Recent studies have demonstrated that tropoelastin and elastin-derived peptides are chemotactic for fibroblasts and monocytes. To identify the chemotactic sites on elastin, we examined the chemotactic activity of Val-Gly-Val-Ala-Pro-Gly (VGVAPG), a repeating peptide in tropoelastin. We observed that VGVAPG was chemotactic for fibroblasts and monocytes, with optimal activity at approximately 10(-8) M, and that the chemotactic activity of VGVAPG was substantial (half or greater) relative to the maximum responses to other chemotactic factors such as platelet-derived growth factor for fibroblasts and formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine for monocytes. The possibility that at least part of the chemotactic activity in tropoelastin and elastin peptides is contained in VGVAPG sequences was supported by the following: (a) polyclonal antibody to bovine elastin selectively blocked the fibroblast and monocyte chemotactic activity of both elastin-derived peptides and VGVAPG; (b) monocyte chemotaxis to VGVAPG was selectively blocked by preexposing the cells to elastin peptides; and (c) undifferentiated (nonelastin producing) bovine ligament fibroblasts, capable of chemotaxis to platelet-derived growth factor, did not show chemotactic responsiveness to either VGVAPG or elastin peptides until after matrix-induced differentiation and the onset of elastin synthesis. These studies suggest that small synthetic peptides may be able to reproduce the chemotactic activity associated with elastin-derived peptides and tropoelastin.

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