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Logo of jcinvestThe Journal of Clinical InvestigationCurrent IssueArchiveSubscriptionAbout the Journal
J Clin Invest. Apr 1994; 93(4): 1380–1387.
PMCID: PMC294150

The urokinase receptor is required for human monocyte chemotaxis in vitro.


Mononuclear phagocytes (Mphi) produce urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and also express a specific cell-surface receptor for urokinase, uPAR. The concomitant expression of these proteins provides a mechanism by which Mphi can degrade extracellular matrix proteins during directed cell migration. In this study, we sought to determine if uPAR plays a role in Mphi chemotaxis that is distinct from its role in matrix proteolysis. Exposing adherent monocytes to a chemotactic gradient causes plasma membrane uPAR to localize strongly to the leading edge of cell migration. Adherence alone or exposure to FMLP had no effect on uPAR expression. Using Boyden chamber chemotaxis assays, we demonstrate that treating mononuclear cells with an anti-uPAR mAb (either as an intact mAb or F[ab']2) ablates chemotaxis induced by FMLP and monocyte chemotactic peptide-1 (P < 0.001). Inactivating the catalytic activity of uPAR-bound uPA had no effect on chemotaxis. Similarly, blocking uPAR expression with an antisense oligonucleotide to uPAR completely ablates chemotaxis, but blocking uPA expression with an antisense oligonucleotide to uPA has a minimal effect. We therefore demonstrate that expression and unimpeded function of uPAR plays an obligate role in M phi chemotaxis by mechanisms that are largely independent of its ligand, uPA. Combined with its known role in mediating pericellular proteolysis, these observations demonstrate that uPAR is essential for both locomotion and traversing tissue barriers during M phi migration.

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