Cytokine-stimulated human osteosarcoma cells (MG-63) secrete several related chemotactic factors, including the neutrophil-activating protein interleukin 8 (IL-8) and the monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1. We describe the isolation and characterization of two novel monocyte chemotactic factors from this tumor cell line. Although these proteins copurified with MCP-1 and IL-8 on heparin-Sepharose, they could be separated by cation-exchange fast protein liquid chromatography and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. The corresponding 7.5- and 11-kD proteins were NH2-terminally blocked but were identified by sequencing peptide fragments. They showed a primary structure mostly related to that of MCP-1 and were therefore designated MCP-2 and MCP-3, respectively. These molecules can be classified in a subfamily of proinflammatory proteins characterized by the conservation of cysteine residues. MCP-2 and MCP-3 are also functionally related to MCP-1 because they specifically attract monocytes, but not neutrophils, in vitro. The chemotactic potency (specific activity) was comparable for all three MCPs. Intradermal injection of these proteins in rabbits resulted in selective monocyte recruitment in vivo. Since tumor cells are good producers of leukocyte chemotactic factors, it could be questioned whether these molecules can indirectly control tumor growth by attracting leukocytes or whether they rather promote invasion by the secretion of proteases from the attracted cells.

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