Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase disables proteinase-activated receptor 2 in respiratory epithelial cells

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2005 May;32(5):411-9. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2004-0274OC. Epub 2005 Feb 10.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major lung pathogen in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, secretes an elastolytic metalloproteinase (EPa) contributing to bacterial pathogenicity. Proteinase-activated receptor 2 (PAR2), implicated in the pulmonary innate defense, is activated by the cleavage of its extracellular N-terminal domain, unmasking a new N-terminal sequence starting with SLIGKV, which binds intramolecularly and activates PAR2. We show that EPa cleaves the N-terminal domain of PAR2 from the cell surface without triggering receptor endocytosis as trypsin does. As evaluated by measurements of cytosolic calcium as well as prostaglandin E(2) and interleukin-8 production, this cleavage does not activate PAR2, but rather disarms the receptor for subsequent activation by trypsin, but not by the synthetic receptor-activating peptide, SLIGKV-NH(2). Proteolysis by EPa of synthetic peptides representing the N-terminal cleavage/activation sequences of either human or rat PAR2 indicates that cleavages resulting from EPa activity would not produce receptor-activating tethered ligands, but would disarm PAR2 in regard to any further activating proteolysis by activating proteinases. Our data indicate that a pathogen-derived proteinase like EPa can potentially silence the function of PAR2 in the respiratory tract, thereby altering the host innate defense mechanisms and respiratory functions, and thus contributing to pathogenesis in the setting of a disease like CF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Elastase / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / enzymology*
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / metabolism*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / cytology*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptor, PAR-2
  • Pancreatic Elastase