Neutrophil proteases degrade autoepitopes of NET-associated proteins.
ABSTRACT: Neutrophils can form neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) to capture microbes and facilitate their clearance. NETs consist of decondensed chromatin decorated with anti-microbial proteins. Here, we describe the effect of neutrophil proteases on the protein content of NETs. We show that the neutrophil serine proteases degrade several neutrophil proteins associated with NETs. Interestingly, the anti-bacterial proteins associated with NETs, such as myeloperoxidase, calgranulin B and neutrophil elastase (NE), seem to be less susceptible to proteolytic degradation than other NET proteins, such as actin and MNDA. NETs have been proposed to play a role in autoimmune reactions. Our data demonstrate that a large number of the autoepitopes of NET proteins that are recognized by autoantibodies produced by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are also removed by the proteases. In conclusion, neutrophil serine proteases have a major impact on the NET proteome and the proteolytic changes of NET-associated proteins may counteract autoimmune reactions to NET components.
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:Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) composed of DNA decorated with histones and proteases trap and kill bacteria but also injure host tissue. Here we show that during a bloodstream infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the majority of bacteria are sequestered immediately by hepatic Kupffer cells, resulting in transient increases in liver enzymes, focal ischaemic areas and a robust neutrophil infiltration into the liver. The neutrophils release NETs into the liver vasculature, which remain anchored to the vascular wall via von Willebrand factor and reveal significant neutrophil elastase (NE) proteolytic activity. Importantly, DNase although very effective at DNA removal, and somewhat effective at inhibiting NE proteolytic activity, fails to remove the majority of histones from the vessel wall and only partly reduces injury. By contrast, inhibition of NET production as modelled by PAD4-deficiency, or prevention of NET formation and proteolytic activity as modelled in NE(-/-) mice prevent collateral host tissue damage.
Project description:Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) consist of a decondensed DNA scaffold decorated with neutrophil-derived proteins. The proteome of NETs, or "NETome," has been largely elucidated in vitro. However, components such as plasma and extracellular matrix proteins may affect the NETome under physiological conditions. Here, using a reductionistic approach, we explored the effects of two proteases active during injury and wounding, human thrombin and plasmin, on the NETome. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, we identified a total of 164 proteins, including those previously not described in NETs. The serine proteases, particularly thrombin, were also found to interact with DNA and bound to NETs in vitro. Among the most abundant proteins were those identified previously, including histones, neutrophil elastase, and antimicrobial proteins. We observed reduced histone (H2B, H3, and H4) and neutrophil elastase levels upon the addition of the two proteases. Analyses of NET-derived tryptic peptides identified subtle changes upon protease treatments. Our results provide evidence that exogenous proteases, present during wounding and inflammation, influence the NETome. Taken together, regulation of NETs and their proteins under different physiological conditions may affect their roles in infection, inflammation, and the host response.
Project description:In response to various infectious and sterile stimuli neutrophils release chromatin decorated with bactericidal proteins, referred to as NETs. Their scaffolds are formed from chromatin fibers which display an apparent diameter of 15-17 nm and mainly consist from DNA (2 nm) and DNA-associated histones (11 nm). The NET-forming strands are thus not naked DNA but higher ordered chromatin structures. The histones may be released from the NET, especially if their tail arginines have been citrullinated. Several studies indicate that extracellular histones are toxic for mammalian epithelia and endothelia and contribute to the microvascular dysfunction observed e.g., in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases or sepsis. NETs formed at sites of very high neutrophil densities tend to clump and form fairly stable enzymatically active aggregates, referred to as aggNETs. The latter are endowed with a bunch of enzymes that cleave, bind, and/or modify autologous as well as foreign macromolecules. The tight binding of the serine proteases to the matrix precludes the spread of these toxic enzymes into the tissue but still allows the access of soluble inflammatory mediators to the enzymatic active internal surfaces of the NETs where they are degraded. Here, we describe that externally added histones are removed from culture supernatants of aggNETs. We will address the fate of the histones and discuss the feature on the background of neutrophil-driven diseases and the resolution of inflammation.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which patients develop autoantibodies to DNA, histones, and often to neutrophil proteins. These form immune complexes that are pathogenic and may cause lupus nephritis. In SLE patients, infections can initiate flares and are a major cause of mortality. Neutrophils respond to infections and release extracellular traps (NETs), which are antimicrobial and are made of DNA, histones, and neutrophil proteins. The timely removal of NETs may be crucial for tissue homeostasis to avoid presentation of self-antigens. We tested the hypothesis that SLE patients cannot clear NETs, contributing to the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. Here we show that serum endonuclease DNase1 is essential for disassembly of NETs. Interestingly, a subset of SLE patients' sera degraded NETs poorly. Two mechanisms caused this impaired NET degradation: (i) the presence of DNase1 inhibitors or (ii) anti-NET antibodies prevented DNase1 access to NETs. Impairment of DNase1 function and failure to dismantle NETs correlated with kidney involvement. Hence, identification of SLE patients who cannot dismantle NETs might be a useful indicator of renal involvement. Moreover, NETs might represent a therapeutic target in SLE.
Project description:In response to antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA), activated neutrophils release decondensed chromatin associated with cytoplasmic granular proteins composed of proteolytic enzymes and myeloperoxidase (MPO); these complexes are named neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NET formation requires peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) to citrullinate chromatin histones and also MPO and neutrophil elastase to aid in decondensation and release of chromatin. Immunostaining of renal biopsy revealed that NET components of citrullinated histone, MPO and PAD4 were concurrently deposited both around fibrinoid necrosis in necrotizing glomerulonephritis in the early focal phase of ANCA-associated polyangiitis and along an interlobular arterial wall.
