Open Access Research article

The level of CD147 expression correlates with cyclophilin-induced signalling and chemotaxis

Alexander Trachtenberg1, Tatiana Pushkarsky1, Shannon Heine1, Stephanie Constant12, Beda Brichacek13 and Michael Bukrinsky1*

  • * Corresponding author: Michael Bukrinsky

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA

2 NHLBI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

3 NCI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:396  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-396

Published: 11 October 2011



Previous studies identified CD147 as the chemotactic receptor on inflammatory leukocytes for extracellular cyclophilins (eCyp). However, CD147 is not known to associate with signal transducing molecules, so other transmembrane proteins, such as proteoglycans, integrins, and CD98, were suggested as receptor or co-receptor for eCyp. CD147 is ubiquitously expressed on many cell types, but relationship between the level of CD147 expression and cellular responses to eCyp has never been analyzed. Given the role of eCyp in pathogenesis of many diseases, it is important to know whether cellular responses to eCyp are regulated at the level of CD147 expression.


Here, we manipulated CD147 expression levels on HeLa cells using RNAi and investigated the signalling and chemotactic responses to eCypA. Both Erk activation and chemotaxis correlated with the level of CD147 expression, with cells exhibiting low level expression being practically unresponsive to eCypA.


Our results provide the first demonstration of a chemotactic response of HeLa cells to eCypA, establish a correlation between the level of CD147 expression and the magnitude of cellular responses to eCypA, and indicate that CD147 may be a limiting factor in the receptor complex determining cyclophilin-induced Erk activation and cell migration.