Chemotaxis of Phagocytic Cells Towards Proteins: The Effect of Protein Denaturation

  • P. C. Wilkinson
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 15)


The phenomenon of chemotaxis has been recognized to be of fundamental biological importance since the observations of Pfeffer in 1884 (1) of chemically-mediated migration of plant sperm and of Leber in 1888 (2) and of Metchnikoff in 1893 (3) on the chemotactic migration of phagocytic leucocytes in vivo. However, it was not until 1962 that the first reliable quantitative in vitro technique for measuring chemotaxis was described by Boyden (4). He placed neutrophil leucocytes in the upper compartment of a chamber separated from a lower compartment by a filter of a suitable pore size through which the cells could migrate actively but not drop passively. If chemotactic substances were placed in solution in the lower compartment of this chamber, the neutrophils migrated towards them. Several substances have since been shown to be chemotactic for neutrophils, among them the activated peptides C3a and C5a split from complement during fixation by immune complexes or other activators (5–8), substances present in bacterial culture filtrates (9,10) and the soluble fraction derived from homogenized granulocytes or liver cells (11). Macrophage-specific chemotactic factors have also been shown to exist (12,13). Certain substances, e.g. casein, are chemotactic for both types of cell.


Human Serum Albumin Chemotactic Activity Human Serum Albumin Molecule Carbon Black Dispersion Neutrophil Leucocyte 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. C. Wilkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bacteriology & ImmunologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland

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