The presence of the extracellular matrix protein thrombospondin (TSP) at sites of tissue injury or inflammation may promote monocyte migration to these sites and play a central role in their eventual differentiation into tissue macrophages. Previously, we have shown that TSP promotes neutrophil adhesion and migration, and primes for oxidant generation. To examine the effect of TSP on monocyte motility, we conducted chemotaxis assays in modified Boyden chambers. TSP was chemotactic for monocytes, with a maximal response at 200 to 500 nM TSP. Checkerboard analysis confirmed that migration was directional. mAb C6.7, against the distal COOH terminus of TSP, inhibited chemotaxis, demonstrating specificity and indicating that the chemotactic activity resides in the COOH terminus. Consistent with the mAb data, the COOH-terminal 140-kDa proteolytic fragment of TSP was chemotactic for monocytes, whereas the NH2-terminal heparin-binding domain was inactive. A synthetic peptide containing the sequence CSVT, derived from the type I repeats of TSP, was also chemotactic. Thus, two different sites on the COOH terminus of TSP are capable of stimulating monocyte chemotaxis. Pertussis toxin, but not cholera toxin, completely inhibited TSP-mediated chemotaxis, suggesting the involvement of GTP-binding proteins. TSP bound to polycarbonate filters stimulated monocyte haptotaxis, with a maximal response at 4 pmol. The directional nature of this motility was confirmed by checkerboard analysis. Monocyte haptotaxis was inhibited by two different mAbs recognizing distinct sites on the COOH terminus. As with chemotaxis, the 140-kDa fragment, but not the heparin-binding domain, contained the haptotactic activity. The CSVT-containing synthetic peptide also promoted monocyte haptotaxis. But, in contrast to chemotaxis, neither pertussis toxin nor cholera toxin inhibited TSP-mediated haptotaxis, suggesting the involvement of a different signal transduction pathway. mAbs against GPIV, beta 1, beta 3, or alpha v integrins did not affect monocyte chemotaxis or haptotaxis, ruling out the involvement of these receptors. These results indicate that TSP is likely to play an important role in monocyte recruitment to an inflammatory or injury site.

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