Glycocalyx?????? Help me!

james collins collins at iamerica.net
Tue Jul 9 01:21:46 EST 1996

In article <4rpo7p$i6a at express.ior.com> sdrader at ior.com (Scott Drader) writes:
>From: sdrader at ior.com (Scott Drader)
>Subject: Glycocalyx?????? Help me!
>Date: 8 Jul 1996 01:28:25 GMT

>The glycocalyx is a sticky, viscous, gelatinous polymer that surrounds 
>some bacteria cells. It may be composed of polypetide, polysaccharide, 
>or both. depending on how it is aranged it may be called a slime layer 
>or capsule. Glycocalyx helps virulence by makeing phagocytosis harder.

>My question is that how does it make phagocytosis harder, the only 
>explation I can get is that the leucocyte has a hard time engulfing the 
>bacterium because the glycocalyx makes it slick or slippery.

>Sorry but I can not except this, do to the opening statement the 
>glycocalyx is a thick sticky polymer, I have also read that the 
>gylcocalyx helps bacteria adhere to surfaces.

>if anyone can help me out of this dubious explanation that my instructor 
>gave me I would be most greatful.

   Yes, glycocalyx does help bacteria adhere to surfaces. Oral bacteria adhere 
to tooth surfaces using there capsular material. Their capsules also bind 
adjacent bacteria, forming plaque.
   It takes a phagocytic cell longer to degrade a bacterium with a thick 
capsule. Once inside the phagocytic cell, the capsule must be broken down 
before the actual bacterial cell can be attacked. Perhaps the capsule may 
protect the bacterium from phagocytic enzymes all together.

James Collins

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