Chemotactic cytokines of the CC subfamily (CC chemokines) are considered as major mediators of allergic inflammation owing their actions on basophil and eosinophil leukocytes. The monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP) 1 is a potent inducer of mediator release from basophils but is inactive on eosinophils. To obtain information on the structural determinants of the activities of MCP-1, we have synthesized several NH2-terminally truncated analogues and tested their effects on basophils and eosinophils. Through deletion of the NH2-terminal residue, MCP-1(2-76) was obtained, which was a potent activator of eosinophils, as assessed by chemotaxis, cytosolic free Ca2+ changes, actin polymerization, and that induction of the respiratory burst. In contrast, the activity of MCP-1(2-76) on basophil leukocytes was dramatically decreased (50-fold) compared with that of full-length MCP-1. Deletion of the next residue led to total loss of activity on eosinophil and basophil leukocytes. Analogues with three or four residue deletions, MCP-1(4-76) and MCP-1(5-76), were again active on both cells, whereas all further truncation analogues, MCP-1(6-76) through MCP-1(10-76), were inactive. Thus, a minimal structural modification can change receptor and target cell selectivity of MCP-1. Our observations indicate that the recognition sites of CC chemokine receptors on eosinophils and basophils are similar, although they discriminate between MCP-1 and MCP-1(2-76) and suggest NH2-terminal processing as a potential mechanism for the regulation of CC chemokine activities.

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