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The classical complement pathway plays a critical role in the opsonisation of uropathogenic Escherichia coli

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Neil SheerinORCiD


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Urinary tract infection due to uropathogenic Escherichia coli is a common clinical problem. The innate immune system and the uroepithelium are critical in defence against infection. The complement system is both part of the innate immune system and influences the interaction between epithelium and pathogen. We have therefore investigated the mechanism by which uropathogenic E. coli activate complement and the potential for this to occur during clinical infection. The classical pathway is responsible for bacterial opsonisation when complement proteins are present at low concentrations. At higher concentrations the alternative pathway predominates but still requires the classical pathway for its initiation. In contrast the mannose binding lectin pathway is not involved. Early classical pathway components are present in the urine during infection and actively contribute to bacterial opsonisation. The classical pathway could be initiated by anti-E. coli antibodies of IgG or IgM subclasses that are present in urine during infection. Additionally immunoglobulin-independent mechanisms, such as direct C1q binding to bacteria, may be involved. In conclusion, uropathogenic E. coli are readily opsonised by complement in a classical pathway dependent manner. This can occur within the urinary tract during the development of clinical infection. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li K, Sacks SH, Sheerin NS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Immunology

Year: 2008

Volume: 45

Issue: 4

Pages: 954-962

Print publication date: 01/02/2008

ISSN (print): 0161-5890

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9142

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.molimm.2007.07.037

PubMed id: 17870166


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