Immunolocalization of the Mip protein of intracellularly and extracellularly grown Legionella pneumophila

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J.H. HELBIG, P.C. LÜCK, M. STEINERT, E. JACOBS AND M. WITT. 2001 . The macrophage infectivity potentiator (Mip) protein is an important factor in the optimal intracellular survival of Legionella pneumophila in protozoa and human cell lines. In this study we have localized the Mip protein in Legionella grown on buffered charcoal yeast extract (BCYE) agar as well as in Legionella which were ingested by Acanthamoeba castellanii. Immunogold techniques have shown that Mip is exposed on the cell surface of extracellularly grown bacteria. In A. castellanii infected with Legionella the Mip protein was also detected on host membranes which exhibited a multilamellar structure. The morphology of these structures is similar to that of respirable vesicles of amoebas by which live legionellas may be transmitted to humans. It can be assumed that the accumulation of Mip protein in the multilamellar host membranes increases the infection potential.

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