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An investigation of the interaction between red blood cells and Streptococcus pyogenes

Nylander, Anja LU ; Kahn, Fredrik LU ; Olin, Anders LU ; Björck, Lars LU ; Olsson, Martin L LU and Storry, Jill LU (2010) Blood & Defence
Abstract
Blood group antigens may be used as receptors by pathogens when infecting their hosts. Different blood groups therefore can be disease susceptibility factors. Thus, pathogens may have exerted a selection pressure on the evolution of blood group diversity. One aim of our study was to identify red blood cell (RBC) membrane structures that are bound by the common human pathogen. Streptococcus pyogenes, responsible for conditions like pharyngitis, Scarlet fever, necrotizing fasciitis and rheumatic heart disease. We also wanted to explore any differences in the ability of S. pyogenes to agglutinate RBC of different ABO groups and of selected null blood group phenotypes.

Solubilized RBC membranes were incubated with different strains... (More)
Blood group antigens may be used as receptors by pathogens when infecting their hosts. Different blood groups therefore can be disease susceptibility factors. Thus, pathogens may have exerted a selection pressure on the evolution of blood group diversity. One aim of our study was to identify red blood cell (RBC) membrane structures that are bound by the common human pathogen. Streptococcus pyogenes, responsible for conditions like pharyngitis, Scarlet fever, necrotizing fasciitis and rheumatic heart disease. We also wanted to explore any differences in the ability of S. pyogenes to agglutinate RBC of different ABO groups and of selected null blood group phenotypes.

Solubilized RBC membranes were incubated with different strains of S. pyogenes. RBC proteins that bound to bacteria were eluted and separated by SDS-PAGE. In our initial studies, a strong band at ~58 kDa and a weaker band at ~28 kDa were visualized by Coomassie staining. Subsequent analysis by mass spectrometry and Western blotting revealed the bands to correspond to IgG heavy and light chains. The IgG-related bands were strongest for bacterial strains expressing both protein H and M protein, surface structures known to bind IgG, while weaker or no bands were detected in those strains lacking one or both proteins. Results from subsequent experiments indicated that the interaction between S. pyogenes and RBCs was not limited to IgG, but that a number of other RBC membrane structures appear to bind specifically to S. pyogenes. Those proteins are currently being analysed by mass spectrometry.

In agglutination studies of S. pyogenes and RBCs, either sensitised with IgG or stripped of IgG we confirmed that IgG has a role in the binding of RBCs by S. pyogenes. We observed no difference in the ability of S. pyogenes to agglutinate RBCs of different ABO groups, indicating that the ABO-specific differences in RBC surface oligosaccharides are not recognized. When we tested a panel of RBCs with rare null phenotypes we found that cells of the Helgeson phenotype, expressing very low levels of the Knops antigens on complement receptor 1 (CR1), agglutinated more weakly than other common and rare RBCs tested.

We are still puzzled by the fact that the hemagglutination is stronger for S. pyogenes strains lacking the M-protein, known to bind both complement and IgG on the surface of the bacteria. Our hypothesis is that there might be some repulsive force acting between the M-protein and surface of RBC, making the interaction stronger when the M-protein is missing. This is supported by agglutination studies with papain-treated RBCs, where the negative charge is reduced.

IgG is known to bind senescent cell antigens on erythroid band 3 and thus the amount of IgG increases on the RBC surface as it ages. We speculated that binding to IgG on the RBC surface by S. pyogenes could be a way to selectively target aged RBCs, possibly to acquire heme as a source of iron. Attempts to separate RBCs according to age were made on density gradients, followed by agglutination studies of the different fractions. Our initial results did not demonstrate any conclusive differences.

