Interaction of complement with serum-sensitive and serum-resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

N. L. Schiller, K. A. Joiner

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The interaction of complement with the following two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was examined: 144M, a mucoid, serum-sensitive strain bearing short lipopolysaccharide O chains, and 144M-SR, a mucoid, serum-resistant strain bearing long lipopolysaccharide O chains isolated by repeated passage of 144M in increasing concentrations of pooled normal human serum (PNHS). While significant killing of 144M occurred in 5 to 40% PNHS, no killing of 144M-SR was observed. Both strains activated complement, especially 144M-SR which consumed 88.7, 96.4, and 100% of the available complement 3 (C3), C5, and C9, respectively, in 10% PNHS during a 60-min incubation at 37°C. Although it activated more C3 than did 144M (54.9% consumption), 144M-SR bound only half as much C3 as 144M. Similarly, although 144M-SR activated more C9 than did 144M (50.0% consumption in 60 min), there was considerably less C9 attached to 144M-SR (2,990 molecules of C9 per bacterium) than to 144M (13,700 molecules per bacterium) after 60 min of incubation. Furthermore, only 162 molecules of the C9 bound to 144M-SR remained bound after treatment with 0.1% trypsin, while 5,692 molecules of the C9 bound to 144M remained bound under similar conditions. These results show that the serum resistance of 144M-SR does not represent a failure to activate complement efficiently, but instead reflects failure of the assembled terminal complement complex C5b-9 to insert stably into the outer membrane of this strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-694
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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