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ABSTRACT: Tissue macrophages and their precursors-the blood monocytes-respond rapidly to a bacterial infection with the release of inflammatory mediators. These mediators are involved in the recruitment of phagocytic cells, principally neutrophils, from the blood to the site of infection. To initiate this process macrophages and monocytes must be able to detect the presence of bacteria in a reliable, but nevertheless nonspecific, fashion. It is thought that this is achieved by means of receptors on the cell surface which recognize structures common to many different bacteria. One candidate for such a "pattern recognition element" is the cell surface glycoprotein CD14. CD14 has been shown to bind components of the Gram-positive cell wall and it also binds soluble lipopolysaccharide released from Gram-negative bacteria. In both cases the interaction with CD14 leads to an activation of the cell. Here we show that human peripheral blood monocytes can, in addition, bind intact Gram-negative bacteria in the presence of serum and this process involves CD14. When CD14 expression is induced on the myelomonocytic cell line U937 by treatment with vitamin D3 the cells concomittently acquire the capacity to bind bacteria. Furthermore, a non-monocytic cell line which does not bind bacteria acquires the capacity to do so when transfected with either the human or mouse CD14 gene. This binding can be inhibited by blocking the CD14 receptor with anti-CD14 antibody or by blocking the ligand on the bacteria with soluble CD14. Finally we demonstrate binding of sCD14 to Escherichia coli. We conclude that in the presence of serum both membrane-bound and soluble forms of CD14 can bind to Gram-negative bacteria. This suggests that CD14 may play a role in the detection and elimination of intact bacteria in vivo.
European Journal of Immunology 06/1995; 25(5):1436-41. · 4.97 Impact Factor