The antimicrobial peptide derived from insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5, AMP-IBP5, regulates keratinocyte functions through Mas-related gene X receptors

J Dermatol Sci. 2017 Oct;88(1):117-125. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2017.05.008. Epub 2017 May 16.


Background: In addition to their microbicidal properties, host defense peptides (HDPs) display various immunomodulatory functions, including keratinocyte production of cytokines/chemokines, proliferation, migration and wound healing. Recently, a novel HDP named AMP-IBP5 (antimicrobial peptide derived from insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5) was shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity against numerous pathogens, even at concentrations comparable to those of human β-defensins and LL-37. However, the immunomodulatory role of AMP-IBP5 in cutaneous tissue remains unknown.

Objectives: To investigate whether AMP-IBP5 triggers keratinocyte activation and to clarify its mechanism.

Methods: Production of cytokines/chemokines and growth factors was determined by appropriate ELISA kits. Cell migration was assessed by in vitro wound closure assay, whereas cell proliferation was analyzed using BrdU incorporation assay complimented with XTT assay. MAPK and NF-κB activation was determined by Western blotting. Intracellular cAMP levels were assessed using cAMP enzyme immunoassay kit.

Results: Among various cytokines/chemokines and growth factors tested, AMP-IBP5 selectively increased the production of IL-8 and VEGF. Moreover, AMP-IBP5 markedly enhanced keratinocyte migration and proliferation. AMP-IBP5-induced keratinocyte activation was mediated by Mrg X1-X4 receptors with MAPK and NF-κB pathways working downstream, as evidenced by the inhibitory effects of MrgX1-X4 siRNAs and ERK-, JNK-, p38- and NF-κB-specific inhibitors. We confirmed that AMP-IBP5 indeed induced MAPK and NF-κB activation. Furthermore, AMP-IBP5-induced VEGF but not IL-8 production correlated with an increase in intracellular cAMP.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that in addition to its antimicrobial function, AMP-IBP5 might contribute to wound healing process through activation of keratinocytes.

Keywords: Antimicrobial (host defense) peptides; MAPK; MrgX receptor; NF-κB; Skin; Wound healing.

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / immunology*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / metabolism
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 5 / immunology*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 5 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Keratinocytes / immunology*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / immunology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Regeneration / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / immunology*
  • Up-Regulation
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing / immunology*


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • CXCL8 protein, human
  • Chemokines
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 5
  • Interleukin-8
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Cyclic AMP