Migration is a basic feature of many cell types in a wide range of species. Since the 1800s, cell migration has been proposed to occur in the nervous and immune systems, and distinct molecular cues for mammalian neurons and leukocytes have been identified. Here we report that Slit, a secreted protein previously known for its role of repulsion in axon guidance and neuronal migration, can also inhibit leukocyte chemotaxis induced by chemotactic factors. Slit inhibition of the chemokine-induced chemotaxis can be reconstituted by the co-expression of a chemokine receptor containing seven transmembrane domains and Roundabout (Robo), a Slit receptor containing a single transmembrane domain. Thus, there is a functional interaction between single and seven transmembrane receptors. Our results reveal the activity of a neuronal guidance cue in regulating leukocyte migration and indicate that there may be a general conservation of guidance mechanisms underlying metazoan cell migration. In addition, we have uncovered an inhibitor of leukocyte chemotaxis, and propose a new therapeutic approach to treat diseases involving leukocyte migration and chemotactic factors.
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