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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Internalization of Formyl Peptide Receptor in Leukocytes Subject to Fluid Stresses

  • Author(s): Su, Susan S.
  • Schmid-Schönbein, Geert W.
  • et al.

Human leukocytes retract pseudopods under normal physiologic levels of fluid shear stress even in the absence of any other mediator. To gain more detailed understanding of the mechanisms that regulate this cell behavior, we exposed leukocytes to a steady state laminar shear field in a flow chamber and computed the fluid stresses distribution on the surface of individual cells with and without pseudopod. The surface fluid stress distribution on such cell is quite inhomogeneous. We hypothesized that the local fluid stresses on the cell surface serve to regulate pseudopod retraction by way of membrane receptors, especially the formyl peptide receptor (FPR). Comparison of the receptor distribution and the stress distribution over the surface of the cells indicates that the membrane fluid stress alone is not directly correlated with the extent of regional pseudopod retraction, giving further support to the hypothesis that membrane receptors are involved in the mechanotransduction of leukocytes. We observed that after exposure to fluid shear the FPR was internalized to a small intracellular compartment. This internalization appears to be independent of the original location of the receptor on the surface of the cell and the FPR appears to be more derived from multiple locations on the cell, with both higher and lower fluid stresses. The evidence suggests that FPR involvement in the pseudopod-retraction process is not limited to cell surface regions with the highest fluid shear stress, but rather a more global occurrence over the majority of the cell membrane.

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