The ability to sensitize host cells for destruction by autologous complement is a general property of lipoteichoic acid
Infection and Immunity
Previous studies have demonstrated that lipoteichoic acid (LTA) from Streptococcus pneumoniae binds to erythrocytes and renders them susceptible to lysis by autologous complement. The present study was performed to determine whether LTA from two other gram-positive bacterial species had the ability to render mammalian ceils susceptible to lysis by autologous complement. Human erythrocytes were sensitized with LTA from S. pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, or Lactobacillus fermentum. Under
... rmentum. Under incubation in normal autologous serum, lysis was observed with each of the LTA-sensitized erythrocyte preparations. When erythrocytes from a C2-deficient patient were sensitized with the LTA preparations and then incubated in autologous, C2-deficient serum, the erythrocytes sensitized with S. pyogenes or L. fermentum LTA demonstrated relatively little lysis, whereas the erythrocytes sensitized with S. pneumoniae LTA yielded near-total lysis. After reconstitution of the C2-deficient serum with purified human C2, lysis was observed with all three LTA preparations. When erythrocytes from an agammaglobulinemic patient were sensitized with either the S. pyogenes or the L. fermentum LTA, they were not lysed in the presence of autologous agammaglobulinemic serum, whereas the erythrocytes sensitized with S. pneumoniae LTA were completely lysed. Serum obtained from the agammaglobulinemic patient after reconstitution with intravenous pooled gamma globulin was able to lyse autologous erythrocytes sensitized with each of the three LTA preparations. These results demonstrate that the ability to render host cells susceptible to lysis by autologous complement is a general property of LTA. Whether activation of the autologous complement occurs by the classical or alternative pathways and whether it is antibody dependent depends on the nature of the bacterial LTA.