Early events in initiation of alternative complement pathway activation by the capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans

T. R. Kozel, M. A. Wilson, William J Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

The capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans is a powerful activator of the alternative complement pathway. This study examined the manner in which the cryptococcal capsule influences initiation of and early events in complement activation by C. neoformans. These studies examined the effects of the classical and alternative pathways on the kinetics and early sites for deposition of C3 fragments on encapsulated cryptococci, nonencapsulated cryptococci, and zymosan. The results showed that nonencapsulated cryptococci and zymosan are qualitatively and quantitatively similar in the manner in which they initiate complement activation. Both utilize the classical and alternative pathways. Initiation via the classical pathway occurs suddenly and simultaneously at sites distributed over the entire cell surface. Initiation of the alternative pathway by zymosan and nonencapsulated cryptococci is characterized by a lag of 6 to 8 min before appreciable amounts of C3 accumulate on the cells. Alternative pathway initiation by zymosan and nonencapsulated cryptococci occurs at a limited number of focal initiation sites that expand with alternative pathway amplification to cover the cell surface. Presence of the cryptococcal capsule blocks classical pathway initiation, which would normally occur at the cryptococcal cell wall, and produces an initiation that is dependent solely on the alternative pathway. Initiation of the alternative pathway by the cryptococcal capsule is characterized by a lag in C3 accumulation and the appearance of a limited number of focal initiation sites which resemble those observed when the alternative pathway is activated by zymosan and nonencapsulated cryptococci.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3101-3110
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume59
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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