Staphylococcus aureus excretes a factor that specifically and simultaneously acts on the C5aR and the formylated peptide receptor (FPR). This chemotaxis inhibitory protein of S. aureus (CHIPS) blocks C5a- and fMLP-induced phagocyte activation and chemotaxis. Monoclonal anti-CHIPS Abs inhibit CHIPS activity against one receptor completely without affecting the other receptor, indicating that two distinct sites are responsible for both actions. A CHIPS-derived N-terminal 6 aa peptide is capable of mimicking the anti-FPR properties of CHIPS but has no effect on the C5aR. Synthetic peptides in which the first 6 aa are substituted individually for all other naturally occurring amino acids show that the first and third residue play an important role in blocking the FPR. Using an Escherichia coli expression system, we created mutant CHIPS proteins in which these amino acids are substituted. These mutant proteins have impaired or absent FPR- but still an intact C5aR-blocking activity, indicating that the loss of the FPR-blocking activity is not caused by any structural impairment. This identifies the first and third amino acid, both a phenylalanine, to be essential for CHIPS blocking the fMLP-induced activation of phagocytes. The unique properties of CHIPS to specifically inhibit the FPR with high affinity (kd=35.4 +/- 7.7 nM) could be an important new tool to further stimulate the fundamental research on the mechanisms underlying the FPR and its role in disease processes.