Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Antimicrobial peptide (AMP) of the cathelicidin family(Porine). LL37 is the only antimicrobial cathelicidin peptide produced by humans. It is encoded by the CAMP gene (acronym for cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide) located on chromosome 3. LL37 is mainly produced in immune cells and is part of the innate immune system.

General information
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The biosynthesis of LL37 proceeds in several stages. Initially a biologically inactive precursor is synthesized, a propetide which is stored in the granules of neutrophilic granulocytes. After release of the propeptide, it is enzymatically cleaved by proteinases (e.g. elastases) into cathelin and the antimicrobial peptide LL37. Long wavelength light (630 and 940nm) suppresses the synthesis of LL37.

Cathelicidin LL37 affects the toll-like receptors and the transactivation of the epidermal growth factor ( EGF-receptor). These properties characterize LL37 as a prototype alarmin (see below antimicrobial peptides) in the skin's defence against infections. LL37 complexes with DNA in the cytosol of keratinocytes and thereby neutralizes its effect as a danger signal for the inflammasome AIM2.

LL37 can activate both CD4+ T-helper cells and CD8+ cytotoxic cells. It has a broad significance for inflammatory pathogenetic processes (e.g. psoriasis, systemic scleroderma). In psoriasis, LL-37 is upregulated. In wound healing, the antimicrobial potency of LL37 is used locally therapeutically by binding it to nanoparticles in encapsulated form. It also plays a role in angiogenesis. LL37 is recognized by the immune system after binding to HLA-C*06:02. This underlines the importance of certain HLA genotypes for the pathogenesis of psoriasis (probably also for other inflammatory scenarios). Vitamin D analogues and vitamin D (UV-irradiation) increase the synthesis of LL37 (antipsoriatic effect?).

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The name LL is derived from the first two letters of the 37-part one-letter code beginning with LL (see Syn).

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  1. Garcia-Orue I et al (2016) LL37 loaded nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC): A new strategy for the topical treatment of chronic wounds.Eur J Pharm Biopharm doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2016.04.006.
  2. Lee JB et al.(2016) Light Emitting Diodes Down-regulates Cathelicidin, Kallikrein, and Toll-like Receptor 2 expressions in Keratinocytes and Rosacea-like Mouse Skin. Exp Dermatol doi: 10.1111/exd.13133.
  3. Takahashi T et al (2016) A potential contribution of antimicrobial peptides LL-37 to tissue fibrosis and vasculopathy in systemic sclerosis. Br J Dermatol doi: 10.1111/bjd.14699.


Last updated on: 29.10.2020