Leukocyte recruitment is a key step in the inflammatory reaction. Several changes in the cell morphology take place during lymphocyte activation and migration: spheric-shaped resting T cells become polarized during activation, developing a well defined cytoplasmic projection designated as cellular uropod. We found that the chemotactic and proinflammatory chemokines RANTES, MCP-1, and, to a lower extent, MIP-1 alpha, MIP-1 beta, and IL-8, were able to induce uropod formation and ICAM-3 redistribution in T lymphoblasts adhered to ICAM-1 or VCAM-1. A similar chemokine-mediated effect was observed during T cells binding to the fibronectin fragments of 38- and 80-kD, that contain the binding sites for the integrins VLA-4 and VLA-5, respectively. The uropod structure concentrated the ICAM-3 adhesion molecule (a ligand for LFA-1), and emerged to the outer milieu from the area of contact between lymphocyte and protein ligands. In addition, we found that other adhesion molecules such as ICAM-1, CD43, and CD44, also redistributed to the lymphocyte uropod upon RANTES stimulation, whereas a wide number of other cell surface receptors did not redistribute. Chemokines displayed a selective effect among different T cell subsets; MIP-1 beta had more potent action on CD8+ T cells and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), whereas RANTES and MIP-1 alpha targeted selectively CD4+ T cells. We have also examined the involvement of cAMP signaling pathway in uropod formation. Interestingly, several cAMP agonists were able to induce uropod formation and ICAM-3 redistribution, whereas H-89, a specific inhibitor of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase, abrogated the chemokine-mediated uropod formation, thus pointing out a role for cAMP-dependent signaling in the development of this cytoplasmic projection. Since the lymphocyte uropod induced by chemokines was completely abrogated by Bordetella pertussis toxin, the formation of this membrane projection appears to be dependent on G proteins signaling pathways. In addition, the involvement of myosin-based cytoskeleton in uropod formation and ICAM-3 redistribution in response to chemokines was suggested by the prevention of this phenomenon with the myosin-disrupting agent butanedione monoxime. Interestingly, this agent also inhibited the ICAM-3-mediated cell aggregation, but not the cell adhesion to substrata. Altogether, these results demonstrate that uropod formation and adhesion receptor redistribution is a novel function mediated by chemokines; this phenomenon may represent a mechanism that significantly contributes to the recruitment of circulating leukocytes to inflammatory foci.

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