Chemical and structural modifications of pulmonary collectins and their functional consequences

Elena N. Atochina-Vasserman, Michael F. Beers, Andrew J. Gow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The lung is continuously exposed to inhaled pathogens (toxic pollutants, micro-organisms, environmental antigens, allergens) from the external environment. In the broncho-alveolar space, the critical balance between a measured protective response against harmful pathogens and an inappropriate inflammatory response to harmless particles is discerned by the innate pulmonary immune system. Among its many components, the surfactant proteins and specifically the pulmonary collectins (surfactant proteins A [SP-A] and D [SP-D]) appear to provide important contributions to the modulation of host defense and inflammation in the lung. Many studies have shown that multimerization of SP-A and SP-D are important for efficient local host defense including neutralization and opsonization of influenza A virus, binding Pneumocystis murina and inhibition of LPS-induced inflammatory cell responses. These observations strongly imply that oligomerization of collectins is a critical feature of its function. However, during the inflammatory state, despite normal pool sizes, chemical modification of collectins can result in alteration of their structure and function. Both pulmonary collectins can be altered through proteolytic inactivation, nitration, S-nitrosylation, oxidation and/or crosslinking as a consequence of the inflammatory milieu facilitated by cytokines, nitric oxide, proteases, and other chemical mediators released by inflammatory cells. Thus, this review will summarize recent developments in our understanding of the relationship between post-translational assembly of collectins and their modification by inflammation as an important molecular switch for the regulation of local innate host defense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalInnate Immunity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarker
  • Collectins
  • Lung
  • Nitric oxide
  • Surfactant proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases

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