ABSTRACT

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and its homologue D-dopachrome tautomerase (D-DT) are widely expressed pro-inflammatory cytokines with chemokine-like functions that coordinate a wide spectrum of biological activities, such as migration. Here, we biotin-tagged intracellular MIF/D-DT in vivo to identify important cytosolic interactors and found a plethora of actin cytoskeleton-associated proteins. Although the receptor complex between CD74 and CD44 (CD74/CD44) is essential for signalling transduction in fibroblasts via extracellular MIF/D-DT, our interactome data suggested direct effects. We, thus, investigated whether MIF/D-DT can modulate cell migration independently of CD74/CD44. To distinguish between receptor- and non-receptor-mediated motility, we used fibroblasts that are either deficient or that express CD74/CD44 proteins, and treated them with recombinant MIF/D-DT. Interestingly, only MIF could stimulate chemokinesis in the presence or absence of CD74/CD44. The pro-migratory effects of MIF depended on lipid raft/caveolae-mediated but not clathrin-mediated endocytosis, on its tautomerase activity and, probably, on its thiol protein oxidoreductase activity. As MIF treatment restrained actin polymerisation in vitro, our findings establish a new intracellular role for MIF/D-DT in driving cell motility through modulation of the actin cytoskeleton.

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