P2X7 receptor regulates internalization of antimicrobial peptide LL-37 by human macrophages that promotes intracellular pathogen clearance

Xiao Tang, Devaraj Basavarajappa, Jesper Z. Haeggström, Min Wan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bioactive peptide LL-37/hCAP18, the only human member of the cathelicidin family, plays important roles in killing various pathogens, as well as in immune modulation. We demonstrate that LL-37 is internalized by human macrophages in a time-, dose-, temperature-, and peptide sequence-dependent endocytotic process. Both clathrin- and caveolae/lipid raft-mediated endocytosis pathways are involved in LL-37 internalization. We find that the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) plays an important role in LL-37 internalization by human macrophages because significantly less internalized LL-37 was detected in macrophages pretreated with P2X7R antagonists or, more specifically, in differentiated THP-1 cells in which the P2X7R gene had been silenced. Furthermore, this P2X7R-mediated LL-37 internalization is primarily connected to the clathrin-mediated endocytosis pathway. In addition, our results demonstrate that internalized LL-37 traffics to endosomes and lysosomes and contributes to intracellular clearance of bacteria by human macrophages, coinciding with increased reactive oxygen species and lysosome formation. Finally, we show that human macrophages have the potential to import LL-37 released from activated human neutrophils. In conclusion, our study unveils a novel mechanism by which human macrophages internalize antimicrobial peptides to improve their intracellular pathogen clearance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1201
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume195
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

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