Neutrophil gelatinase B potentiates interleukin-8 tenfold by aminoterminal processing, whereas it degrades CTAP-III, PF-4, and GRO-α and leaves RANTES and MCP-2 intact

Philippe E. Van den Steen, Paul Proost, Anja Wuyts, Jo Van Damme and Ghislain Opdenakker


Chemokines are mediators in inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Aminoterminal truncation of chemokines results in altered specific activities and receptor recognition patterns. Truncated forms of the CXC chemokine interleukin (IL)-8 are more active than full-length IL-8 (1-77), provided the Glu-Leu-Arg (ELR) motif remains intact. Here, a positive feedback loop is demonstrated between gelatinase B, a major secreted matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-9) from neutrophils, and IL-8, the prototype chemokine active on neutrophils. Natural human neutrophil progelatinase B was purified to homogeneity and activated by stromelysin-1. Gelatinase B truncated IL-8(1-77) into IL-8(7-77), resulting in a 10- to 27-fold higher potency in neutrophil activation, as measured by the increase in intracellular Ca++concentration, secretion of gelatinase B, and neutrophil chemotaxis. This potentiation correlated with enhanced binding to neutrophils and increased signaling through CXC chemokine receptor-1 (CXCR1), but it was significantly less pronounced on a CXCR2-expressing cell line. Three other CXC chemokines—connective tissue-activating peptide-III (CTAP-III), platelet factor-4 (PF-4), and GRO-α—were degraded by gelatinase B. In contrast, the CC chemokines RANTES and monocyte chemotactic protein-2 (MCP-2) were not digested by this enzyme. The observation of differing effects of neutrophil gelatinase B on the proteolysis of IL-8 versus other CXC chemokines and on CXC receptor usage by processed IL-8 yielded insights into the relative activities of chemokines. This led to a better understanding of regulator (IL-8) and effector molecules (gelatinase B) of neutrophils and of mechanisms underlying leukocytosis, shock syndromes, and stem cell mobilization by IL-8.

  • Submitted October 11, 1999.
  • Accepted June 6, 2000.
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