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Overview
  • Most important encapsulated bacteria and fungi ("SHiN Kills Some Patients with Capsules")
    • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Haemophilus influenzae type B (B polysaccharide)
    • Neisseria meningitidis
    • Klebsiella pneumoniae 
    • Salmonella typhi
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
    • Cryptococcus neoformans
      • only encapsulated fungal pathogen
  • Other encapsulated bacteria
    • Bordetella pertussis
    • Escherichia coli
      • meningeal strains only
    • Bacillus anthracis
      • contains poly D-glutamate capsule
    • Streptococcus pyogenes
      • anti-phagocytic, non-immunogenic capsule
Physiology
  • Quellung reaction
    • antibodies bind to capsule
    • used to visualize
      • S. pneumoniae
      • H. influenzae
      • N. meningitidis
      • K. pneumoniae
  • Capsules serve as antigen in vaccines
    • H. influenzae type B vaccine
    • meningococcal vaccines
    • S. pneumoniae vaccine (pneumovax)
  • Capsules act as antiphagocytic virulence factors
  • Encapsulated bacteria can generally
    • cause meningitis
    • produce IgA protease
    • undergo transformation
      • take up DNA from their environment
  • Opsonization
    • antibodies bind to capsule to aid phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils
    • clearance of these pathogens depends on presence of C3 complement and a funcitonal spleen 
 

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