The Intracellular Granzyme B Inhibitor, Proteinase Inhibitor 9, Is Up-Regulated During Accessory Cell Maturation and Effector Cell Degranulation, and Its Overexpression Enhances CTL Potency

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Australia.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 02/2003; 170(2):805-15. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.170.2.805
Source: PubMed


Granzyme B (grB) is a serine proteinase released by cytotoxic lymphocytes (CLs) to kill abnormal cells. GrB-mediated apoptotic pathways are conserved in nucleated cells; hence, CLs require mechanisms to protect against ectopic or misdirected grB. The nucleocytoplasmic serpin, proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9), is a potent inhibitor of grB that protects cells from grB-mediated apoptosis in model systems. Here we show that PI-9 is present in CD4(+) cells, CD8(+) T cells, NK cells, and at lower levels in B cells and myeloid cells. PI-9 is up-regulated in response to grB production and degranulation, and associates with grB-containing granules in activated CTLs and NK cells. Intracellular complexes of PI-9 and grB are evident in NK cells, and overexpression of PI-9 enhances CTL potency, suggesting that cytoplasmic grB, which may threaten CL viability, is rapidly inactivated by PI-9. Because dendritic cells (DCs) acquire characteristics similar to those of target cells to activate naive CD8(+) T cells and therefore may also require protection against grB, we investigated the expression of PI-9 in DCs. PI-9 is evident in thymic DCs (CD3(-), CD4(+), CD8(-), CD45(+)), tonsillar DCs, and DC subsets purified from peripheral blood (CD16(+) monocytes and CD123(+) plasmacytoid DCs). Furthermore, PI-9 is expressed in monocyte-derived DCs and is up-regulated upon TNF-alpha-induced maturation of monocyte-derived DCs. In conclusion, the presence and subcellular localization of PI-9 in leukocytes and DCs are consistent with a protective role against ectopic or misdirected grB during an immune response.

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Available from: Marguerite Buzza, Feb 23, 2014
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