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J Immunol. 2000 Sep 15;165(6):3366-74.

Bioactive proteinase 3 on the cell surface of human neutrophils: quantification, catalytic activity, and susceptibility to inhibition.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.


Although proteinase 3 (PR3) is known to have the potential to promote inflammation and injure tissues, the biologic forms and function of PR3 in polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) from healthy donors have received little attention. In this paper, we show that PMN contain 3.24 +/- SD 0.24 pg of PR3 per cell, and that the mean concentration of PR3 in azurophil granules of PMN is 13.4 mM. Low levels of PR3 are detectable on the cell surface of unstimulated PMN. Exposure of PMN to cytokines or chemoattractants alone induces modest (1.5- to 2.5-fold) increases in cell surface-bound PR3. In contrast, brief priming of PMN with cytokines, followed by activation with a chemoattractant, induces rapid and persistent, 5- to 6-fold increases in cell surface expression of PR3, while causing minimal free release of PR3. Membrane-bound PR3 on PMN is catalytically active against Boc-Alanine-Alanine-Norvaline-thiobenzyl ester and fibronectin, but in marked contrast to soluble PR3, membrane-bound PR3 is resistant to inhibition by physiologic proteinase inhibitors. PR3 appears to bind to the cell surface of PMN via a charge-dependent mechanism because exposure of fixed, activated PMN to solutions having increasing ionic strength results in elution of PR3, HLE, and CG, and there is a direct relationship between their order of elution and their isoelectric points. These data indicate that rapidly inducible PR3 expressed on the cell surface of PMN is an important bioactive form of the proteinase. If PR3 expression on the cell surface of PMN is dysregulated, it is well equipped to amplify tissue injury directly, and also indirectly via the generation of autoantibodies.

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