Synthetic neutrophil extracellular traps dissect bactericidal contribution of NETs under regulation of α-1-antitrypsin

Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 28;9(17):eadf2445. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adf2445. Epub 2023 Apr 28.


Deciphering the complex interplay of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) with the surrounding environment is a challenge with notable clinical implications. To bridge the gap in knowledge, we report our findings on the antibacterial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa of synthetic NET-mimetic materials composed of nanofibrillated DNA-protein complexes. Our synthetic system makes component-by-component bottom-up analysis of NET protein effects possible. When the antimicrobial enzyme neutrophil elastase (NE) is incorporated into the bactericidal DNA-histone complexes, the resulting synthetic NET-like structure exhibits an unexpected reduction in antimicrobial activity. This critical immune function is rescued upon treatment with alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), a physiological tissue-protective protease inhibitor. This suggests a direct causal link between AAT inhibition of NE and preservation of histone-mediated antimicrobial activity. These results help better understand the complex and, at times, contradictory observations of in vivo antimicrobial effects of NETs and AAT by excluding neutrophil, cytokine, and chemoattractant contributions.

PMID:37115934 | PMC:PMC10146876 | DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adf2445


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