Modulins: A new class of cytokine-inducing, pro-inflammatory bacterial virulence factor
Specific endotoxic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) binding sites on the cell membranes of murine lymphocytes and macrophages that may serve as functional receptors for LPS have recently been identified using photoactivatable cross-linking LPS derivatives. A monoclonal antibody (Mab 5D3) with specificity for this 80-kDa protein has also been generated and characterized. The capacity of MAb 5D3 to protect mice against the lethal effects of endotoxin was investigated. Pretreatment of CF1 mice with as little as 15 micrograms of MAb 5D3 provided virtually complete protection against a dose of endotoxin 10-fold greater than that required to kill all mice in an untreated control group using the galactosamine sensitization model. Significant protection was also afforded normal mice given MAb 5D3 relative to saline. Several lines of evidence suggest that MAb 5D3-mediated protection is due to the agonist properties of this antibody rather than a receptor blockade mechanism.