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Natural carboxyterminal truncation of human CXCL10 attenuates glycosaminoglycan binding, CXCR3A signaling and lymphocyte chemotaxis, while retaining angiostatic activity

Published date

February 2, 2024


"Background: Interferon-γ-inducible protein of 10 kDa (IP-10/CXCL10) is a dual-function CXC chemokine that coordinates chemotaxis of activated T cells and natural killer (NK) cells via interaction with its G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), CXC chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3). As a consequence of natural posttranslational modifications, human CXCL10 exhibits a high degree of structural and functional heterogeneity. However, the biological effect of natural posttranslational processing of CXCL10 at the carboxy (C)-terminus has remained partially elusive. We studied CXCL10(1-73), lacking the four endmost C-terminal amino acids, which was previously identified in supernatant of cultured human fibroblasts and keratinocytes.

Methods: Relative levels of CXCL10(1-73) and intact CXCL10(1-77) were determined in synovial fluids of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through tandem mass spectrometry. The production of CXCL10(1-73) was optimized through Fmoc-based solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) and a strategy to efficiently generate human CXCL10 proteoforms was introduced. CXCL10(1-73) was compared to intact CXCL10(1-77) using surface plasmon resonance for glycosaminoglycan (GAG) binding affinity, assays for cell migration, second messenger signaling downstream of CXCR3, and flow cytometry of CHO cells and primary human T lymphocytes and endothelial cells. Leukocyte recruitment in vivo upon intraperitoneal injection of CXCL10(1-73) was also evaluated.

Results: Natural CXCL10(1-73) was more abundantly present compared to intact CXCL10(1-77) in synovial fluids of patients with RA. CXCL10(1-73) had diminished affinity for GAG including heparin, heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate A. Moreover, CXCL10(1-73) exhibited an attenuated capacity to induce CXCR3A-mediated signaling, as evidenced in calcium mobilization assays and through quantification of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) and protein kinase B/Akt. Furthermore, CXCL10(1-73) incited significantly less primary human T lymphocyte chemotaxis in vitro and peritoneal ingress of CXCR3+ T lymphocytes in mice. In contrast, loss of the four endmost C-terminal residues did not affect the inhibitory properties of CXCL10 on migration, proliferation, wound closure, phosphorylation of ERK1/2, and sprouting of human microvascular endothelial cells.

Conclusion: Our study shows that the C-terminal residues Lys74-Pro77 of CXCL10 are important for GAG binding, signaling through CXCR3A, T lymphocyte chemotaxis, but dispensable for angiostasis."

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