Antimicrobial Peptide Omiganan Enhances Interferon Responses to Endosomal Toll-Like Receptor Ligands in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells.

Grievink HW, Jirka SMG, Woutman TD, Schoonakker M, Rissmann R, Malone KE, Feiss G, Moerland M

LL-37 is a cationic antimicrobial peptide and the sole human member of cathelicidins. Besides its bactericidal properties, LL-37 is known to have direct immunomodulatory effects, among which enhancement of antiviral responses via endosomal toll-like receptors (TLRs). Omiganan pentahydrochloride is a synthetic cationic peptide in clinical development. Previously, omiganan was primarily known for its direct bactericidal and antifungal properties. We investigated whether omiganan enhances endosomal TLR responses, similar to LL-37. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were treated with endosomal TLR3, -7, -8, and -9 ligands in the presence of omiganan. Omiganan enhanced TLR-mediated interferon-α release. Subsequent experiments with TLR9 ligands showed that plasmacytoid dendritic cells were main contributors to omiganan-enhanced IFN production. Based on this type I interferon-enhancing effect, omiganan may qualify as potential treatment modality for virus-driven diseases. The molecular mechanism by which omiganan enhances endosomal TLR responses remains to be elucidated.