Papillon-Lefevre syndrome patient reveals species-dependent requirements for neutrophil defenses.
ABSTRACT: Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome (PLS) results from mutations that inactivate cysteine protease cathepsin C (CTSC), which processes a variety of serine proteases considered essential for antimicrobial defense. Despite serine protease-deficient immune cell populations, PLS patients do not exhibit marked immunodeficiency. Here, we characterized a 24-year-old woman who had suffered from severe juvenile periodontal disease, but was otherwise healthy, and identified a homozygous missense mutation in CTSC indicative of PLS. Proteome analysis of patient neutrophil granules revealed that several proteins that normally localize to azurophil granules, including the major serine proteases, elastase, cathepsin G, and proteinase 3, were absent. Accordingly, neutrophils from this patient were incapable of producing neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in response to ROS and were unable to process endogenous cathelicidin hCAP-18 into the antibacterial peptide LL-37 in response to ionomycin. In immature myeloid cells from patient bone marrow, biosynthesis of CTSC and neutrophil serine proteases appeared normal along with initial processing and sorting to cellular storage. In contrast, these proteins were completely absent in mature neutrophils, indicating that CTSC mutation promotes protease degradation in more mature hematopoietic subsets, but does not affect protease production in progenitor cells. Together, these data indicate CTSC protects serine proteases from degradation in mature immune cells and suggest that neutrophil serine proteases are dispensable for human immunoprotection.
Project description:Polymorphonuclear neutrophils are the first cells recruited to inflammatory sites and form the earliest line of defense against invading microorganisms. Neutrophil elastase, proteinase 3, and cathepsin G are three hematopoietic serine proteases stored in large quantities in neutrophil cytoplasmic azurophilic granules. They act in combination with reactive oxygen species to help degrade engulfed microorganisms inside phagolysosomes. These proteases are also externalized in an active form during neutrophil activation at inflammatory sites, thus contributing to the regulation of inflammatory and immune responses. As multifunctional proteases, they also play a regulatory role in noninfectious inflammatory diseases. Mutations in the ELA2/ELANE gene, encoding neutrophil elastase, are the cause of human congenital neutropenia. Neutrophil membrane-bound proteinase 3 serves as an autoantigen in Wegener granulomatosis, a systemic autoimmune vasculitis. All three proteases are affected by mutations of the gene (CTSC) encoding dipeptidyl peptidase I, a protease required for activation of their proform before storage in cytoplasmic granules. Mutations of CTSC cause Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome. Because of their roles in host defense and disease, elastase, proteinase 3, and cathepsin G are of interest as potential therapeutic targets. In this review, we describe the physicochemical functions of these proteases, toward a goal of better delineating their role in human diseases and identifying new therapeutic strategies based on the modulation of their bioavailability and activity. We also describe how nonhuman primate experimental models could assist with testing the efficacy of proposed therapeutic strategies.
Project description:The deepest evolutionary branches of the trypsin/chymotrypsin family of serine proteases are represented by the digestive enzymes of the gastrointestinal tract and the multi-domain proteases of the blood coagulation and complement system. Similar to the very old digestive system, highly diverse cleavage specificities emerged in various cell lineages of the immune defense system during vertebrate evolution. The four neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs) expressed in the myelomonocyte lineage, neutrophil elastase, proteinase 3, cathepsin G, and neutrophil serine protease 4, collectively display a broad repertoire of (S1) specificities. The origin of NSPs can be traced back to a circulating liver-derived trypsin-like protease, the complement factor D ancestor, whose activity is tightly controlled by substrate-induced activation and TNF?-induced locally upregulated protein secretion. However, the present-day descendants are produced and converted to mature enzymes in precursor cells of the bone marrow and are safely sequestered in granules of circulating neutrophils. The potential site and duration of action of these cell-associated serine proteases are tightly controlled by the recruitment and activation of neutrophils, by stimulus-dependent regulated secretion of the granules, and by various soluble inhibitors in plasma, interstitial fluids, and in the inflammatory exudate. An extraordinary dynamic range and acceleration of immediate defense responses have been achieved by exploiting the high structural plasticity of the trypsin fold.
