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Infect Immun. Apr 1995; 63(4): 1291–1297.
PMCID: PMC173149

Human CAP18: a novel antimicrobial lipopolysaccharide-binding protein.


CAP18 (18-kDa cationic antimicrobial protein) is a protein originally identified and purified from rabbit leukocytes on the basis of its capacity to bind and inhibit various activities of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Here we report the cloning of human CAP18 and characterize the anti-LPS activity of the C-terminal fragment. Oligonucleotide probes designed from the rabbit CAP18 cDNA were used to identify human CAP18 from a bone marrow cDNA library. The cDNA encodes a protein composed of a 30-amino-acid signal peptide, a 103-amino-acid N-terminal domain of unknown function, and a C-terminal domain of 37 amino acids homologous to the LPS-binding antimicrobial domain of rabbit CAP18, designated CAP18(104-140). A human CAP18-specific antiserum was generated by using CAP18 expressed as a fusion protein with the maltose-binding protein. Western blots (immunoblots) with this antiserum showed specific expression of human CAP18 in granulocytes. Synthetic human CAP18(104-140) and a more active truncated fragment, CAP18(104-135), were shown to (i) bind to erythrocytes coated with diverse strains of LPS, (ii) inhibit LPS-induced release of nitric oxide from macrophages, (iii) inhibit LPS-induced generation of tissue factor, and (iv) protect mice from LPS lethality. CAP18(104-140) may have therapeutic utility for conditions associated with elevated concentrations of LPS.

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