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 IC50 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.
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