Suppression of acute lung inflammation by intracellular peptide delivery of a nuclear import inhibitor

Mol Ther. 2009 May;17(5):796-802. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.18. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


Acute lung inflammation is a potentially life-threatening complication of infections due to community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), a worldwide emerging pathogen, which causes necrotizing pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). MRSA virulence factors encompass immunotoxins termed superantigens that contribute to lung inflammation. In this study, we demonstrate that staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB)-induced lung inflammation is attenuated by a cell-penetrating peptide nuclear import inhibitor of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB and other stress-responsive transcription factors (SRTFs). This inhibitor suppressed production of a wide spectrum of cytokines and chemokines induced by direct SEB airway exposure. Consequently, trafficking of neutrophils, monocytes/macrophages, and lymphocytes to the bronchoalveolar space was significantly reduced while vascular injury, manifested by increased permeability and protein leakage, was attenuated. Moreover, induction of systemic proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in response to direct SEB airway exposure was reduced. Thus, intracellular delivery of a nuclear import inhibitory peptide suppresses respiratory and systemic expression of key mediators of lung inflammation evoked by SEB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Enterotoxins / toxicity
  • Female
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Peptides / administration & dosage
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Pneumonia / chemically induced
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy*


  • Cytokines
  • Enterotoxins
  • Peptides
  • SN50 peptide
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal