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Localization of Rac2 via the C terminus and aspartic acid 150 specifies superoxide generation, actin polarity and chemotaxis in neutrophils

Despite having a high degree of sequence similarity, the Rho guanosine triphosphatases Rac1 and Rac2 regulate distinct functions in neutrophils. Here we demonstrate that the unique Rac2 localization and functions in neutrophils are regulated by two separate C-terminal motifs, the hypervariable domain and aspartic acid 150, one of which has not previously been linked to the function of Rho GTPases. In addition, we show an unexpected dependence of Rac1 localization on Rac2 activity in these same cells, demonstrating a degree of crosstalk between two closely related Rho GTPases. Thus, we have defined specific sequences in Rac that specify subcellular localization and determine the specificity of Rac2 in neutrophil chemotaxis and superoxide generation.

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Exploitation of Interleukin-8-Induced Neutrophil Chemotaxis by the Agent of Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis

The agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) is an obligate intracellular bacterium with a tropism for neutrophils; however, the mechanisms of bacterial dissemination are not yet understood. Interleukin-8 (IL-8) is a chemokine that induces neutrophil migration to sites of infection for host defense against pathogens. We now show that HGE bacteria, and the HGE-44 protein, induce IL-8 secretion in a promyelocytic (HL-60) cell line that has been differentiated along the neutrophil lineage with retinoic acid and in neutrophils. Infected HL-60 cells also demonstrate upregulation of CXCR2, an IL-8 receptor, but not CXCR1. Human neutrophils migrate towardsEhrlichia sp.-infected cells in a chemotaxis chamber assay, and this movement can be blocked with antibodies to IL-8. Finally, immunocompetent and severe combined immunodeficient mice administered CXCR2 antisera, and CXCR2−/− mice that lack the human IL-8 receptor homologue, are much less susceptible to granulocytic ehrlichiosis than are control animals. These results demonstrate that HGE bacteria induce IL-8 production by host cells and, paradoxically, appear to exploit this chemokine to enhance infection.

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Critical role of endothelial CXCR2 in LPS-induced neutrophil migration into the lung

In models of acute lung injury, CXC chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2) mediates migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) into the lung. Since CXCR2 ligands, including CXCL1 and CXCL2/3, are chemotactic for PMNs, CXCR2 is thought to recruit PMNs by inducing chemotactic migration. In a model of PMN recruitment to the lung, aerosolized bacterial LPS inhalation induced PMN recruitment to the lung in wild-type mice, but not in littermate CXCR2–/– mice. Surprisingly, lethally irradiated wild-type mice reconstituted with CXCR2–/– BM still showed about 50% PMN recruitment into bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and into lung interstitium, but CXCR2–/– mice reconstituted with CXCR2–/– BM showed no PMN recruitment. Conversely, CXCR2–/– mice reconstituted with wild-type BM showed a surprisingly large defect in PMN recruitment, inconsistent with a role of CXCR2 on PMNs alone. Cell culture, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, and real-time RT-PCR were used to show expression of CXCR2 on pulmonary endothelial and bronchial epithelial cells. The LPS-induced increase in lung microvascular permeability as measured by Evans blue extravasation required CXCR2 on nonhematopoietic cells. Our data revealed what we believe to be a previously unrecognized role of endothelial and epithelial CXCR2 in LPS-induced PMN recruitment and lung injury.

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Septic Shock and Acute Lung Injury in Rabbits with pertonitis

The major goal of this study was to investigate the mechanisms that link the host response to a local infection in the peritoneal cavity with the development of sepsis and lung injury. Rabbits were infected by intraperitoneal inoculation of fibrin clots containing Escherichia coli at 108, 109, or 1010 cfu/clot. Physiologic, bacteriologic, and inflammatory responses were monitored, and the lungs were examined postmortem. At a dose of 108 cfu/clot the animals had resolving infection, and a dose of 109 cfu/clot resulted in persistent infection at 24 h, with minimal systemic manifestations. In contrast, inoculation of 1010 cfu/clot resulted in rapidly lethal local infection, with septic shock and lung injury. The onset of septic shock was associated with a paradoxical lack of identifiable polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN; neutrophils) in the peritoneal cavity. The absence of PMN in the peritoneum was due in part to lysis of intraperitoneal PMN, because the peritoneal fluids contained free myeloperoxidase and induced rapid death of normal rabbit PMN in vitro. Although most animals became bacteremic, only those with a severe systemic inflammation response developed lung injury. These data show that control of an infection in the first compartment in which bacteria enter the host is a critical determinant of the systemic response. Above a threshold dose of bacteria, failure of the local neutrophil response is a key mechanism associated with deleterious systemic responses. Bacteremia alone is not sufficient to cause lung injury. Lung injury occurs only in the setting of a severe systemic inflammatory response and an inadequate leukocyte response at the primary site of infection.

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Neutrophil-mediated epithelial injury during transmigration: role of elastase

Neutrophil-mediated injury to gut epithelium may lead to disruption of the epithelial barrier function with consequent organ dysfunction, but the mechanisms of this are incompletely characterized. Because the epithelial apical junctional complex, comprised of tight and adherens junctions, is responsible in part for this barrier function, we investigated the effects of neutrophil transmigration on these structures. Using a colonic epithelial cell line, we observed that neutrophils migrating across cell monolayers formed clusters that were associated with focal epithelial cell loss and the creation of circular defects within the monolayer. The loss of epithelial cells was partly attributable to neutrophil-derived proteases, likely elastase, because it was prevented by elastase inhibitors. Spatially delimited disruption of epithelial junctional complexes with focal loss of E-cadherin, β-catenin, and zonula occludens 1 was observed adjacent to clusters of transmigrating neutrophils. During neutrophil transmigration, fragments of E-cadherin were released into the apical supernatant, and inhibitors of neutrophil elastase prevented this proteolytic degradation. Addition of purified leukocyte elastase also resulted in release of E-cadherin fragments, but only after opening of tight junctions. Taken together, these data demonstrate that neutrophil-derived proteases can mediate spatially delimited disruption of epithelial apical junctions during transmigration. These processes may contribute to epithelial loss and disruption of epithelial barrier function in inflammatory diseases.

