Indexed on: 01 Jun '96Published on: 01 Jun '96Published in: Cytokine
The chicken gene, 9E3/CEF4, is a small inducible cytokine highly homologous to human IL-8 and gro alpha. It is overexpressed during wound healing and in the tissues around tumours induced by Rous sarcoma virus. More is known about the expression of 9E3 in vivo than any other of the small cytokines, yet little is known about its biochemical characteristics and functions. Here we report on some of the biochemical properties of the 9E3 gene product, the kinetics of protein secretion, the post-secretory processing of the protein, and on its association with ECM molecules. The protein: (1) is synthesized and secreted in < 10 min; (2) is not glycosylated and does not bind heparin with high affinity; (3) is secreted as a 9 kDa form and is processed to a 6-7 kDa form by plasmin, an enzyme released at wound sites and produced in association with tumours; (4) the small form binds to interstitial collagen, laminin and to a lesser extent to proteoglycan, and does not bind to collagen IV or fibronectin. This is the most rapidly secreted protein yet described in eukaryotic cells and is the first of the small inducible cytokines to be found to associate with ECM molecules other than glycosaminoglycans. Our results suggest that, given the appropriate stimulus, the level of the 9E3 cytokine could be elevated very rapidly, resulting in similarly rapid biological responses. The different modes of availability of the two forms of the molecule suggest that the two isoforms may play different roles in vivo.