Author(s): De Yang, Qian Chen, Albert P Schmidt, G Mark Anderson, Ji Ming Wang
We have previously shown that antimicrobial peptides like defensins have the capacity to mobilize leukocytes in host defense. LL-37 is the cleaved antimicrobial 37-residue, COOH-terminal peptide of hCAP18 (human cationic antimicrobial protein with a molecular size of 18 kD), the only identified member in humans of a family of proteins called cathelicidins. LL-37/hCAP18 is produced by neutrophils and various epithelial cells. Here we report that LL-37 is chemotactic for, and can induce Ca(2+) mobilization in, human monocytes and formyl peptide receptor-like 1 (FPRL1)-transfected human embryonic kidney 293 cells. LL-37-induced Ca(2+) mobilization in monocytes can also be cross-desensitized by an FPRL1-specific agonist. Furthermore, LL-37 is also chemotactic for human neutrophils and T lymphocytes that are known to express FPRL1. Our results suggest that, in addition to its microbicidal activity, LL-37 may contribute to innate and adaptive immunity by recruiting neutrophils, monocytes, and T cells to sites of microbial invasion by interacting with FPRL1.