Agonist activation of the G protein-coupled receptor GPR35 involves transmembrane domain III and is transduced via Gα₁₃ and β-arrestin-2.
Recent studies have demonstrated that kynurenic acid (KYNA), a compound produced endogenously by the interferon-gamma-induced degradation of tryptophan by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, activates the previously orphaned G protein-coupled receptor, GPR35. This receptor is expressed in immune tissues, although its potential function in immunomodulation remains to be explored. We determined that GPR35 was most highly expressed on human peripheral monocytes. In an in vitro vascular flow model, KYNA triggered the firm arrest of monocytes to both fibronectin and ICAM-1, via beta(1) integrin- and beta(2) integrin-mediated mechanisms, respectively. Incubation of monocytes with pertussis toxin prior to use in flow experiments significantly reduced the KYNA-induced monocyte adhesion, suggesting that adhesion is triggered by a G(i)-mediated process. Furthermore, KYNA-triggered adhesion of monocytic cells was reduced by short hairpin RNA-mediated silencing of GPR35. Although GPR35 is expressed at slightly lower levels on neutrophils, KYNA induced firm adhesion of these cells to an ICAM-1-expressing monolayer as well. KYNA also elicited neutrophil shedding of surface L-selectin, another indicator of leukocyte activation. Taken together, these data suggest that KYNA could be an important early mediator of leukocyte recruitment.