Nonopsonic binding of type III Group B Streptococci to human neutrophils induces interleukin-8 release mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway

Infect Immun. 2000 Apr;68(4):2053-60. doi: 10.1128/IAI.68.4.2053-2060.2000.


Nonopsonic interaction of host immune cells with pathogens is an important first line of defense. We hypothesized that nonopsonic recognition between type III group B streptococcus and human neutrophils would occur and that the interaction would be sufficient to trigger neutrophil activation. By using a serum-free system, it was found that heat-killed type III group B streptococci bound to neutrophils in a rapid, stable, and inoculum-dependent manner that did not result in ingestion. Transposon-derived type III strain COH1-13, which lacks capsular polysaccharide, and strain COH1-11 with capsular polysaccharide lacking terminal sialic acid demonstrated increased neutrophil binding, suggesting that capsular polysaccharide masks an underlying binding site. Experiments using monoclonal antibodies to complement receptor 1 and to the I domain or lectin site of complement receptor 3 did not inhibit binding, indicating that the complement receptors used for ingestion of opsonized group B streptococci were not required for nonopsonic binding. Nonopsonic binding resulted in rapid activation of cellular p38 and p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinases. This interaction was not an effective trigger for superoxide production but did promote release of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-8. The release of interleukin-8 was markedly suppressed by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor SB203580 but was only minimally suppressed by the mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor PD98059. Thus, nonopsonic binding of type III group B streptococci to neutrophils is sufficient to initiate intracellular signaling pathways and could serve as an arm of innate immunity of particular importance to the immature host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-8 / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / microbiology
  • Ligands
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / immunology
  • Neutrophils / microbiology*
  • Opsonin Proteins / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis
  • Respiratory Burst
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Interleukin-8
  • Ligands
  • Opsonin Proteins
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases