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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

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The assembly and activation of kinin-forming systems on the surface of human U-937 macrophage-like cells

Anna Barbasz1 / Andrzej Kozik2

1Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Krakow, Poland

2Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Krakow, Poland

Corresponding author

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 390, Issue 3, Pages 269–275, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2009.032, December 2008

Publication History

Published Online:


A complex of three plasma proteins, including the high molecular mass kininogen (HK), prekallikrein (PK), and factor XII (FXII), is known to assemble on cell surfaces to release bradykinin-related proinflammatory peptides (kinins). Only recently, the binding of HK to human macrophages was described in the U-937 cell line model. In the present study, the adsorption of the other components of plasma kinin-generating system to these cells was characterized. FXII was found to tightly bind to U-937 cells and was also shown to partially compete with HK for the same binding sites on the macrophage surface. The Mac-1 and gC1qR proteins were found to be receptors for FXII on the cell surface. PK indirectly docked to the macrophages via the cell-bound HK and FXII. Within the complex of these proteins assembled on the macrophage, PK could be activated by FXII/FXIIa or independently of this factor, and the active PK effectively released kinins from HK. The cell surface-bound HK could also be the substrate for tissue kallikrein approaching the cell from the bulk fluid. The kinins released at the surface are suggested to induce secondary responses in the macrophages, leading to further propagation of the inflammatory state.

Keywords: bradykinin; contact system; factor XII; monocytes; plasma prekallikrein

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