LL-37 Induces Polymerization and Bundling of Actin and Affects Actin Structure

Asaf Sol, Edna Blotnick, Gilad Bachrach*, Andras Muhlrad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Actin exists as a monomer (G-actin) which can be polymerized to filaments) F-actin) that under the influence of actin-binding proteins and polycations bundle and contribute to the formation of the cytoskeleton. Bundled actin from lysed cells increases the viscosity of sputum in lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. The human host defense peptide LL-37 was previously shown to induce actin bundling and was thus hypothesized to contribute to the pathogenicity of this disease. In this work, interactions between actin and the cationic LL-37 were studied by optical, proteolytic and surface plasmon resonance methods and compared to those obtained with scrambled LL-37 and with the cationic protein lysozyme. We show that LL-37 binds strongly to CaATP-G-actin while scrambled LL-37 does not. While LL-37, at superstoichiometric LL-37/actin concentrations polymerizes MgATP-G-actin, at lower non-polymerizing concentrations LL-37 inhibits actin polymerization by MgCl2 or NaCl. LL-37 bundles Mg-F-actin filaments both at low and physiological ionic strength when in equimolar or higher concentrations than those of actin. The LL-37 induced bundles are significantly less sensitive to increase in ionic strength than those induced by scrambled LL-37 and lysozyme. LL-37 in concentrations lower than those needed for actin polymerization or bundling, accelerates cleavage of both monomer and polymer actin by subtilisin. Our results indicate that the LL-37-actin interaction is partially electrostatic and partially hydrophobic and that a specific actin binding sequence in the peptide is responsible for the hydrophobic interaction. LL-37-induced bundles, which may contribute to the accumulation of sputum in cystic fibrosis, are dissociated very efficiently by DNase-1 and also by cofilin.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere50078
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2012

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