Proteomic identification of interactions between histones and plasma proteins: Implications for cytoprotection

Authors

  • Alan D. Pemberton,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian, UK
    • The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG UK Fax: +44-131-651-3903
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  • Jeremy K. Brown,

    1. The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian, UK
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  • Neil F. Inglis

    1. Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik, Midlothian, UK
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Abstract

Extracellular histones released from cells during acute inflammation contribute to organ failure and death in a mouse model of sepsis, and histones are known to exert in vitro cytotoxicity in the absence of serum. Since addition of histones to serum and plasma is known to induce protein aggregation, we reasoned that plasma proteins may afford protection from cytotoxicity. We found that MODE-K mouse small intestinal epithelial cells were protected from histone-induced toxicity in the presence of 10% FCS. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to identify histone-interacting plasma proteins that might be involved in cytoprotection. The precipitate formed following addition of calf thymus histones to human EDTA plasma was characterised by shotgun proteomics, identifying a total of 36 protein subunits, including complement components, coagulation factors, protease inhibitors and apolipoproteins. The highly sulphated glycosaminoglycan heparin inhibited histone-induced plasma protein aggregation. Moreover, histones bound to heparin agarose were capable of pulling down plasma proteins from solution, indicating their effective cross-linking properties. It was particularly notable that inter-α-trypsin inhibitor was prominent among the histone-precipitated proteins, since it contains a chondroitin sulphate glycan chain, and suggests a potential role for this protein in histone sequestration during acute inflammation in vivo.

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