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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 1996 Jan;16(1):7-16.

Stimulation of natural interferon-alpha/beta-producing cells by Staphylococcus aureus.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Biomedical Center, Uppsala, Sweden.


Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) produced high levels of antiviral activity, as determined by bioassay, when stimulated by Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I (SAC) and E. coli. Specific immunoassays demonstrated the presence of both IFN-alpha and gamma and, for SAC, also low levels of IFN-beta. The frequencies of SAC-induced IF N-alpha-producing cells (IPCs) were up to 1-2 per 10(3) PBMCs. These IPCs expressed the HLA-DR and CD4 antigens but not CD3, CD14, or CD19, thus resembling the natural IFN-alpha-producing cells (NIPC). The SAC was more efficient as IFN inducer when heat killed than when streptomycin inhibited. The SAC was inhibitory to virally induced IFN-alpha responses, in particular when streptomycin inhibited. Both pronase treatment and mechanical disruption of SAC cells abolished their capacity to induce IFN-alpha production. Staphylococcal strains lacking or expressing low levels of protein A (SpA) showed a decreased ability to induce IFN-alpha production. However, purified SpA did not itself induce IFN-alpha. Possibly, SpA together with other bacterial surface proteins is important for the capacity of SAC to induce IFN-alpha production in NIPC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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