Purified PGL-1 and dPGL from M. leprae can prevent bacterial killing by intact phagocytes and cell-free antimicrobial systems. Both glycolipids completely abolished the antimicrobial effect of the acetaldehyde-XO-Fe2+ system. Because the cytotoxicity of this system is inhibited by catalase, SOD, mannitol, and ethanol, but not by heated SOD or catalase, these data suggest that toxicity is due to OH. generated by the Haber-Weiss reaction. That the antimicrobial killing in the XO system is completely blocked by the addition of PGL-1 or dPGL suggests that these glycolipids can act as OH. scavengers. A modest protective effect against the cytotoxicity of the MPO-H2O2-halide system by both PGL-1 and dPGL was also observed. The antimicrobial activity of the MPO system was abolished with chloride, but not iodide, as the halide. The effect of the M. leprae-derived glycolipid on bacterial killing by intact phagocytes was examined. Two linking antibodies were used to bind the dPGL to a rapidly growing test organism, S. aureus, a murine IgM mAb specific for the terminal glycoside of PGL-1, and a rabbit IgG anti-mouse IgM which bound the staphylococcal protein A via its Fc region. Examination by transmission EM of human monocyte-derived macrophages which had ingested staphylococci either coated with both antibodies and dPGL, or coated only with the IgG and IgM antibodies, demonstrated the presence of bacteria in phagosomes of control and IFN-gamma-activated macrophages. Activation of the macrophage monolayers by pretreatment with IFN-gamma markedly increased their staphylocidal activity. When dPGL coated staphylococci were ingested, killing by both control and IFN-gamma-activated macrophages was completely blocked. These results, suggesting that PGL-1 can scavenge reactive oxygen species and prevent microbial death within the phagosome, may in part explain the intracellular survival of M. leprae in certain cell types.

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