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A tumor necrosis factor-binding protein purified to homogeneity from human urine protects cells from tumor necrosis factor toxicity

Open AccessPublished:July 15, 1989DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9258(18)80162-4
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      Unfractionated preparations of the proteins of human urine provided protection against the in vitro cytocidal effect of tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
      In certain cells, the proteins decreased expression of the receptors for TNF in a temperature-dependent way.
      In all cells examined, the proteins were found to interfere also with the binding of both TNF and interleukin-1 when applied directly into the binding assays. That effect could be observed in the cold, suggesting that it was independent of cellular metabolism.
      A protein which protects cells against the cytotoxicity of TNF was purified from human urine by chromatography on CM-Sepharose followed by high performance liquid chromatography on Mono Q and Mono S columns and reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography. This protein is a very minor constituent of normal urine, with an apparent molecular weight of about 27,000 in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under both reducing and nonreducing conditions. Homogeneity of the purified protein was confirmed by microsequence analysis which revealed a single N-terminal sequence: Asp-Ser-Val-Cys-Pro-. The protein protected cells from TNF toxicity at concentrations of a few nanograms per ml and interfered with the binding of both TNF-α and TNF-β to cells, when applied simultaneously with the cytokines. However, unlike crude preparations of the urinary proteins, the purified protein did not induce in cells a decrease in ability to bind TNF nor did it interfere with the binding of interleukin-1 to its receptor. Direct, specific binding to the protein of TNF-α and, to a lesser extent, also TNF-β, but not of interleukin-1 nor interferon-γ could be demonstrated. It is suggested that this protein blocks the function of TNF by competing for TNF with the TNF receptor and not by interacting with the target cell.

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