The human antibacterial cathelicidin, hCAP-18, is bound to lipoproteins in plasma

O Sørensen, T Bratt, A H Johnsen, M T Madsen, N Borregaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cathelicidins are a family of antibacterial and lipopolysaccharide-binding proteins. hCAP-18, the only human cathelicidin, is a major protein of the specific granules of human neutrophils. The plasma level of hCAP-18 is >20-fold higher than that of other specific granule proteins relative to their levels within circulating neutrophils. The aim of this study was to elucidate the background for this high plasma level of hCAP-18. Plasma was subjected to molecular sieve chromatography, and hCAP-18 was found in distinct high molecular mass fractions that coeluted with apolipoproteins A-I and B, respectively. The association of hCAP-18 with lipoproteins was validated by the cofractionation of hCAP-18 with lipoproteins using two different methods for isolation of lipoproteins from plasma. Furthermore, the level of hCAP-18 in delipidated plasma was <1% of that in normal plasma. Immunoprecipitation of very low, low, and high density lipoprotein particles with anti-apolipoprotein antibodies resulted in coprecipitation of hCAP-18. The binding of hCAP-18 to lipoproteins was mediated by the antibacterial C-terminal part of the protein. The binding of hCAP-18 to lipoproteins suggests that lipoproteins may play an important role as a reservoir of this antimicrobial protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22445-51
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Free keywords

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Binding Sites
  • Blood Bactericidal Activity
  • Blood Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cathelicidins
  • Exocytosis
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neutrophils
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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