Leukocyte arrest on the endothelial cell surface during leukocyte extravasation is induced by rapid integrin activation by chemokines. We recently reported that fractalkine induces integrin activation without its receptor CX3CR1 through binding to the allosteric site (site 2) of integrins. Peptides from site 2 bound to fractalkine and suppressed integrin activation by fractalkine. We hypothesized that this is not limited to membrane-bound fractalkine. We studied whether stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF1), another chemokine that plays a critical role in leukocyte arrest, activates integrins through binding to site 2. We describe here that (1) SDF1 activated soluble integrin αvβ3 in cell-free conditions, suggesting that SDF1 can activate αvβ3 without CXCR4; (2) site 2 peptide bound to SDF1, suggesting that SDF1 binds to site 2; (3) SDF1 activated integrins αvβ3, α4β1, and α5β1 on CHO cells (CXCR4-negative) and site 2 peptide suppressed the activation; (4) A CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 did not affect the site 2-mediated integrin activation by SDF1; (5) Cell-surface integrins were fully activated in 1 min (much faster than activation of soluble αvβ3) and the activation lasted at least for 1 h. We propose that the binding of SDF1 to cell-surface proteoglycan facilitates the allosteric activation process; (6) Mutations in the predicted site 2-binding site in SDF1 suppressed integrin activation. These results suggest that SDF1 (e.g. presented on proteoglycans) can rapidly activate integrins in an allosteric manner by binding to site 2 in the absence of CXCR4. The allosteric integrin activation by SDF1 is a novel target for drug discovery.

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