A quantitative analysis of C3 binding to O-antigen capsule, lipopolysaccharide, and outer membrane protein of E coli 01B4

K. A. Joiner, R. Goldman, M. Schmetz, M. Berger, C. H. Hammer, M. M. Frank, L. Leive

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The binding of serum C3 to the O-antigen capsule (OAg Cap), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and outer membrane proteins (OMP) of Escherichia coli 01B4 was examined. Bacteria were intrinsically labeled with [3H] or [14C]galactose ((*)gal) in the OAg Cap and LPS moieties or with [14C]leucine ((*)leu) to label proteins. Organisms were then incubated in serum containing differentially labeled C3, the above fractions were separated, and the proportion of each binding to a column containing anti-C3 was measured. The OAg Cap fraction bound 72 to 82% of the C3, which bound to E. coli 01B4 during incubation in absorbed 10% pooled normal human serum (10% PNHS) or absorbed 40% C8-deficient serum (C8D). This distribution did not change when the organism was presensitized with immune IgG before serum incubation. A total of 2.93% ± 0.48 of OAg Cap and 0.52% ± 0.16 of LPS (*)gal bound specifically to Sepharose-containing antibodies to C3 (A:C3-Seph) after incubation in 10% PNHS; these values increased to 10.1% ± 4.5 and 1.8% ± 0.3, respectively, when C3 deposition was increased fourfold by incubation in 40% C8D. When encapsulated E. coli 0111B4 was incubated in 10% PNHS containing biotinylated C3, specific attachment of OAg Cap (*)gal to avidin-Sepharose was demonstrated in 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and complete release of bound (*)gal but not C3 occurred with 1 M NH2OH. When a mutant of E. coli 0111B4 lacking OAg Cap was incubated in 40% C8D, the outer membrane (OM) bound 85% of C3. Five percent of OM (*)gal from the unencapsulated organism bound to A:C3-Seph in 0.05% SDS, indicating that the fraction of LPS molecules with bound C3 increased threefold in the absense of OAg Cap. OAg Cap does not contain protein, and no net specific binding of (*)leu from OAg Cap fractions to A:C3 was detectable; 2.4 to 3.6% of OM (*)leu bound to A:C3-Seph. Immunoprecipitation of 82.9% of OAg Cap (*)gal with antisera that were directed to E. coli 0111B4 was associated with co-precipitation of 69.5% of C3 in the capsular fraction. Therefore, the majority of C3 bound to E. coli 0111B4 was covalently attached to OAg Cap and LPS. As corroboration of experiments with whole bacteria, purified OAg Cap and purified LPS consumed C3 when incubated in serum in the fluid phase. These results are the first to evaluate the acceptor site for C3 deposition on a Gram-negative organism incubated in serum, and show that LPS, OAg Cap, and OMP are all major acceptor sites for C3 in nonimmune serum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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