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J Immunol. 2018 Sep 28. pii: ji1800734. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800734. [Epub ahead of print]

Short Leucine-Rich Proteoglycans Modulate Complement Activity and Increase Killing of the Respiratory Pathogen Moraxella catarrhalis.

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Division of Medical Protein Chemistry, Lund University, 21428 Malmö, Sweden.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; and.
Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, 21428 Malmö, Sweden.
Division of Medical Protein Chemistry, Lund University, 21428 Malmö, Sweden;


The respiratory pathogen Moraxella catarrhalis is a human-specific commensal that frequently causes acute otitis media in children and stimulates acute exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. The exact molecular mechanisms defining host-pathogen interactions promoting pathogenesis are not clearly understood. Limited knowledge hampers vaccine and immunotherapeutic development required to treat this emerging pathogen. In this study, we reveal in detail a novel antibacterial role displayed by short leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs) in concert with complement. We show that fibromodulin (FMOD), osteoadherin (OSAD), and biglycan (BGN) but not decorin (DCN) enhance serum killing of M. catarrhalis. Our results suggest that M. catarrhalis binding to SLRPs is a conserved feature, as the overwhelming majority of clinical and laboratory strains bound all four SLRPs. Furthermore, we resolve the binding mechanism responsible for this interaction and highlight the role of the ubiquitous surface protein (Usp) A2/A2H in mediating binding to host SLRPs. A conserved immune evasive strategy used by M. catarrhalis and other pathogens is the surface acquisition of host complement inhibitors such as C4b-binding protein (C4BP). We observed that FMOD, OSAD, and BGN competitively inhibit binding of C4BP to the surface of M. catarrhalis, resulting in increased C3b/iC3b deposition, membrane attack complex (MAC) formation, and subsequently decreased bacterial survival. Furthermore, both OSAD and BGN promote enhanced neutrophil killing in vitro, both in a complement-dependent and independent fashion. In summary, our results illustrate that SLRPs, FMOD, OSAD, and BGN portray complement-modulating activity enhancing M. catarrhalis killing, defining a new antibacterial role supplied by SLRPs.


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