CC16 Binding to α4β1 Integrin Protects against Mycoplasma pneumoniae Infection

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 Jun 1;203(11):1410-1418. doi: 10.1164/rccm.202006-2576OC.


Rationale CC16 (club cell secretory protein) is a pneumoprotein produced predominantly by pulmonary club cells. Circulating CC16 is associated with protection from the inception and progression of the two most common obstructive lung diseases (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Objectives Although exact mechanisms remain elusive, studies consistently suggest a causal role of CC16 in mediating antiinflammatory and antioxidant functions in the lung. We sought to determine any novel receptor systems that could participate in CC16's role in obstructive lung diseases. Methods Protein alignment of CC16 across species led to the discovery of a highly conserved sequence of amino acids, leucine-valine-aspartic acid (LVD), a known integrin-binding motif. Recombinant CC16 was generated with and without the putative integrin-binding site. A Mycoplasma pneumoniae mouse model and a fluorescent cellular adhesion assay were used to determine the impact of the LVD site regarding CC16 function during live infection and on cellular adhesion during inflammatory conditions. Measurements and Main Results CC16 bound to integrin α4β1), also known as the adhesion molecule VLA-4 (very late antigen 4), dependent on the presence of the LVD integrin-binding motif. During infection, recombinant CC16 rescued lung function parameters both when administered to the lung and intravenously but only when the LVD integrin-binding site was intact; likewise, neutrophil recruitment during infection and leukocyte adhesion were both impacted by the loss of the LVD site. Conclusions We discovered a novel receptor for CC16, VLA-4, which has important mechanistic implications for the role of CC16 in circulation as well as in the lung compartment.

Keywords: CC16; CCSP; VLA-4; integrins; leukocyte adhesion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Integrin alpha4beta1 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae*
  • Neutrophil Infiltration / physiology
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / prevention & control*
  • Protein Binding
  • Uteroglobin / metabolism*


  • Integrin alpha4beta1
  • Scgb1a1 protein, mouse
  • Uteroglobin