Loss of outer membrane protein C in Escherichia coli contributes to both antibiotic resistance and escaping antibody-dependent bactericidal activity

Yi Fang Liu, Jing Jou Yan, Huan Yao Lei, Ching Hao Teng, Ming Cheng Wang, Chin Chung Tseng, Jiunn Jong Wu

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Outer membrane proteins (OMPs) serve as the permeability channels for nutrients, toxins, and antibiotics. In Escherichia coli, OmpA has been shown to be involved in bacterial virulence, and OmpC is related to multidrug resistance. However, it is unclear whether OmpC also has a role in the virulence of E. coli. The aims of this study were to characterize the role of OmpC in antimicrobial resistance and bacterial virulence in E. coli. The ompC deletion mutant showed significantly decreased susceptibility to carbapenems and cefepime. To investigate the survival of E. coli exposed to the innate immune system, a human blood bactericidal assay showed that the ompC mutant increased survival in blood and serum but not in complement-inactivated serum. These effects were also demonstrated in the natural selection of OmpC mutants. Also, C1q interacted with E. coli through a complex of antibodies bound to OmpC as a major target. Bacterial survival was increased in the wild-type strain in a dose-dependent manner by adding free recombinant OmpC protein or anti-C1q antibody to human serum. These results demonstrated that the interaction of OmpC-specific antibody and C1q was the key step in initiating the antibody-dependent classical pathway for the clearance of OmpC-expressing E. coli. Anti-OmpC antibody was detected in human sera, indicating that OmpC is an immunogen. These data indicate that the loss of OmpC in E. coli is resistant to not only antibiotics, but also the serum bactericidal effect, which is mediated from the C1q and anti-OmpC antibody-dependent classical pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1815-1822
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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