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The Human Host Defense Peptide LL-37 Interacts with Neisseria meningitidis Capsular Polysaccharides and Inhibits Inflammatory Mediators Release

By Susu M. Zughaier, Pavel Svoboda, Jan Pohl, David S. Stephens and William M. Shafer

Abstract

Capsular polysaccharides (CPS) are a major virulence factor in meningococcal infections and form the basis for serogroup designation and protective vaccines. Our work has identified meningococcal CPS as a pro-inflammatory ligand that functions through TLR2 and TLR4-MD2-dependent activation. We hypothesized that human cationic host defense peptides interact with CPS and influence its biologic activity. Accordingly, the interaction of meningococcal CPS with the humanderived cationic peptide LL-37, which is expressed by phagocytic and epithelial cells that interface with meningococci during infection, was investigated. LL-37 neutralized the pro-inflammatory activity of endotoxin-free CPS as assessed by TLR2 and TLR4-MD-2-dependent release of TNFa, IL-6 and IL-8 from human and murine macrophages. The cationic and hydrophobic properties of LL-37 were crucial for this inhibition, which was due to binding of LL-37 to CPS. LL-37 also inhibited the ability of meningococcal CPS to induce nitric oxide release, as well as TNFa and CXCL10 (IP-10) release from TLR4-sufficient and TLR4-deficient murine macrophages. Truncated LL-37 analogs, especially those that retained the antibacterial domain, inhibited vaccine grade CPS and meningococcal CPS prepared from the major serogroups (A, B C, Y and W135). Thus, LL-37 interaction with CPS was independent of specific glucan structure. We conclude that the capacity of meningococcal CPS to activate macrophages via TLR2 and TLR4-MD-2 can be inhibited by the human cationic host defens

Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.352.525
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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