Interferon-γ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10)/CXCL10 is a CXC chemokine that attracts T lymphocytes and NK cells through activation of CXCR3, the only chemokine receptor identified to date that binds IP-10/CXCL10. We have found that several nonhemopoietic cell types, including epithelial and endothelial cells, have abundant levels of a receptor that binds IP-10/CXCL10 with a Kd of 1-6 nM. Surprisingly, these cells expressed no detectable CXCR3 mRNA. Furthermore, no cell surface expression of CXCR3 was detectable by flow cytometry, and the binding of 125I-labeled IP-10/CXCL10 to these cells was not competed by the other high affinity ligands for CXCR3, monokine induced by IFN-γ/CXCL9, and I-TAC/CXCL11. Although IP-10/CXCL10 binds to cell surface heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan (GAG), the receptor expressed by these cells is not GAG, since the affinity of IP-10/CXCL10 for this receptor is much higher than it is for GAG, its binding is not competed by platelet factor 4/CXCL4, and it is present on cells that are genetically incapable of synthesizing GAG. Furthermore, in contrast to IP-10/CXCL10 binding to GAG, IP-10/CXCL10 binding to these cells induces new gene expression and chemotaxis, indicating the ability of this receptor to transduce a signal. These high affinity IP-10/CXCL10-specific receptors on epithelial cells may be involved in cell migration and, perhaps, in the spread of metastatic cells as they exit from the vasculature. (All of the lung cancer cells we examined also expressed CXCR4, which has been shown to play a role in breast cancer metastasis.) CXCR3-negative endothelial cells may also use this receptor to mediate the angiostatic activity of IP-10/CXCL10, which is also expressed by these cells in an autocrine manner.
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