The product of a novel growth factor-activated gene, fic, is a biologically active 'C-C'-type cytokine.
We have characterized a new member of the superfamily of proinflammatory peptides encoded by a growth factor-inducible gene, fic, previously isolated by differential screening of a cDNA library of mRNA from serum-stimulated NIH 3T3 cells. Immunoprecipitation analyses showed that the protein was rapidly induced following serum stimulation and secreted unglycosylated into the medium. The fic protein, FIC, shows highest sequence homology (57%) to human and rabbit monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), an established monocyte activator. To determine the biological activity of FIC and to compare it with that of mouse MCP-1 (muMCP-1), both proteins were expressed in the baculovirus system. FIC and muMCP-1 were purified to near homogeneity by a two-step chromatography protocol. Both proteins elicited changes in intracellular calcium concentration in human monocytes. The effect was dependent on external Ca2+ and was inhibited by pretreatment of cells with pertussis toxin. FIC did not desensitize human monocytes to the three related cytokines muMCP-1, human MCP-1 (huMCP-1), and huMCP-2. However, pretreatment with muMCP-1 or huMCP-1, but not with huMCP-2, desensitized human monocytes to FIC. Specific binding of [125I]FIC was found in human monocytes, mouse monocytic cultured cells, and human endothelial cells but not in lymphocytes, neutrophils, or primary mouse fibroblasts. Scatchard analysis of the binding of [125I]FIC to human monocytes showed the presence of two classes of receptors, with apparent KdS of 1.2 and 7.7 nM and receptor numbers per cell of 2,400 and 6,300, respectively. FIC, muMCP-1, and huMCP-1 competed to the same extent for the binding of [125I]FIC to human monocytes, contrary to huMCP-2, which competed very ineffectively, if at all.