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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e34184. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034184. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Unlike for human monocytes after LPS activation, release of TNF-α by THP-1 cells is produced by a TACE catalytically different from constitutive TACE.

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Laboratoire d'Innovation Thérapeutique, UMR 7200, Faculté de Pharmacie, Université de Strasbourg, Illkirch, France.



Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine today identified as a key mediator of several chronic inflammatory diseases. TNF-α, initially synthesized as a membrane-anchored precursor (pro-TNF-α), is processed by proteolytic cleavage to generate the secreted mature form. TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE) is currently the first and single protease described as responsible for the inducible release of soluble TNF-α.


Here, we demonstrated the presence on THP-1 cells as on human monocytes of a constitutive proteolytical activity able to cleave pro-TNF-α. Revelation of the cell surface TACE protein expression confirmed that the observed catalytic activity is due to TACE. However, further studies using effective and innovative TNF-α inhibitors, as well as a highly selective TACE inhibitor, support the presence of a catalytically different sheddase activity on LPS activated THP-1 cells. It appears that this catalytically different TACE protease activity might have a significant contribution to TNF-α release in LPS activated THP-1 cells, by contrast to human monocytes where the TACE activity remains catalytically unchanged even after LPS activation.


On the surface of LPS activated THP-1 cells we identified a releasing TNF-α activity, catalytically different from the sheddase activity observed on human monocytes from healthy donors. This catalytically-modified TACE activity is different from the constitutive shedding activity and appears only upon stimulation by LPS.

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