In vitro killing of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Capnocytophaga spp. by human neutrophil cathepsin G and elastase.


The purpose of this study was to compare the killing of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans with that of Capnocytophaga spp. by purified cathepsin G and elastase in vitro. Both were sensitive to killing by purified cathepsin G, but only the Capnocytophaga spp. were killed by elastase. Killing by cathepsin G exhibited logarithmic kinetics, was enhanced slightly by alkaline pH, and was enhanced greatly under hypotonic conditions. Treatment of cathepsin G with diisopropyl fluorophosphate significantly reduced its bactericidal activity against Capnocytophaga spp. but not against Escherichia coli or A. actinomycetemcomitans. The bactericidal effects of cathepsin G against Capnocytophaga sputigena and A. actinomycetemcomitans were inhibited by alpha-1-antichymotrypsin, alpha-1-antitrypsin, and alpha-2-macroglobulin but not by bovine serum albumin. We conclude that (i) cathepsin G kills Capnocytophaga spp. and A. actinomycetemcomitans, (ii) elastase kills Capnocytophaga spp., (iii) the bactericidal activity of cathepsin G is enzyme dependent against Capnocytophaga spp. and enzyme independent against A. actinomycetemcomitans, and (iv) natural plasma antiproteases may control both enzyme-dependent and enzyme-independent bactericidal activities of cathepsin G.

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