CX3CL1 (fractalkine, neurotactin) is the sole CX3C chemokine. It induces monocyte locomotion in its cleaved form, but in its membrane-anchored form, it also acts as an adhesion molecule. The expression of CX3CL1 is up-regulated in endothelial cells by proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 or TNF-alpha. Here, we studied the effect of the serine protease thrombin on endothelial CX3CL1 induction and its putative relevance for monocyte function. In HUVEC, thrombin triggered a time- and concentration-dependent expression of CX3CL1 at the mRNA and the protein level as shown by RT-PCR, Western immunoblotting, and flow cytometric analysis. Thrombin induced CX3CL1 by activating protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1) as demonstrated by the use of PAR1-activating peptide and the PAR1-specific antagonist SCH 79797. The thrombin-induced CX3CL1 expression was NF-kappaB-dependent, as shown by EMSA, ELISA, and by inhibition of the NF-kappaB signaling pathway by the IkappaB kinase inhibitor acety-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid or by transient overexpression of a transdominant-negative form of IkappaBalpha. Upon cocultivation of human monocytes with HUVEC, the thrombin-dependent induction of membrane-anchored CX3CL1 in HUVEC triggered monocyte adhesion and an enhanced release of the MCP-1/CCL2 by monocytes and potentiated the monocyte transendothelial migration. Accordingly, the recombinant extracellular domain of CX3CL1 induced CCL2 release by monocytes. Thus, the thrombin-induced monocyte/endothelial cell cross-talk mediated by increased CX3CL1 expression potentiates the CCL2 chemokine generation that might contribute to the recruitment of monocytes into inflamed areas.