Project description:Neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs) in cytoplasmic granules of neutrophils are regarded as important antimicrobial defense weapons after engulfment and exposure of pathogens to the content of primary granules. Despite intensive studies on neutrophils during the last three decades, only three active serine proteases, neutrophil elastase (NE), cathepsin G (CG), and proteinase 3 (PR3) have been identified in these short-lived cells. Here, we report on the identification of a fourth serine protease (NSP4) with 39% identity to NE and PR3, but arginine specificity, yet sharing features like propeptide processing by dipeptidyl peptidase I, storage, and release as an active enzyme with the three active proteases. We established monoclonal antibodies against NSP4, excluded cross-reactivity to human granzymes, NE, CG, PR3, and azurocidin, and screened for NSP4 protein expression in various human tissues and blood leukocyte populations. Only granulocyte precursors and neutrophil populations from peripheral blood were positive. The content of NSP4 in neutrophil lysates, however, was about 20-fold lower compared with CG. Upon neutrophil activation, NSP4 was released into the supernatant. Profiling its specificity with peptide libraries from Escherichia coli revealed a preference for arginine in P1; it cleaved Tyr-Arg-Phe-Arg-AMC and Ala-Pro-Nva-thiobenzyl esters. NSP4 was inhibited by ?(1)-proteinase inhibitor (?(1)-antitrypsin), C1 inhibitor, and most efficiently by antithrombin-heparin, but not by elafin, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor, ?(1)-antichymotrypsin, and monocyte-neutrophil elastase inhibitor. Functional specialization and preferred natural substrates of NSP4 remain to be determined to understand the biological interplay of all four NSPs during neutrophil responses.
Project description:Membrane-bound proteinase 3 (PR3m) is the main target antigen of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) in granulomatosis with polyangiitis, a systemic small-vessel vasculitis. Binding of ANCA to PR3m triggers neutrophil activation with the secretion of enzymatically active PR3 and related neutrophil serine proteases, thereby contributing to vascular damage. PR3 and related proteases are activated from pro-forms by the lysosomal cysteine protease cathepsin C (CatC) during neutrophil maturation. We hypothesized that pharmacological inhibition of CatC provides an effective measure to reduce PR3m and therefore has implications as a novel therapeutic approach in granulomatosis with polyangiitis. We first studied neutrophilic PR3 from 24 patients with Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome (PLS), a genetic form of CatC deficiency. PLS neutrophil lysates showed a largely reduced but still detectable (0.5-4%) PR3 activity when compared with healthy control cells. Despite extremely low levels of cellular PR3, the amount of constitutive PR3m expressed on the surface of quiescent neutrophils and the typical bimodal membrane distribution pattern were similar to what was observed in healthy neutrophils. However, following cell activation, there was no significant increase in the total amount of PR3m on PLS neutrophils, whereas the total amount of PR3m on healthy neutrophils was significantly increased. We then explored the effect of pharmacological CatC inhibition on PR3 stability in normal neutrophils using a potent cell-permeable CatC inhibitor and a CD34+ hematopoietic stem cell model. Human CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells were treated with the inhibitor during neutrophil differentiation over 10 days. We observed strong reductions in PR3m, cellular PR3 protein, and proteolytic PR3 activity, whereas neutrophil differentiation was not compromised.
Project description:AIMS:Cathepsin C (CTSC) is necessary for the activation of several serine proteases including neutrophil elastase (NE), cathepsin G and proteinase 3. GSK2793660 is an oral, irreversible inhibitor of CTSC that is hypothesized to provide an alternative route to achieve NE inhibition and was tested in a Phase I study. METHODS:Single escalating oral doses of GSK2793660 from 0.5 to 20 mg or placebo were administered in a randomized crossover design to healthy male subjects; a separate cohort received once daily doses of 12 mg or placebo for 21 days. Data were collected on safety, pharmacokinetics, CTSC enzyme inhibition and blood biomarkers. RESULTS:Single, oral doses of GSK2793660 were able to dose-dependently inhibit whole blood CTSC activity. Once daily dosing of 12 mg GSK2793660 for 21 days achieved ?90% inhibition (95% CI: 56, 130) of CTSC within 3 h on day 1. Only modest reductions of whole blood enzyme activity of approximately 20% were observed for NE, cathepsin G and proteinase 3. Seven of 10 subjects receiving repeat doses of GSK2793660 manifested epidermal desquamation on palmar and plantar surfaces beginning 7-10 days after dosing commencement. There were no other clinically important safety findings. CONCLUSIONS:GSK2793660 inhibited CTSC activity but not the activity of downstream neutrophil serine proteases. The palmar-plantar epidermal desquamation suggests a previously unidentified role for CTSC or one of its target proteins in the maintenance and integrity of the epidermis at these sites, with some similarities to the phenotype of CTSC-deficient humans.
