159/000355305. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Boosted rat natural xenoantibodies cross-react with Enterococcus faecalis by targeting melibiose and L-rhamnose.

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New Therapies of Genes and Transplants Group, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain.


Natural antibodies include a subset described as xenoantibodies considered to be directed at microorganisms and also cross-react with antigens of unrelated species. In this study, we generated T-cell-independent (TI) and T-cell-dependent (TD) xenoantibodies in Lewis rats with hamster and pig blood injections. TI anti-hamster and anti-pig IgM and IgG xenoantibodies cross-reacted with Enterococcus faecalis but not with Escherichia coli isolated from the blood of Lewis rats after cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). TI anti-pig IgM xenoantibodies also showed some reactivity with two human blood isolates of E. faecalis. In contrast, TD xenoantibodies did not show any reactivity with rat or human bacteria. TI and TD anti-hamster and anti-pig IgM and IgG xenoantibodies showed cross-reactivity with lymphocytes and endothelial cells from species distinct to that used for immunization. Glycan array analysis and inhibition assays identified antibodies against melibiose and L-rhamnose as mediators of anti-hamster and anti-porcine xenoantibody cross-reactivity with E. faecalis. A rise in TI anti-hamster and anti-pig xenoantibodies was accompanied by decreased survival of Lewis rats in a low-severity sepsis model of CLP. Therefore, TI xenoantibodies in the rat include anti-carbohydrate antibodies reactive to bacteria of endogenous flora. Enhancement of these antibodies may result in more severe infectious diseases caused by these microorganisms.

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