Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are a family of G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by serine protease-mediated proteolytic cleavage of their extracellular domain. We have previously characterized the expression and function of PARs in human monocytes and macrophages, yet information about PARs in dendritic cells (DC) is scarce. Monocyte-derived immature DC do not express PARs. Upon maturation with LPS, but not with TNF-α or CD40 ligand, DC express PAR1 and PAR3, but not PAR2 or PAR4. Stimulation of DC with the serine protease thrombin or PAR1-activating peptide elicits actin polymerization and concentration-dependent chemotactic responses in LPS-, but not in TNF-α-matured DC. The thrombin-induced migration is a true chemotaxis with only negligible chemokinesis. Stimulation of PARs with thrombin or the respective receptor-activating peptides activates ERK1/2 and Rho kinase as well as subsequent phosphorylation of the regulatory myosin L chain 2. The ERK1/2- and Rho kinase 1-mediated phosphorylation of myosin L chain 2 was indispensable for the PAR-mediated chemotaxis as shown by pharmacological inhibitors. Additionally, thrombin stimulated the Rho-dependent release of the CC chemokine CCL18/pulmonary and activationregulated chemokine, which induces chemotaxis of lymphocytes and immature DC as well as fibroblast proliferation. The colocalization of CD83+ DC with CCL18 in human atherosclerotic plaques revealed by immunofluorescence microscopy combined with the presence of functionally active thrombin receptors on mature DC point to a previously unrecognized functional role of thrombin in DC biology. The thrombin-induced stimulation of mature DC may be of particular relevance in atherosclerotic lesions, which harbor all components of this novel mechanism.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)