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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Degradation of pulmonary surfactant protein D by Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase abrogates innate immune function.

The alveolar epithelium is lined by surfactant, a lipoprotein complex that both reduces surface tension and mediates several innate immune functions including bacterial aggregation, alteration of alveolar macrophage function, and regulation of bacterial clearance. Surfactant protein-D ( SP-D) participates in several of these immune functions, and specifically it enhances the clearance of the pulmonary pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis ( CF) patients. P. aeruginosa secretes a variety of virulence factors including elastase, a zinc-metalloprotease, which degrades both SP-A and SP-D. Here we show that SP-D is cleaved by elastase to produce a stable 35-kDa fragment in a time-, temperature-, and dose-dependent manner. Degradation is inhibited by divalent metal cations, a metal chelator, and the elastase inhibitor, phosphoramidon. Sequencing the SP-D degradation products localized the major cleavage sites to the C-terminal lectin domain. The SP-D fragment fails to bind or aggregate bacteria that are aggregated by intact SP-D. SP-D fragment is observed when normal rat bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is treated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase, and SP-D fragments are present in the BAL of CF lung allograft patients. These data show that degradation of SP-D occurs in the BAL environment and that degradation eliminates many normal immune functions of SP-D.[1]


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