Neisseria meningitidis capsule is an important virulence determinant required for survival in the blood but is reportedly involved in inhibiting cellular interactions mediated by meningococcal outer membrane adhesins. However, evidence from our previous studies suggested that target receptor density on host cells may determine whether or not capsulate bacteria can adhere via outer membrane proteins such as Opa. To confirm this and evaluate the impact of capsulation on bacterial interactions, we used Opa+ and Opaâ€“ derivatives of capsulate and acapsulate meningococcal isolates and transfected cell lines expressing CEACAM1, a receptor targeted by Opa proteins. To assess the extent and rate of cell association, subpopulations of stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells with different receptor levels were derived. A quantitative correlation of CEACAM1 levels and Opa-dependent binding of both capsulate and acapsulate bacteria was demonstrated, which was accelerated at high receptor densities. However, it appears that invasion by Opa+ capsulate bacteria only occurs when a threshold level of CEACAM density has been reached. Target cells expressing high levels of CEACAM1 (MFI c. 400) bound threefold more, but internalized 20-fold more Opa+ capsulate bacteria than those with intermediate expression (MFI c. 100). No overall selection of acapsulate phenotype was observed in the internalized population. These observations confirm that capsule may not be an adequate barrier for cellular interactions and demonstrate the role of a host factor that may determine capsulate bacterial invasion potential. Upregulation of CEACAMs, which can occur in response to inflammatory cytokines, could lead to translocation of a small umber of fully capsulate bacteria across mucosal epithelium into the bloodstream sufficient to cause a rapid onset of disseminated disease. Thus the data also suggest a novel rationale for the epidemiological observations that individuals with prior infectious/ inflammatory conditions carry a high risk of invasive meningococcal disease.
|Translated title of the contribution||Critical determinants of the interactions of capsule-expressing Neisseria meningitidis with host cells: the role of receptor density in increased cellular targeting via the outer membrane Opa proteins|
|Pages (from-to)||1490 - 1503|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2005|