Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are formed by neutrophils during inflammation. Among other things, these DNA constructs consist of antimicrobial proteins such as lactoferrin and histones. With these properties, NETs capture and destroy invading microorganisms. The carbohydrate polysialic acid (polySia) interacts with both lactoferrin and histones. Previous experiments demonstrated that, in humans, lactoferrin inhibits the release of NET and that this effect is supported by polySia. In this study, we examined the interplay of lactoferrin and polySia in already-formed NETs from bovine neutrophils. The binding of polySia was considered to occur at the lactoferricin (LFcin)-containing domain of lactoferrin. The interaction with the peptide LFcin was studied in more detail using groups of defined polySia chain lengths, which suggested a chain-length-dependent interaction mechanism with LFcin. The LFcin domain of lactoferrin was found to interact with DNA. Therefore, the possibility that polySia influences the integration of lactoferrin into the DNA-structures of NETs was tested by isolating bovine neutrophils and inducing NETosis. Experiments with NET fibers saturated with lactoferrin demonstrated that polySia initiates the incorporation of external lactoferrin in already-loaded NETs. Thus, polySia may modulate the constituents of NET.
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