Matrix metalloproteinases inactivate the proinflammatory functions of secreted moonlighting tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase

Parker G. Jobin, Nestor Solis, Yoan Machado, Peter A. Bell, Nam Hoon Kwon, Sunghoon Kim, Christopher M. Overall, Georgina S. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (WRS) is a cytosolic amino-acyl-tRNA synthetase essential for protein synthesis. WRS is also one of a growing number of intracellular proteins that are attributed distinct noncanonical “moonlighting” functions in the extracellular milieu. Moonlighting aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases regulate processes such as inflammation, but how these multifunctional enzymes are themselves regulated remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that WRS is secreted from human macrophages, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells in response to the proinflammatory cytokine interferon (IFN). WRS signaled primarily through Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) in macrophages, leading to phosphorylation of the p65 subunit of NF-B with associated loss of NF-B inhibitor (IB-) protein. This signaling initiated secretion of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and CXCL8 (IL8) from macrophages. We also demonstrated that WRS is a potent monocyte chemoattractant. Of note, WRS increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity in the conditioned medium of macrophages in a TNF-depen-dent manner. Using purified recombinant proteins and LC-MS/MS to identify proteolytic cleavage sites, we demonstrated that multiple MMPs, but primarily macrophage MMP7 and neutrophil MMP8, cleave secreted WRS at several sites. Loss of the WHEP domain following cleavage at Met48 generated a WRS proteoform that also results from alternative splicing, designated 1- 47 WRS. The MMP-cleaved WRS lacked TLR signaling and proinflammatory activities. Thus, our results suggest that moonlighting WRS promotes IFN proinflammatory activities, and these responses can be dampened by MMPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12866-12879
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 30

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Inc.. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Matrix metalloproteinases inactivate the proinflammatory functions of secreted moonlighting tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this