Cyclization of the urokinase receptor-derived Ser-Arg-Ser-Arg-Tyr peptide generates a potent inhibitor of trans-endothelial migration of monocytes

Ali Munaim Yousif, Michele Minopoli, Katia Bifulco, Vincenzo Ingangi, Gioconda Di Carluccio, Francesco Merlino, Maria Letizia Motti, Paolo Grieco, Maria Vincenza Carriero

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The receptor for the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPAR) is a widely recognized master regulator of cell migration and uPAR88-92 is the minimal sequence required to induce cell motility. We and others have previously documented that the uPAR88-92 sequence, even in the form of synthetic linear peptide (SRSRY), interacts with the formyl peptide receptor type 1 (FPR1), henceforth inducing cell migration of several cell lines, including monocytes. FPR1 is mainly expressed by mammalian phagocytic leukocytes and plays a crucial role in chemotaxis. In this study, we present evidence that the cyclization of the SRSRY sequence generates a new potent and stable inhibitor of monocyte trafficking. In rat basophilic leukaemia RBL-2H3/ETFR cells expressing high levels of constitutively activated FPR1, the cyclic SRSRY peptide ([SRSRY]) blocks FPR1 mediated cell migration by interfering with both internalization and ligand-uptake of FPR1. Similarly to RBL-2H3/ETFR cells, [SRSRY] competes with fMLF for binding to FPR1 and prevents agonist-induced FPR1 internalization in human monocyte THP-1 cells. Unlike scramble [RSSYR], [SRSRY] inhibits fMLF-directed migration of monocytes in a dose-dependent manner, with IC 50 value of 0.01 nM. PMA-differentiated THP-1 cell exposure to fMLF gradient causes a marked cytoskeletal re-organization with the formation of F-actin rich pseudopodia that are prevented by the addition of [SRSRY]. Furthermore, [SRSRY] prevents migration of human primary monocytes and trans-endothelial migration of monocytes. Our findings indicate that [SRSRY] is a new FPR1 inhibitor which may suggest the development of new drugs for treating pathological conditions sustained by increased motility of monocytes, such as chronic inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0126172
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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