Feb 1, 1976

The role of the capsular polysaccharide in the activation of the alternative pathway by the pneumococcus

The Journal of Immunology : Official Journal of the American Association of Immunologists
J A WinkelsteinG Schiffman

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that when pneumococci are incubated in normal, nonimmune serum, they activate the alternative pathway and opsonically active C3b is fixed to the surface of the organism. Other studies have demonstrated that C3-dependent opsonization via the alternative pathway plays a significant role in the nonimmune host's defense against the pneumococcus. The present studies concern the role of the capsular polysaccharide in initiating the activation of the alternative pathway by the pneumococcus. Some pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide types, but not all, are able to activate the alternative pathway. Soluble purified capsular polysaccharide types 1, 4 and 25 activate the alternative pathway, whereas types 2, 3, 14, and 19 do not. Since the capsular polysaccharides exist in their native form attached to the pneumococcal surface, selected capsular polysaccharides were also tested for their ability to activate the alternative pathway when attached to a particulate carrier, sheep erythrocytes. Capsular polysaccharide types 2 and 3 failed to activate the alternative pathway when attached to sheep erythrocytes, paralleling the results obtained when these capsular polysaccharides were in solution. In contrast, the typ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Complement C3 precursor
Polysaccharides, Bacterial
Hemolytic Complement
Cell Wall
Erythrocytes
Streptococcus pneumoniae

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