Specific antibody promotes opsonization and PMN-mediated killing of phagocytosis-resistant Enterococcus faecium

Robert M. Rakita, Van C. Quan, Karen Jacques-Palaz, Kavindra V. Singh, Roberto C. Arduino, Mee Mee, Barbara E. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Many clinical isolates of Enterococcus faecium are resistant to neutrophil (PMN)-mediated phagocytosis and killing in the presence of normal human serum. We have now examined the ability of specific polyclonal rabbit antibodies to promote opsonization and killing of phagocytosis-resistant E. faecium. Immune rabbit serum generated against formalin-killed E. faecium TX0016, a phagocytosis-resistant strain, markedly promoted binding of TX0016 organisms to PMNs and PMN-mediated killing. These effects were dramatically reduced by (a) adsorption of immune serum with E. faecium TX0016, but not by adsorption with a strain of E. faecium susceptible to phagocytosis, and (b) incubation of immune serum with carbohydrate purified from TX0016, but not by incubation with a surface protein extract from TX0016. IgG purified from immune serum was unable by itself to promote bacterial binding to PMNs. However, specific IgG was able to promote binding to PMNs and PMN-mediated killing in the presence of normal human serum as a complement source, as were F(ab')2 and Fab fragments produced from it, and the alternative pathway of complement was sufficient to promote IgG- and F(ab')2-mediated opsonization. PMN complement receptor type 3, but not complement receptor type 1, was involved in bacterial binding to PMNs induced by the combination of F(ab')2 fragments and normal human serum. These results suggest that opsonization by antibodies potentially directed against bacterial carbohydrate, in conjunction with complement activation, has an important role in the host defense against phagocytosis-resistant E. faecium. Copyright (C) 2000 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000


  • Antibody
  • Complement
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Neutrophil
  • Phagocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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