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Biochemistry. 2009 Dec 29;48(51):12337-44. doi: 10.1021/bi901601b.

Evidence of a specific interaction between new synthetic antisepsis agents and CD14.

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Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza, 2, 20126 Milano, Italy.


Synthetic molecules derived from natural sugars with a positively charged amino group or ammonium salt and two lipophilic chains have been shown to inhibit TLR4 activation in vitro and in vivo. To characterize the mechanism of action of this class of molecules, we investigated possible interactions with the extracellular components that bind and shuttle endotoxin [lipopolysaccharide (LPS)] to TLR4, namely, LBP, CD14, and MD-2. Molecules that inhibited TLR4 activation inhibited LBP.CD14-dependent transfer of endotoxin monomers derived from aggregates of tritiated lipooligosaccharide ([(3)H]LOS) from Neisseria meninigitidis to MD-2.TLR4, resulting in a reduced level of formation of a ([(3)H]LOS.MD-2.TLR4(ECD))(2) (M(r) approximately 190000) complex. This effect was due to inhibition of the transfer of [(3)H]LOS from aggregates in solution to sCD14 with little or no effect on [(3)H]LOS shuttling from [(3)H]LOS.sCD14 to MD-2. These compounds also inhibited transfer of the [(3)H]LOS monomer from full-length CD14 to a truncated, polyhistidine-tagged CD14. Dose-dependent inhibition of the transfer of [(3)H]LOS between the two forms of CD14 was observed with each of three different synthetic compounds that inhibited TLR4 activation but not by another structurally related analogue that lacked TLR4 antagonistic activity. Saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR data showed direct binding to CD14 by the synthetic TLR4 antagonist mediated principally through the lipid chains of the synthetic compound. Taken together, our findings strongly suggest that these compounds inhibit TLR4 activation by endotoxin by competitively occupying CD14 and thereby reducing the level of delivery of activating endotoxin to MD-2.TLR4.

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