Project description:Human ?-tryptase is stored in secretory granules of human mast cells as a heparin-stabilized tetramer. ?-Protryptase in solution can be directly processed to the mature enzyme by cathepsin (CTS) L and CTSB, and sequentially processed by autocatalysis at R(-3), followed by CTSC proteolysis. However, it is uncertain which CTS is involved in protryptase processing inside human mast cells, because murine bone marrow-derived mast cells from CTSC-deficient mice convert protryptase (pro-mouse mast cell protease-6) to mature mouse mast cell protease-6. This finding suggests that other proteases are important for processing human ?-protryptase. In the current study, reduction of either CTSB or CTSL activity inside HMC-1 cells by short hairpin RNA silencing or CTS-specific pharmacologic inhibitors substantially reduced mature ?-tryptase formation. Similar reductions of tryptase levels in primary skin-derived mast cells were observed with these pharmacologic inhibitors. In contrast, protryptase processing was minimally reduced by short hairpin RNA silencing of CTSC. A putative pharmacologic inhibitor of CTSC markedly reduced tryptase levels, suggesting an off-target effect. Skin mast cells contain substantially greater amounts of CTSL and CTSB than do HMC-1 cells, the opposite being found for CTSC. Both CTSL and CTSB colocalize to the secretory granule compartment of skin mast cells. Thus, CTSL and CTSB are central to the processing of protryptase(s) in human mast cells and are potential targets for attenuating production of mature tryptase in vivo.
Project description:Neutrophils kill bacteria generally through oxidative and nonoxidative mechanisms. Whereas much research has focused on the enzymes essential for neutrophil killing, little is known about the regulatory molecules responsible for such killing. In this study, we investigated the role of olfactomedin 4 (OLFM4), an olfactomedin-related glycoprotein, in neutrophil bactericidal capability and host innate immunity. Neutrophils from OLFM4?/? mice have increased intracellular killing of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in vitro. The OLFM4?/? mice have enhanced in vivo bacterial clearance and are more resistant to sepsis when challenged with S. aureus or E. coli by i.p. injection. OLFM4 was found to interact with cathepsin C, a cysteine protease that plays an important role in bacterial killing and immune regulation. We demonstrated that OLFM4 inhibited cathepsin C activity in vitro and in vivo. The cathepsin C activity in neutrophils from OLFM4?/? mice was significantly higher than that in neutrophils from wild-type littermate mice. The activities of three serine proteases (neutrophil elastase, cathepsin G, and proteinase 3), which require cathepsin C activity for processing and maturity, were also significantly higher in OLFM4?/? neutrophils. The bacterial killing and clearance capabilities observed in OLFM4?/? mice that were enhanced relative to wild-type mice were significantly compromised by the additional loss of cathepsin C in mice with OLFM4 and cathepsin C double deficiency. These results indicate that OLFM4 is an important negative regulator of neutrophil bactericidal activity by restricting cathepsin C activity and its downstream granule-associated serine proteases.
