, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 165–177 | Cite as

Effect of leukocyte hydrolases on bacteria

X. The role played by leukocyte factors, cationic polyelectrolytes, and by membrane-damaging agents in the lysis ofStaphylococcus aureus: Relation to chronic inflammatory procesess
  • Meir Lahav
  • Isaac Ginsburg


A heat-stable factor present in extracts of human blood leukocytes is capable of lysing youngStaphylococcus aureus at pH 5.O. Lysis is characterized by breakdown of cell-wall components as judged by electron microscopic and biochemical analysis. The leukocyte extracts can be replaced by a variety of agents known to injure cell membranes, e.g., leukocyte cationic protein histone, polymyxin B, colimycin, phospholipase A, and lysolecithin. The mechanisms by which all these agents bring about the degradation of the staphylococcal walls was studied. By using14C-labeled cell walls devoid of cytoplasmic structures, it was demonstrated that none of the above-mentioned agents had a direct lytic effect on purified cell walls. On the other hand, when any of these agents first interacted with intact staphylococci, a factor (presumably an autolysin) was generated that directly lysed the cell walls. Lysis of cell walls in the presence of intact staphylococci used as a source of autolysin was strongly inhibited by a variety of anionic polyelectrolytes such as heparine and liquoid. The possible role played by bacterial autolysins in the generation of microbial cell-wall components capable of triggering chronic inflammation is discussed.


Cell Wall Chronic Inflammation Biochemical Analysis Human Blood Polymyxin 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meir Lahav
    • 1
  • Isaac Ginsburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral BiologyHebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, Founded by the Alpha Omega FraternityJerusalemIsrael

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