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Anti-recombinant V antigen serum promotes uptake of Yersinia enterocolitica serotype O8 by macrophages


Phagocytosis resistance even in the presence of opsonizing antibodies is a key feature of pathogenic Yersinia spp. Nevertheless, antibodies against the secreted V antigen and the outer membrane protein YadA are known to mediate protection against Y. enterocolitica serotype O8 in a mouse model with intravenous infection. To investigate the impact of anti-V antigen serum on the interaction of Y. enterocolitica and phagocytic cells, gentamicin kill assays and immunofluorescence staining were performed. In contrast to anti-YadA, the presence of V antigen-specific antibodies resulted in an increased uptake of yersiniae by macrophages. The inhibition of phagocytosis by cytochalasin D suppressed the anti-V antigen-mediated uptake. The uptake-promoting effect of anti-V antigen was more distinct for macrophages than for polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The findings of the passive immunization experiments using an orogastric infection model were in agreement with those of cell-culture experiments. In the first 3 days of infection both antisera exhibit no protective effect on the multiplication of the bacteria in the Peyer's patches. Only mice passively immunized with anti-V antigen survived lethal oral infections with Y. enterocolitica serotype O8. Taken together, the results support the assumption that V antigen might be part of the translocation apparatus and that anti-V antigen inhibits the Yop translocation. In addition, antisera against in-frame-deleted recombinant V antigen were generated. Protection experiments using these antisera suggested that the type-specific region (amino acids 225–232) of the V antigen might not be a protective epitope.

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Received: 29 July 1999

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Roggenkamp, A., Leitritz, L., Sing, A. et al. Anti-recombinant V antigen serum promotes uptake of Yersinia enterocolitica serotype O8 by macrophages. Med Microbiol Immunol 188, 151–159 (1999).

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  • Key words V antigen
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Phagocytosis-resistance
  • Passive immunization