The neutrophil serine protease proteinase 3 (PR3) is a main autoantigen in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis. PR3 surface presentation on neutrophilic granulocytes, the main effector cells, is pathogenically important. PR3 is presented by the NB1 (CD177) glycoprotein, but how the presentation develops during neutrophil differentiation is not known. An N-terminally unprocessed PR3 (proPR3) is produced early during neutrophil development and promotes myeloid cell differentiation. We therefore investigated if PR3 presentation depended on NB1 during neutrophil differentiation and if PR3 and proPR3 could both be presented by NB1. In contrast to mature neutrophils, differentiating neutrophils showed an early NB1-independent PR3 surface display that was recognized by only two of four monoclonal anti-PR3 antibodies and occurred in parallel with proPR3, but not PR3 secretion, suggesting that the NB1-independent surface PR3 was proPR3. PR3 gene expression preceeded NB1. When the NB1 receptor was detected on the surface, a mode of PR3 surface display similar to mature neutrophils developed together with the degranulation system. Ectopic expression studies showed that NB1 was a sufficient receptor for PR3 but not proPR3. ProPR3 display on the plasma membrane may influence the bone marrow microenvironment. NB1-mediated PR3 presentation depended on PR3 N-terminal processing implicating the PR3–N-terminus as NB1-binding site
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