Amyloid-beta induces chemotaxis and oxidant stress by acting at formylpeptide receptor 2, a G protein-coupled receptor expressed in phagocytes and brain

J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 29;276(26):23645-52. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M101031200. Epub 2001 Apr 20.


Amyloid-beta, the pathologic protein in Alzheimer's disease, induces chemotaxis and production of reactive oxygen species in phagocytic cells, but mechanisms have not been fully defined. Here we provide three lines of evidence that the phagocyte G protein-coupled receptor (N-formylpeptide receptor 2 (FPR2)) mediates these amyloid-beta-dependent functions in phagocytic cells. First, transfection of FPR2, but not related receptors, including the other known N-formylpeptide receptor FPR, reconstituted amyloid-beta-dependent chemotaxis and calcium flux in HEK 293 cells. Second, amyloid-beta induced both calcium flux and chemotaxis in mouse neutrophils (which express endogenous FPR2) with similar potency as in FPR2-transfected HEK 293 cells. This activity could be specifically desensitized in both cell types by preincubation with a specific FPR2 agonist, which desensitizes the receptor, or with pertussis toxin, which uncouples it from G(i)-dependent signaling. Third, specific and reciprocal desensitization of superoxide production was observed when N-formylpeptides and amyloid-beta were used to sequentially stimulate neutrophils from FPR -/- mice, which express FPR2 normally. Potential biological relevance of these results to the neuroinflammation associated with Alzheimer's disease was suggested by two additional findings: first, FPR2 mRNA could be detected by PCR in mouse brain; second, induction of FPR2 expression correlated with induction of calcium flux and chemotaxis by amyloid-beta in the mouse microglial cell line N9. Further, in sequential stimulation experiments with N9 cells, N-formylpeptides and amyloid-beta were able to reciprocally cross-desensitize each other. Amyloid-beta was also a specific agonist at the human counterpart of FPR2, the FPR-like 1 receptor. These results suggest a unified signaling mechanism for linking amyloid-beta to phagocyte chemotaxis and oxidant stress in the brain.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / immunology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemotactic Factors / pharmacology
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte*
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Phagocytes / drug effects
  • Phagocytes / immunology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Formyl Peptide
  • Receptors, Immunologic / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Immunologic / physiology*
  • Receptors, Peptide / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Peptide / genetics
  • Receptors, Peptide / physiology*
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Transfection


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Chemotactic Factors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Formyl Peptide
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • Superoxides
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go
  • Calcium