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J Immunol. 2005 May 15;174(10):6257-65.

Mouse cathelin-related antimicrobial peptide chemoattracts leukocytes using formyl peptide receptor-like 1/mouse formyl peptide receptor-like 2 as the receptor and acts as an immune adjuvant.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, Center for Cancer Research, and Basic Research Program, Science Applications International Corporation-Frederick, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


Mammalian antimicrobial proteins, such as defensins and cathelicidin, have stimulating effects on host leukocytes. Cathelin-related antimicrobial peptide (CRAMP), the orthologue of human cathelicidin/LL-37, is the sole identified murine cathelicidin. CRAMP has been shown to have both antimicrobial and angiogenic activities. However, whether CRAMP, like human cathelicidin/LL-37, also exhibits a direct effect on the migration and function of leukocytes is not known. We have observed that CRAMP, like LL-37, was chemotactic for human monocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, and mouse peripheral blood leukocytes. CRAMP also induced calcium mobilization and the activation of MAPK in monocytes. CRAMP-induced calcium flux in monocytes was desensitized by MMK-1, an agonistic ligand specific for formyl peptide receptor-like-1 (FPRL1), and vice versa, suggesting the use of FPRL1 by CRAMP as a receptor. Furthermore, CRAMP induced the chemotaxis of human embryonic kidney 293 cells transfected with either FPRL1 or mouse formyl peptide receptor-2, the mouse homologue of FPRL1, but not by untransfected parental human embryonic kidney 293 cells, confirming the use of FPRL1/mouse formyl peptide receptor-2 by CRAMP. Injection of CRAMP into mouse air pouches resulted in the recruitment predominantly of neutrophils and monocytes, indicating that CRAMP acts as a chemotactic factor in vivo. Finally, simultaneous administration of OVA with CRAMP to mice promoted both humoral and cellular Ag-specific immune responses. Thus, CRAMP functions as both a chemoattractant for phagocytic leukocytes and an enhancer of adaptive immune response.

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