Anthrax caused by Bacillus anthracis represents a major bioterroristic threat. B. anthracis produces lethal toxin (LeTx), a combination of lethal factor (LF) and protective antigen that plays a major role in anthrax pathogenesis. We demonstrate that human neutrophil α-defensins are potent inhibitors of LF. The inhibition of LF by human neutrophil protein (HNP-1) was noncompetitive. HNP-1 inhibited cleavage of a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase and restored impaired mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in LeTx-treated macrophages. HNP-1 rescued murine macrophages from B. anthracis-induced cytotoxicity, and in vivo treatment with HNP-1-3 protected mice against the fatal consequences of LeTx.
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Number of pages
|Published - 29.03.2005