Antimicrobial peptides are important for a healthy host-microbe homeostasis. In infections characterized by low levels of the human cathelicidin, LL-37, induction of its expression increases clearance of pathogens. Our aim was to discover signaling pathways and compounds capable of affecting the expression of LL-37. We recently observed a synergistic induction of LL-37 expression by stimulating the colonic epithelial cell-line HT-29 with lactose and phenylbutyrate (PBA). Here, we studied regulatory circuits mediating this synergism in HT-29 cells stimulated with lactose (60 g/l) and PBA (2 mM) for 24 h by using mass spectrometry and pathway analyses. Selected pathways were evaluated for their involvement in LL-37 regulation in a CAMP gene-luciferase reporter system. Three pathways were examined in detail: thyroid hormone receptor and retinoid X receptor (TR/RXR) activation, eicosanoid signaling and steroid biosynthesis. Induced expression of LL-37 was observed upon stimulation with triiodothyronine (T3, 2.5 nM-1 µM for 3-30 h) and thyroxine (T4, 2.5-10 nM for 24 h). Furthermore, the synergism of lactose and PBA was reduced in cells coincubated with inhibitors of phospholipase A2, cyclooxygenase 2 or HMG-CoA reductase. Based on these results, we conclude that proteomics and pathway analyses are valuable tools for dissecting the regulatory networks involved in LL-37 expression.
© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.