Project description:Ocular bacterial keratitis, often associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial infection, commonly occurs in contact lens wearers and may lead to vision impairment. In this study, we analyzed the contribution of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) to the mediation of protection during ocular keratitis. Both invasive and cytotoxic P. aeruginosa clinical isolates induced NET release by neutrophils. NETs carried the characteristic histone proteins, elastase, lysozyme, myeloperoxidase, and metabolic enzymes. While the invasive P. aeruginosa strains PAO1 (serogroup O5) and 6294 (serogroup O6) were trapped by NETs, the cytotoxic P. aeruginosa strains 6077, 6206 (serogroup O11), and PA14 (serogroup 010) were less sensitive to NET capture. The mechanism of escape by the cytotoxic strains from adhesion to NETs involved the shedding of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) that outcompeted the cytotoxic P. aeruginosa strains for NET binding. When ocular infection was caused by an invasive strain in vivo, NETs were released at the ocular surface to capture bacteria, limiting their spread. Treatment with MNase I had a dose-dependent effect, with low doses of MNase speeding up bacterial clearance and high doses of MNase having toxic consequences. Cumulatively, our data suggest that NET-mediated immunity is a two-step process. Initially, pathogens attach to NET fragments; subsequently, upon nuclease activity, active serine proteases, which proteolytically degrade NET-associated proteins and promote DNase activity, are released. Therefore, a balance between NET production and NET degradation is needed to achieve maximal NET immunity.
Project description:Neutrophils have an important role in rapid antimicrobial defenses against and resolution of urinary tract infections (UTIs). We show that a mechanism known as neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation is a strategy to combat pathogens in the urinary tract. Viscous aggregates that were present in human urine sediments revealed high extracellular DNA content. The DNA formed a scaffold to which antimicrobial effector proteins derived from different neutrophil subcellular compartments bound. Treatment with deoxyribonuclease I solubilized these structures. We observed massive proteolytic degradation in the NETs with apparently dominant roles for the neutrophil granule proteases elastase, proteinase 3, and cathepsin G. In a UTI case with Staphylococcus aureus as the infectious agent, high abundance of autolysins and immune evasion factors in a cell-free NET extract suggested that controlled cell wall autolysis plays a role in derailing the host immune response and allows some bacterial cells to survive following entrapment in NETs.
Project description:The release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), a mesh of DNA, histones and neutrophil proteases from neutrophils, was first demonstrated as a host defence against pathogens. Recently it became clear that NETs are also released in pathological conditions. NETs released in the blood can activate thrombosis and initiate a cascade of platelet responses. However, it is not well understood if these responses are mediated through direct or indirect interactions. We investigated whether cell-free NETs can induce aggregation of washed human platelets in vitro and the contribution of NET-derived extracellular DNA and histones to platelet activation response.Isolated human neutrophils were stimulated with PMA to produce robust and consistent NETs. Cell-free NETs were isolated and characterised by examining DNA-histone complexes and quantification of neutrophil elastase with ELISA. NETs were incubated with washed human platelets to assess several platelet activation responses. Using pharmacological inhibitors, we explored the role of different NET components, as well as main platelet receptors, and downstream signalling pathways involved in NET-induced platelet aggregation.Cell-free NETs directly induced dose-dependent platelet aggregation, dense granule secretion and procoagulant phosphatidyl serine exposure on platelets. Surprisingly, we found that inhibition of NET-derived DNA and histones did not affect NET-induced platelet aggregation or activation. We further identified the molecular pathways involved in NET-activated platelets. The most potent single modulator of NET-induced platelet responses included NET-bound cathepsin G, platelet Syk kinase, and P2Y12 and ?IIb?3 receptors.In vitro-generated NETs can directly induce marked aggregation of washed human platelets. Pre-treatment of NETs with DNase or heparin did not reduce NET-induced activation or aggregation of human washed platelets. We further identified the molecular pathways activated in platelets in response to NETs. Taken together, we conclude that targeting certain platelet activation pathways, rather than the NET scaffold, has a more profound reduction on NET-induced platelet aggregation.
Project description:We previously established that neutrophil-derived dipeptidyl peptidase I (DPPI) is essential for experimental abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) development. Because DPPI activates several neutrophil serine proteases, it remains to be determined whether the AAA-promoting effect of DPPI is mediated by neutrophil serine proteases.Using an elastase-induced AAA model, we demonstrate that the absence of 2 neutrophil serine proteases, neutrophil elastase and proteinase-3, recapitulates the AAA-resistant phenotype of DPPI-deficient mice. DPPI and neutrophil serine proteases direct the in vitro and in vivo release of extracellular structures termed neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Administration of DNase1, which dismantles NETs, suppresses elastase-induced AAA in wild-type animals and in DPPI-deficient mice reconstituted with wild-type neutrophils. NETs also contain the cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide that complexes with self-DNA in recruiting plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), inducing type I interferons (IFNs) and promoting AAA in DPPI-deficient mice. Conversely, depletion of pDCs or blockade of type I IFNs suppresses experimental AAA. Moreover, we find an abundance of human cathelicidin peptide, a 37 amino acid sequence starting with 2 leucines and the human orthologue of cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide, in the vicinity of pDCs in human AAA tissues. Increased type I IFN mRNA expression is observed in human AAA tissues and circulating IFN-? is detected in ?50% of the AAA sera examined.These results suggest that neutrophil protease-mediated NET release contributes to elastase-induced AAA through pDC activation and type I IFN production. These findings increase our understanding of the pathways underlying AAA inflammatory responses and suggest that limiting NET, pDC, and type I IFN activities may suppress aneurysm progression.