IgG proteolytic activity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis

R. B. Fick, R. S. Baltimore, S. U. Squier, H. Y. Reynolds

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80 Scopus citations


To study how fragmented IgG antibodies might arise within the respiratory secretions of individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF), we screened protease extracts from CF polymorphonuclear leukocytes and mucoid and nonmucoid transformants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from patients with CF for IgG proteolytic activity. All strains of P. aeruginosa tested exhibited IgG proteolytic activity. Incubation for 7 hr at 37 C was required to demonstrate generation of free Fcγ immunoreactivity. Further analysis of these cleavage products of CF IgG demonstrated generation of Fcγ polypeptides with 4S sedimentation coefficients and F(ab')2 fragments with 5S coefficients. Bacterial IgG proteolytic activity was inhibited by EDTA and was associated with levels of bacterial elastase exceeding 5 μg/mg of total protein. Pseudomonas elastase was signigicantly more active on IgG1 and IgG3; IgG2 and IgG4 were more resistant. This bacterial exoproduct appears to digest IgG molecules into Fabγ, F(ab')2 fragments, and a free Fcγ piece with a molecular weight of 40,000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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