The pulmonary collectins, surfactant proteins A (SP-A) and D (SP-D), have been reported to bind lipopolysaccharide (LPS), opsonize microorganisms, and enhance the clearance of lung pathogens. In this study, we examined the effect of SP-A and SP-D on the growth and viability of Gram-negative bacteria. The pulmonary clearance of Escherichia coli K12 was reduced in SP-A–null mice and was increased in SP-D–overexpressing mice, compared with strain-matched wild-type controls. Purified SP-A and SP-D inhibited bacterial synthetic functions of several, but not all, strains of E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter aerogenes. In general, rough E. coli strains were more susceptible than smooth strains, and collectin-mediated growth inhibition was partially blocked by coincubation with rough LPS vesicles. Although both SP-A and SP-D agglutinated E. coli K12 in a calcium-dependent manner, microbial growth inhibition was independent of bacterial aggregation. At least part of the antimicrobial activity of SP-A and SP-D was localized to their C-terminal domains using truncated recombinant proteins. Incubation of E. coli K12 with SP-A or SP-D increased bacterial permeability. Deletion of the E. coli OmpA gene from a collectin-resistant smooth E. coli strain enhanced SP-A and SP-D–mediated growth inhibition. These data indicate that SP-A and SP-D are antimicrobial proteins that directly inhibit the proliferation of Gram-negative bacteria in a macrophage- and aggregation-independent manner by increasing the permeability of the microbial cell membrane.
Huixing Wu, Alexander Kuzmenko, Sijue Wan, Lyndsay Schaffer, Alison Weiss, James H. Fisher, Kwang Sik Kim, Francis X. McCormack
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.