Degradation of Outer Membrane Protein A in Escherichia coli Killing by Neutrophil Elastase

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Science  18 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5482, pp. 1185-1187
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5482.1185

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In determining the mechanism of neutrophil elastase (NE)–mediated killing of Escherichia coli, we found that NE degraded outer membrane protein A (OmpA), localized on the surface of Gram-negative bacteria. NE killed wild-type, but not OmpA-deficient,E. coli. Also, whereas NE-deficient mice had impaired survival in response to E. coli sepsis, as compared to wild-type mice, the presence or absence of NE had no influence on survival in response to sepsis that had been induced with OmpA-deficient E. coli. These findings define a mechanism of nonoxidative bacterial killing by NE and point to OmpA as a bacterial target in host defense.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. Present address: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Campus Box 8052, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA; E-mail: belaaouaja{at}

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