Our data indicate that interactions between S. pyogenes and RBC are mediated at least through IgG and CR1 on the RBC surface. The clinical importance awaits exploration but may be relevant in the identification of resistance factors to infections among humans, and could thus lead to the development of alternative ways to treat infections caused by S. pyogenes.
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alternative title
Undersökning kring interaktionen mellan röda blodkroppar och Streptococcus pyogenes
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Streptococcus pyogenes, bacterial adhesion, erythrocytes, red blood cells, blood group, ABO blood group system, CR1, Group A streptococcus
conference name
Blood & Defence
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
76193ac3-6814-4490-a857-d010abefe31f
date added to LUP
2017-05-16 15:34:50
date last changed
2018-05-29 10:00:09
@misc{76193ac3-6814-4490-a857-d010abefe31f,
  abstract     = {Blood group antigens may be used as receptors by pathogens when infecting their hosts. Different blood groups therefore can be disease susceptibility factors. Thus, pathogens may have exerted a selection pressure on the evolution of blood group diversity. One aim of our study was to identify red blood cell (RBC) membrane structures that are bound by the common human pathogen. Streptococcus pyogenes, responsible for conditions like pharyngitis, Scarlet fever, necrotizing  fasciitis and rheumatic heart disease. We also wanted to explore any differences in the ability of S. pyogenes to agglutinate RBC of different ABO groups and of selected null blood group phenotypes.<br/><br/>Solubilized RBC membranes were incubated with different strains of S. pyogenes. RBC proteins that bound to bacteria were eluted and separated by SDS-PAGE. In our initial studies, a strong band at ~58 kDa and a weaker band at ~28 kDa were visualized by Coomassie staining. Subsequent analysis by mass spectrometry and Western blotting revealed the bands to correspond to IgG heavy and light chains. The IgG-related bands were strongest for bacterial strains expressing both protein H and M protein, surface structures known to bind IgG, while weaker or no bands were detected in those strains lacking one or both proteins. Results from subsequent experiments indicated that the interaction between S. pyogenes and RBCs was not limited to IgG, but that a number of other RBC membrane structures appear to bind specifically to S. pyogenes. Those proteins are currently being analysed by mass spectrometry.<br/><br/>In agglutination studies of S. pyogenes and RBCs, either sensitised with IgG or stripped of IgG we confirmed that IgG has a role in the binding of RBCs by S. pyogenes. We observed no difference in the ability of S. pyogenes to agglutinate RBCs of different ABO groups, indicating that the ABO-specific differences in RBC surface oligosaccharides are not recognized. When we tested a panel of RBCs with rare null phenotypes we found that cells of the Helgeson phenotype, expressing very low levels of the Knops antigens on complement receptor 1 (CR1), agglutinated more weakly than other common and rare RBCs tested.<br/><br/>We are still puzzled by the fact that the hemagglutination is stronger for S. pyogenes strains lacking the M-protein, known to bind both complement and IgG on the surface of the bacteria. Our hypothesis is that there might be some repulsive force acting between the M-protein and surface of RBC, making the interaction stronger when the M-protein is missing. This is supported by agglutination studies with papain-treated RBCs, where the negative charge is reduced.<br/><br/>IgG is known to bind senescent cell antigens on erythroid band 3 and thus the amount of IgG increases on the RBC surface as it ages. We speculated that binding to IgG on the RBC surface by S. pyogenes could be a way to selectively target aged RBCs, possibly to acquire heme as a source of iron. Attempts to separate RBCs according to age were made on density gradients, followed by agglutination studies of the different fractions. Our initial results did not demonstrate any conclusive differences. <br/><br/>Our data indicate that interactions between S. pyogenes and RBC are mediated at least through IgG and CR1 on the RBC surface. The clinical importance awaits exploration but may be relevant in the identification of resistance factors to infections among humans, and could thus lead to the development of alternative ways to treat infections caused by S. pyogenes.<br/>},
  author       = {Nylander, Anja and Kahn, Fredrik and Olin, Anders and Björck, Lars and Olsson, Martin L and Storry, Jill},
  keyword      = {Streptococcus pyogenes,bacterial adhesion,erythrocytes,red blood cells,blood group,ABO blood group system,CR1,Group A streptococcus},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  title        = {An investigation of the interaction between red blood cells and Streptococcus pyogenes},
  year         = {2010},
}