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Nat Immunol. 2003 Mar;4(3):269-73. Epub 2003 Jan 27.

Angiogenins: a new class of microbicidal proteins involved in innate immunity.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Although angiogenins have been implicated in tumor-associated angiogenesis, their normal physiologic function remains unclear. We show that a previously uncharacterized angiogenin, Ang4, is produced by mouse Paneth cells, is secreted into the gut lumen and has bactericidal activity against intestinal microbes. Ang4 expression is induced by Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a predominant member of the gut microflora, revealing a mechanism whereby intestinal commensal bacteria influence gut microbial ecology and shape innate immunity. Furthermore, mouse Ang1 and human angiogenin, circulating proteins induced during inflammation, exhibit microbicidal activity against systemic bacterial and fungal pathogens, suggesting that they contribute to systemic responses to infection. These results establish angiogenins as a family of endogenous antimicrobial proteins.

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