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Vet Microbiol. 1997 Jun 16;56(3-4):269-76.

Oxidation of macrophage membrane cholesterol by intracellular Rhodococcus equi.

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School of Health Sciences, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York 10010, USA.


Phagocytic uptake by cultured mouse macrophages (PD388D1) of a virulent strain (ATCC 33701) of Rhodococcus equi producing substantial cholesterol oxidase was accompanied by intracellular survival of the bacteria, and enzymatic oxidation of macrophage membrane cholesterol. A non-virulent strain (4219) lacking cholesterol oxidase was largely eliminated from the macrophages and did not bring about oxidation of membrane cholesterol. When R. equi 33701 was co-phagocytosed with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis there was a significant enhancement (10-fold) in the amount of oxidation product (4-cholesten-3-one) generated. R. equi and C. pseudotuberculosis are cooperative partners in the hemolysis of sheep erythrocytes, traceable to the cholesterol oxidase of the former, and phospholipase D of the latter. Results are discussed relative to the role of cooperative cytotoxins in damage to host tissue by bacterial pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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