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Leukocyte Function in Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

The myeloproliferative disorders (MPD) are clonal diseases that originate from a transformed stem cell and involve all myeloid lineage. The affected cells have both proliferative and functional impairment. Therefore, we evaluated and compared neutrophil function in 31 patients with polycythemia vera (PV), idiopathic myelofibrosis (MF), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and essential thrombocytosis (ET). Neutrophil chemotaxis, random migration, bactericidal activity and superoxide anion release in these patients were simultaneously compared to those of 31 healthy controls. In this study, chemotactic activity was significantly impaired in patients with PV and CML as compared to controls (M+/-SE: 42 +/- 6 vs. 69+/- 5 cells/field; p<0.005 and 47+/-7 vs. 68+/- 5; p<0.05, respectively). The assessment of the bactericidal activity of neutrophils showed no impairment in most of the patients. In the CML group, the serum had a very strong “lytic” effect on bacteria, possibly due to the high levels of serum lysozyme (22 +/- 2 microgram/ml). The superoxide anion release was found to be normal in most of the patients. Nevertheless, in 25% of PV patients the superoxide production was impaired (less than 60% of the simultaneous controls). In ET most patients had normal neutrophil function. Regarding the effect of treatment, neutrophil chemotactic activity was found to be significantly reduced in the hydrea-treated patients, as compared to the non- treated patients (p<0.001) or healthy controls (<0.0001). We conclude that disturbances in neutrophil function are present in patients with various MPDs, except ET. This probably reflects abnormal maturation of ancessors of the damaged stem cells. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that therapy itself could affect neutrophil functions. This matter should be studied more extensively. Although infections are not common in MPD disorders, they occasionally occur. It is possible that impairment in the phagocytic function contribute to the development of infections in patients with myeloproliferative disorders.

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Mutational Switching of a Yeast tRNA Synthetase into a Mammalian-like Synthetase Cytokine

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases catalyze the attachment of amino acids to their cognate tRNAs. A link was recently established between protein biosynthesis and cytokine signal transduction. Human tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase can be split into two fragments, each of which has a distinct cytokine function. This activity is specific to the human enzyme. It is absent in the enzymes from lower organisms such as bacteria and yeast. Here, yeast tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase (TyrRS), which lacks cytokine activity, was used as a model to explore how a human tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase during evolution acquired novel functions beyond aminoacylation. We found that a rationally designed mutant yeast TyrRS(ELR) gained cytokine function. The mutant yeast enzyme gained this function without sacrifice of aminoacylation activity. Therefore, relatively simple alteration of a basic structural motif imparts cytokine activity to a tRNA synthetase while preserving its canonical function. Further work established that mutational switching of a yeast protein to a mammalian-like cytokine was specific to this synthetase and not to just any yeast ortholog of a mammalian cytokine.

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Thioredoxin, a Redox Enzyme Released in Infection and Inflammation, Is a Unique Chemoattractant for Neutrophils, Monocytes, and T Cells

Thioredoxin (Trx) is a ubiquitous intracellular protein disulfide oxidoreductase with a CXXC active site that can be released by various cell types upon activation. We show here that Trx is chemotactic for monocytes, polymorphonuclear leukocytes, and T lymphocytes, both in vitro in the standard micro Boyden chamber migration assay and in vivo in the mouse air pouch model. The potency of the chemotactic action of Trx for all leukocyte populations is in the nanomolar range, comparable with that of known chemokines. However, Trx does not increase intracellular Ca2+ and its activity is not inhibited by pertussis toxin. Thus, the chemotactic action of Trx differs from that of known chemokines in that it is G protein independent. Mutation of the active site cysteines resulted in loss of chemotactic activity, suggesting that the latter is mediated by the enzyme activity of Trx. Trx also accounted for part of the chemotactic activity released by human T lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-1–infected cells, which was inhibited by incubation with anti-Trx antibody. Since Trx production is induced by oxidants, it represents a link between oxidative stress and inflammation that is of particular interest because circulating Trx levels are elevated in inflammatory diseases and HIV infection.

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Neutrophils exhibit distinct phenotypes toward chitosans with different degrees of deacetylation: implications for cartilage repair

Osteoarthritis is characterized by the progressive destruction of cartilage in the articular joints. Novel therapies that promote resurfacing of exposed bone in focal areas are of
interest in osteoarthritis because they may delay the progression of this disabling disease in patients who develop focal lesions. Recently, the addition of 80% deacetylated chitosan to cartilage microfractures was shown to promote the regeneration of hyaline cartilage. The molecular mechanisms by which chitosan promotes cartilage regeneration remain unknown. Because neutrophils are transiently recruited to the microfracture site, the effect of 80% deacetylated chitosan on the function of neutrophils was investigated. Most studies on neutrophils use preparations of chitosan with an uncertain degree of deacetylation. For therapeutic purposes, it is of interest to determine whether the degree of deacetylation influences the response of neutrophils to chitosan. The effect of 95% deacetylated chitosan on the function of neutrophils was therefore also investigated and compared with that of 80%
deacetylated chitosan.