Cationic proteins of neutrophil azurophilic granules: Protein-protein interaction and blockade of NADPH oxidase activation

Tal Tal, Sharabani Michaela, Aviram Irit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We have previously reported inhibition of cell-free activation of the neutrophil superoxide-generating NADPH oxidase by a soluble cationic protein of neutrophil granules and by low concentrations of human defensin. Subcellular fractionation carried out in the current study indicated that the inhibitory substance was derived from azurophilic granules, was released into the medium on cell stimulation, and was resistant to phenylmethyl-sulfonyl fluoride (PMSF). Phorbol ester was the most effective stimulus for the release of the blocking activity. The possibility was raised that granule protein(s) act in vivo as negative modulators of superoxide production. Gel filtration of granule extract revealed a markedly retarded protein peak exhibiting oxidase-blocking activity and containing lysozyme as the main protein. Because lysozyme did not exert inhibitory effects on oxidase activation, association of the inhibitory protein with lysozyme was assumed. Indeed a column of immobilized lysozyme retained a fraction of the granule extract's oxidase-blocking activity. Elution with a low-pH buffer recovered a component capable of inhibition of the NADPH oxidase in stimulated neutrophils and in the cell-free system. The main 29-kDa protein band in the eluted fraction was identified as proteinase 3, a serine protease of azurophilic granules. Enzymatically active as well as PMSF-blocked conventionally purified proteinase 3 interfered with phorbol myristate acetateinduced superoxide release. These findings support the hypothesis that exocytosed granule constituents may prevent excessive activation of the NADPH oxidase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998


  • Lysozyme
  • Proteinase
  • Subcellular fractionation


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