24 di-, tri-, and tetrapeptides have been synthesized as a start of a systematic study of the structural requirements for chemotactic activity and lysosomal enzyme-releasing ability in rabbit neutrophils. All but two of them are N-formyl methionyl peptides. Using the method of Zigmond and Hirsch (10), two representative peptides, F-Met-Leu-Phe and F-Met-Met-Met, were shown to stimulate directed, as well as, random locomotion; thus, they were truly chemotactic. The various peptides showed a wide spread in activity. F-Met-Leu-Phe, the most active peptide studied, had an ED50 for induced migration of 7 X 10(-11) M and for lysozyme and beta-glucuronidase release of 2.4 X 10(-10) M and 2.6 X 10(-10) M, respectively; the least active, Met-Leu-Glu was 26 million times less active in these respects. The relation of activity to structure is exceedingly specific, very small changes in structure making large changes in activity. Moreover, this specificity exhibits a definite regularity and pattern; the activity of a given peptide depends not only on its constituent amino acids but on the position of the amino acid in the peptide chain. Most striking in this last regards is the high activity conferred by phenylalanine when it is in the carboxyl terminal position of a tripeptide, whereas, as the second amino acid from the NH2 terminal end whether in a tripeptide or a dipeptide, it contributes no more to the activity than other amino acids with hydrophobic side chains such as leucine or methionine. The high activity and the specificity and nature of the structural requirements strongly suggest that the primary interaction of peptide and neutrophil leading to either chemotaxis or lysosomal enzyme release is a binding of the peptide with a stereospecific receptor on the neutrophil surface. Whether all chemotactic factors act through the same receptor is not known. An essentially exact correlation exists between the concentrations of the various synthetic peptides required to induce migration and their ability to induce release of lysozyme or beta-glucuronidase. This implies that these two neutrophil functions are triggered by teh same primary interaction; possibly, the binding of the peptides to the same putative receptor. A higher concentration of a given peptide is required to stimulate lysosomal enzyme release than a corresponding migratory response. A slightly but significantly higher concentration of peptide is required to induce beta-glucuronidase secretion than lysozyme release.

This content is only available as a PDF.