Generation of biologically active interleukin-1β by meprin B
Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) is a proinflammatory cytokine that is synthesized as an inactive precursor molecule that must be proteolytically processed to generate the biologically active form. Maturation of the precursor is primarily performed by caspase-1, an intracellular cysteine protease; however, processing by other proteases has been described. Meprins are cell surface and secreted metalloproteases expressed by renal and intestinal brush-border membranes, leukocytes, and cancer cells. In this study we show that purified recombinant meprin B can process the interleukin-1beta precursor to a biologically active form. Amino-terminal sequencing and mass spectrometry analysis of the product of digestion by activated meprin B determined that proteolytic cleavage resulted in an additional six amino acids relative to the site utilized by caspase-1. The biological activity of the meprin B-cleaved cytokine was confirmed by measuring the proliferative response of helper T-cells. These results suggest that meprin may play an important role in activation of this proinflammatory cytokine in various pathophysiological conditions.
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