The synthetic peptide CKS-17 has homology to a highly conserved region of the immunosuppressive retroviral envelope protein P15E, to envelope proteins of HTLV I, II, III, and to that encoded by an endogeneous C-type human retroviral DNA. CKS-17 inhibits the immune response of lymphocytes and the respiratory burst of human monocytes. Because P15E-related antigens are present in human malignant cell lines and cancerous effusions, we sought to determine the effect of CKS-17 on monocyte-mediated tumor cell lysis. Lysis of A375 tumor cells by lymphokine or lipopolysaccharide-activated human monocytes was inhibited by 10 microM CKS-17 (control, 79%; CKS-17-treated, 19%). Another synthesized peptide, CS-2, which has partial homology to CKS-17, failed to block monocyte-mediated killing. Thus, the inhibition by CKS-17 appeared to be specific. Because interleukin 1 (IL-1) is a cytocidal factor produced by activated monocytes, we also investigated the effect of CKS-17 on IL-1 production by monocytes and on direct IL-1-mediated cytotoxicity. CKS-17 did not block production or secretion of IL-1 by lipopolysaccharide- or interferon-gamma-activated monocytes. However, the direct cytocidal activity of both recombinant IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta against A375 tumor cells was blocked by CKS-17. The cytotoxic activity of IL-1 was inhibited by CKS-17 if (a) IL-1 was preincubated with CKS-17 for 1 hr at 37 degrees C or (b) the A375 cells were incubated with CKS-17 for 1 hr prior to the addition of IL-1. CKS-17 also blocked IL-1-induced proliferation of murine thymocytes, the D10 T cell line, and an IL-1-responsive astrocytoma cell line. These data suggest that CKS-17 may be a potent inhibitor of IL-1.

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