Send to

Choose Destination
Microbiol Sci. 1988 May;5(5):137-42.

The biochemistry of bacteriolysis: paradoxes, facts and myths.

Author information

Department of Oral Biology, Hebrew University-Hadassah, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel.


Degradation of cell wall components of certain microbial species following phagocytosis by neutrophils and macrophages might involve the activation, by leucocyte cationic proteins, of the bacterial autolytic wall enzymes, leading to bacteriolysis. Lysozyme (a distinct cationic agent), which is the main muramidase present in leucocytes and in body fluids, might function not only as an enzyme but also as a potent activator of autolysis. Sulphated polyelectrolytes, proteolytic enzymes and oxygen radicals, which are released in inflammatory sites, might inactivate the autolytic wall enzymes, leading to the accumulation of peptidoglycan-polysaccharide complexes within macrophages. Activated macrophages are instrumental in initiating chronic inflammatory reactions. Undegraded microbial cell wall components also function as immunomodulators and as enhancers of non-specific resistance to infections and to malignancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center