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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mechanisms of immune response regulation by innate defense regulator peptides Madera, Laurence


The growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria necessitates the development of new anti-infective therapeutics. Innate defense regulator (IDR) peptides are a novel class of immunomodulatory agents shown to combat bacterial pathogens in murine models of infection via the augmentation of host immune functions, including the stimulation of chemokine production and enhancement of leukocyte recruitment, while suppressing bacterial-induced inflammation. Although IDR-peptides present the potential for future broad-range anti-infective agents, our limited understanding of how they modulate host immunity remains an obstacle in their development as clinical therapeutics. I hypothesized that IDR-peptides impact host immunity by modulating the immune responses of monocytes, a cell population necessary for IDR-mediated protection against infection. In this study, IDR-1002 was found to be a multi-faceted regulator of monocyte migration. IDR-1002 induced the production of monocyte-specific chemokines MCP-1 and MCP-3, as well as neutrophil-specific chemokines, IL-8 and GRO-α in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), correlating with the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), p38 and extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK)-1/2, in monocytes. IDR-1002 was also found to enhance human monocyte migration towards chemokines through the enhancement of β1-integrin-mediated adhesion to fibronectin via regulation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt signalling pathway. In addition, IDR-1002 increased monocyte responsiveness to the chemokines MIP-1α and RANTES via modulation of CCR5 expression. These results demonstrate an overall promotion of monocyte motility by IDR-1002. In contrast to the immune-strengthening effects of IDR-1002, the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human PBMCs stimulated with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was suppressed by the peptide, and correlated with a suppression of LPS-induced NFκB and p38 MAPK signalling and activation of PI3K-Akt signalling in monocytes. These results demonstrate that IDR-peptides are potent modulators of human monocyte function via their extensive regulation of monocyte signalling networks, potentially accounting for their multifunctional effects on host immunity in murine models of bacterial infection.

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