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Immunology. 1983 Nov;50(3):497-502.

Opsonization of various capsular (K) E. coli by the alternative complement pathway.


A virulence factor of E. coli K-1 is its capacity to avoid opsonization via the alternative complement pathway (ACP). Since it is not known if E. coli with other capsular (K) antigens have similar properties we examined various capsular E. coli for opsonization by the ACP. To assess opsonization we used whole blood luminol-dependent chemiluminescence (CL) and the magnesium salt of ethyleneglycol tetraacetic acid to block the classical pathway. E. coli K-types 6, 7, 27, 30, 42, 53, 57 and 75 were effectively opsonized via the ACP (greater than 65% of CL obtained with unchelated normal serum). K types 2 and 13 were opsonized by the ACP in both the high range greater than 65% and intermediate range 36-65%. Only K-types 1, 3, 5, 12 and 92 were poorly opsonized (less than 35%) by the ACP. The data demonstrate that most E. coli K-types were opsonized via the ACP. The poor opsonization of E. coli K3, 5, 12 and 92 by the ACP may be virulence factor for these bacteria.

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