A pneumococcal protein that elicits interleukin-8 from pulmonary epithelial cells

Melanie Madsen, Yael Lebenthal, Qi Cheng, Beverly L. Smith, Margaret K. Hostetter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


To understand how neutrophils are recruited to the lung in pneumococcal pneumonia, the ability of pneumococcal components to elicit the chemokine interleukin (IL)-8 from monolayers of cultured human type II cells was assessed. Heat-killed clinical and laboratory strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae and secreted proteins from exponentially growing pneumococci elicited significant quantities of IL-8 from A549 cells. All strains that elicited IL-8 production secreted a protein (~90 kDa) that comigrated on SDS-PAGE with a C3-binding protein previously identified in S. pneumoniae. As little as 7 pmol of the purified 90-kDa protein readily elicited levels of IL-8 production equivalent to those obtained with 1 U of IL-1α. Supernatant proteins and heat-killed cells of an isogenic mutant that failed to produce the C3-binding protein elicited significantly less IL-8 than did supernatant proteins or heat-killed cells of the parent strain. These results implicate the C3-binding protein of S. pneumoniae in a novel pathway of pulmonary inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1330-1336
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthHD-07381, HD-07382
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesR01AI024162


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