Project description:Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) consist of antimicrobial molecules embedded in a web of extracellular DNA. Formation of NETs is considered to be a defense mechanism utilized by neutrophils to ensnare and kill invading pathogens, and has been recently termed NETosis. Neutrophils can be stimulated to undergo NETosis ex vivo, and are predicted to contain high levels of serine proteases, such as neutrophil elastase (NE), cathepsin G (CG) and proteinase 3 (PR3). Serine proteases are important effectors of neutrophil-mediated immunity, which function directly by degrading pathogenic virulent factors and indirectly via proteolytic activation or deactivation of cytokines, chemokines and receptors. In this study, we utilized a diverse and unbiased peptide library to detect and profile protease activity associated with NETs induced by phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA). We obtained a "proteolytic signature" from NETs derived from healthy donor neutrophils and used proteomics to assist in the identification of the source of this proteolytic activity. In addition, we profiled each neutrophil serine protease and included the newly identified enzyme, neutrophil serine protease 4 (NSP4). Each enzyme had overlapping yet distinct endopeptidase activities and often cleaved at unique sites within the same peptide substrate. The dominant proteolytic activity in NETs was attributed to NE; however, cleavage sites corresponding to CG and PR3 activity were evident. When NE was immunodepleted, the remaining activity was attributed to CG and to a lesser extent PR3 and NSP4. Our results suggest that blocking NE activity would abrogate the major protease activity associated with NETs. In addition, the newly identified substrate specificity signatures will guide the design of more specific probes and inhibitors that target NET-associated proteases.
Project description:Infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gc) is marked by an influx of neutrophils to the site of infection. Despite a robust immune response, viable Gc can be recovered from neutrophil-rich gonorrhoeal secretions. Gc enzymatically modifies the lipid A portion of lipooligosaccharide by the addition of phosphoethanolamine to the phosphate group at the 4' position. Loss of lipooligosaccharide phosphoethanolamine transferase A (LptA), the enzyme catalysing this reaction, increases bacterial sensitivity to killing by human complement and cationic antimicrobial peptides. Here, we investigated the importance of LptA for interactions between Gc and human neutrophils. We found that lptA mutant Gc was significantly more sensitive to killing by human neutrophils. Three mechanisms underlie the increased sensitivity of lptA mutant Gc to neutrophils. (i) lptA mutant Gc is more likely to reside in mature phagolysosomes than LptA-expressing bacteria. (ii) lptA mutant Gc is more sensitive to killing by components found in neutrophil granules, including CAP37/azurocidin, human neutrophil peptide 1 and the serine protease cathepsin G. (iii) lptA mutant Gc is more susceptible to killing by antimicrobial components that are exocytosed from neutrophils, including those decorating neutrophil extracellular traps. By increasing the resistance of Gc to the bactericidal activity of neutrophils, LptA-catalysed modification of lipooligosaccharide enhances survival of Gc from the human inflammatory response during acute gonorrhoea.
Project description:The azurophilic granules of human neutrophils contain four ?-defensins called human neutrophil peptides (HNPs 1-4). HNPs are tridisulfide-linked antimicrobial peptides involved in the intracellular killing of organisms phagocytosed by neutrophils. The peptides are produced as inactive precursors (proHNPs) which are processed to active microbicides by as yet unidentified convertases. ProHNP1 was expressed in E. coli and the affinity-purified propeptide isolated as two species, one containing mature HNP1 sequence with native disulfide linkages ("folded proHNP1") and the other containing non-native disulfide linked proHNP1 conformers (misfolded proHNP1). Native HNP1, liberated by CNBr treatment of folded proHNP1, was microbicidal against Staphylococcus aureus, but the peptide derived from misfolded proHNP1 was inactive. We hypothesized that neutrophil elastase (NE), proteinase 3 (PR3) or cathepsin G (CG), serine proteases that co-localize with HNPs in azurophil granules, are proHNP1 activating convertases. Folded proHNP1 was converted to mature HNP1 by both NE and PR3, but CG generated an HNP1 variant with an N-terminal dipeptide extension. NE and PR3 cleaved folded proHNP1 to produce a peptide indistinguishable from native HNP1 purified from neutrophils, and the microbicidal activities of in vitro derived and natural HNP1 peptides were equivalent. In contrast, misfolded proHNP1 conformers were degraded extensively under the same conditions. Thus, NE and PR3 possess proHNP1 convertase activity that requires the presence of the native HNP1 disulfide motif for high fidelity activation of the precursor in vitro.