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Anne Kasus-Jacobi, Craig A. Land, Amanda J. Stock, Jennifer L. Washburn, H. Anne Pereira; Antimicrobial Peptides Derived from the Immune Defense Protein CAP37 Inhibit TLR4 Activation by S100A9. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(4):16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.4.16.
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Corneal abrasion is a common eye injury, and its resolution can be seriously complicated by bacterial infection. We showed that topical application of the cationic antimicrobial protein of 37 kDa (CAP37) promotes corneal re-epithelialization in mice, and peptides derived from CAP37 can recapitulate the antibacterial and wound-healing effects of the full-length protein. The current study was designed to identify the molecular mechanisms mediating the wound-healing effect of CAP37 and derived bioactive peptides.
We used a TriCEPS-based, ligand-receptor glycocapture method to identify the binding partners of CAP37 on live human corneal epithelial cells using the hTCEpi cell line. We used an ELISA method to confirm binding with identified partners and test the binding with CAP37-derived peptides. We used a reporter cell line to measure activation of the identified membrane receptor by CAP37 and derived peptides.
We pulled down S100 calcium-binding protein A9 (S100A9) as a binding partner of CAP37 and found that CAP37 and four derived peptides encompassing two regions of CAP37 bind S100A9 with high affinities. We found that CAP37 and the S100A9-binding peptides could also directly interact with the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), a known receptor for S100A9. CAP37 and one peptide partially activated TLR4. The other three peptides did not activate TLR4. Finally, we found that CAP37 and all four peptides could inhibit the activation of TLR4 by S100A9.
This study identifies a mechanism of action for CAP37 and derived antimicrobial peptides that may restrain inflammatory responses to corneal injury and favor corneal re-epithelialization.
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