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Updated: Jan 11 2020

Encapsulated Bacteria

  • Overview
      • Yersinia pestis
      • Escherichia coli
        • meningeal strains only
      • Salmonella typhi
      • Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes
      • Neisseria meningitidis
      • Klebsiella pneumoniae
      • Haemophilus influenzae type B (B polysaccharide)
      • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
      • Bordetella pertussis and Bacillus anthracis (contains poly D-glutamate capsule)
      • Cryptococcus neoformans
        • only encapsulated fungal pathogen
  • 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 or IgG and a functional spleen
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