Azurocidin and a homologous serine protease from neutrophils. Differential antimicrobial and proteolytic properties

J Clin Invest. 1990 Mar;85(3):904-15. doi: 10.1172/JCI114518.


Two 29-kD polypeptides, azurocidin and p29b, were purified to homogeneity from human neutrophils by acid extraction of azurophil granule membrane-associated material followed by gel filtration and reverse-phase chromatography. Azurocidin and p29b share NH2-terminal sequence homology with each other as well as with elastase, cathepsin G, and other serine proteases. p29b bound [3H]diisopropyl fluorophosphate and hydrolyzed elastin, casein, and hemoglobin. A peptide substrate for p29b could not be identified. Azurocidin neither bound [3H]diisopropyl fluorophosphate nor hydrolyzed any of the proteins, peptides, or esters tested. In microbicidal assays, purified azurocidin was comparable to p29b in activity against Escherichia coli, Streptococcus faecalis, and Candida albicans. The antimicrobial activity of azurocidin was enhanced under mildly acidic conditions, but was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by NaCl, CaCl2, or serum. Immunoblot analysis with monospecific antibodies localized greater than 90% of the azurocidin and greater than 75% of the p29b to azurophil granule-rich fractions of PMN lysates. Immunoelectron microscopy confirmed the localization of azurocidin to the azurophil granules. Azurocidin associated with the azurophil granule membrane, but did not appear to be an integral membrane protein. Thus, azurocidin and p29b are members of a family of serine protease homologs stored in azurophil granules and may play a role in inflammatory and antimicrobial processes involving PMN.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Blood Bactericidal Activity
  • Blood Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Blood Proteins / pharmacology
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Cathepsin G
  • Cathepsins / analysis
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Neutrophils / enzymology*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pancreatic Elastase / analysis
  • Serine Endopeptidases / blood*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / isolation & purification
  • Serine Endopeptidases / pharmacology


  • AZU1 protein, human
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Blood Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cathepsins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • CTSG protein, human
  • Cathepsin G
  • Pancreatic Elastase