Activation-dependent proteolytic degradation of polymorphonuclear CD11b

Br J Haematol. 2000 Dec;111(3):934-42.


CD11b/CD18 is the principal integrin of polymorphonuclear (PMN) leucocytes and is involved in their adhesion, migration and phagocytosis. In quiescent cells, the receptor is stored in intracellular granules from where it is translocated to the cell surface in response to a variety of stimuli. In this study, we demonstrated that strong stimulation of PMNs not only leads to the upregulation of CD11b surface expression, but also to the subsequent time-dependent apparent loss of this receptor, as detected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) using a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against an N-terminal CD11b epitope. This epitope loss was observed following either direct stimulation of protein kinase C (PKC) with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) or after multiple receptor stimulation using a combination of the agonist N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP) and the priming agents granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and platelet factor (PF) 4. However, upregulation following weak stimulation with FMLP alone was not followed by subsequent epitope loss of the receptor. The increases and subsequent decreases in CD11b expression induced by PMA were paralleled by an increase and a decrease in PMN adhesion to CD11b-specific ligands, fibrinogen and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and Western blot analysis showed that this epitope loss of PMN CD11b was the result of proteolytic degradation of the N-terminal region of the molecule. The use of a range of proteinase inhibitors indicated that this CD11b degradation involves a cell-associated serine proteinase. This is the first demonstration of the proteolytic alteration of CD11b in response to strong PMN stimulation. Given the central role of CD11b/CD18 in all aspects of PMN function, this alteration of the CD11b molecule and its effect on PMN adhesion are probably of considerable pathophysiological importance.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • N-Formylmethionine Leucyl-Phenylalanine / pharmacology
  • Neutrophil Activation*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Platelet Factor 4 / pharmacology
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Macrophage-1 Antigen
  • Platelet Factor 4
  • N-Formylmethionine Leucyl-Phenylalanine
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Peptide Hydrolases
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate