S100 proteins expressed in phagocytes: a novel group of damage-associated molecular pattern molecules

J Leukoc Biol. 2007 Jan;81(1):28-37. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0306170. Epub 2006 Aug 30.


Damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecules have been introduced as important proinflammatory factors of innate immunity. One example known for many years to be expressed in cells of myeloid origin are phagocytic S100 proteins, which mediate inflammatory responses and recruit inflammatory cells to sites of tissue damage. An emerging concept of pattern recognition involves the multiligand receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in sensing not only pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) but also endogenous DAMPs, including S100 proteins. S100A8, S100A9, and S100A12 are found at high concentrations in inflamed tissue, where neutrophils and monocytes belong to the most abundant cell types. They exhibit proinflammatory effects in vitro at concentrations found at sites of inflammation in vivo. Although S100A12 binds to RAGE, at least part of the proinflammatory effects of the S100A8/S100A9 complex depend upon interaction with other receptors. Because of the divergent expression patterns, the absence of S100A12 in rodents, the different interaction partners described, and the specific intracellular and extracellular effects reported for these proteins, it is important to differentiate between distinct S100 proteins rather than subsuming them with the term "S100/calgranulins." Analyzing the molecular basis of the specific effects exhibited by these proteins in greater detail bears the potential to elucidate important mechanisms of innate immunity, to establish valid biomarkers of phagocytic inflammation, and eventually to reveal novel targets for innovative anti-inflammatory therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis / metabolism
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Chemotaxis
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Phagocytes / metabolism*
  • Phagocytes / physiology
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • S100 Proteins / metabolism*


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • S100 Proteins