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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2005, Issue 5, Pages 280-292

Regulation of S100A8/A9 (Calprotectin) Binding to Tumor Cells by Zinc Ion and Its Implication for Apoptosis-Inducing Activity

1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Teikyo University, 1091-1 Sagamiko, Tsukui-gun, Kanagawa, 199-0195, Japan
2Departments of Biochemistry and Physics, Center for Structural Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville 37232-8725, TN, USA

Received 23 May 2005; Accepted 21 June 2005

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


S100A8/A9 (calprotectin), which is released by neutrophils under inflammatory conditions, has the capacity to induce apoptosis in various cells. We previously reported that S100A8/A9 induces apoptosis of EL-4 lymphoma cells via the uptake of extracellular zinc in a manner similar to DTPA, a membrane-impermeable zinc chelator. In this study, S100A8/A9-induced apoptosis was examined in several cell lines that are weakly sensitive to DTPA, suggesting S100A8/A9 is directly responsible for apoptosis in these cells. Since zinc inhibits apoptosis of MM46, one of these cells, the regulation by zinc of the capacity of S100A8/A9 to bind MM46 cells was studied. When MM46 cells were incubated with S100A8/A9 in standard or zinc-depleted medium, the amounts of S100A8/A9 bound to cells was markedly lower at 3 h than at 1 h. In contrast, when MM46 cells were incubated with S100A8/A9 in the presence of high levels of zinc, binding to cells was the same at 1 and 3 h. When the cells were permeabilized with saponin prior to analysis, a larger amount of cell-associated S100A8/A9 was detected at 3 h. The amount was further increased in cells treated with chloroquine, suggesting that S100A8/A9 was internalized and degraded in lysosomes. Although it has been reported that S100A8/A9 binds to heparan sulfate on cell membranes, the amount of S100A8/A9 bound to MM46 cells was not reduced by heparinase treatment, but was reduced by trypsin treatment. These results suggest that S100A8/A9 induces apoptosis by direct binding to MM46 cells, and that this activity is regulated by zinc.