Chemokines and Skin

Part of the series Progress in Inflammation Research pp 37-58

Regulation of gene expression of chemokines and their receptors

  • Hans SprengerAffiliated withInstitute of Laboratory Medicine, Leopoldina-Hospital
  • , Andreas KaufmannAffiliated withInstitute of Immunology, Philipps-University Marburg
  • , Delia BussfeldAffiliated withInstitute of Immunology, Philipps-University Marburg
  • , Diethard GemsaAffiliated withInstitute of Immunology, Philipps-University Marburg

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Over the past decades, at an ever-accelerating pace, numerous members of a new family of cytokines with leukocyte attracting and activating properties, called chemotactic cytokines (chemokines), have been identified. Chemokines are highly regulated proteins of low molecular mass (5–15 kD, 70–80 amino acids) that have to be considered as the main chemotactic factors responsible for the recruitment of distinct effector cells to sites of tissue injury and inflammation. The site-directed immigration of leukocytes is provoked by gradients of chemokines immobilized to extracellular matrix components [1]. In addition, chemokines contribute to vascular adhesion and promote transendothelial migration [2], [3]. The position of the first two cysteins and the presence or absence of an ELR-motif preceding the first cystein, have been used to subdivide the chemokine family into at least five branches, including the recently defined C- and CX3C-branches. Chemokines are inducible in a wide variety of different tissues by many stimuli such as mechanical injury, bacteria, viruses, bacterially or virally derived molecules and finally by many proinflammatory cytokines. The most abundant inducible mRNAs found in activated T cells seem to be chemokines (reviewed in [4]). All chemokines so far identified, have been found to bind to G-protein coupled receptors featuring seven hydrophobic transmembrane domains. Most chemokine receptors are not specific for only one ligand, but can promiscuously bind to different chemokines of the same branch with varying affinities. The exception is the Duffy antigen receptor on erythrocytes which binds to a wide variety of CC- as well as CXC-chemokines and does not signal via G-proteins.