Recent studies have shown that heteromerization of the chemokine receptors CCR2, CCR5 and CXCR4 is associated to negative binding cooperativity. In the present study, we build on these previous results, and investigate the consequences of chemokine receptor heteromerization with ChemR23, the receptor of chemerin, a leukocyte chemoattractant protein structurally unrelated to chemokines. We show, using BRET and HTRF assays, that ChemR23 forms homomers, and provide data suggesting that ChemR23 also forms heteromers with the chemokine receptors CCR7 and CXCR4. As previously described for other chemokine receptor heteromers, negative binding cooperativity was detected between ChemR23 and chemokine receptors, i.e. the ligands of one receptor competed for the binding of a specific tracer of the other. We also showed, using mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells prepared from wild-type and ChemR23 knockout mice, that ChemR23-specific ligands cross-inhibited CXCL12 binding on CXCR4 in a ChemR23-dependent manner, supporting the relevance of the ChemR23/CXCR4 interaction in native leukocytes. Finally, and in contrast to the situation encountered for other previously characterized CXCR4 heteromers, we showed that the CXCR4-specific antagonist AMD3100 did not cross-inhibit chemerin binding in cells co-expressing ChemR23 and CXCR4, demonstrating that cross-regulation by AMD3100 depends on the nature of receptor partners with which CXCR4 is co-expressed.
Stroma cell-derived factor-1? (SDF-1?) is a cardioprotective chemokine, acting through its G-protein coupled receptor CXCR4. In experimental acute myocardial infarction, administration of SDF-1? induces an early improvement of systolic function which is difficult to explain solely by an anti-apoptotic and angiogenic effect. We wondered whether SDF-1? signaling might have direct effects on calcium transients and beating frequency.Primary rat neonatal cardiomyocytes were culture-expanded and characterized by immunofluorescence staining. Calcium sparks were studied by fluorescence microscopy after calcium loading with the Fluo-4 acetoxymethyl ester sensor. The cardiomyocyte enriched cellular suspension expressed troponin I and CXCR4 but was vimentin negative. Addition of SDF-1? in the medium increased cytoplasmic calcium release. The calcium response was completely abolished by using a neutralizing anti-CXCR4 antibody and partially suppressed and delayed by preincubation with an inositol triphosphate receptor (IP3R) blocker, but not with a ryanodine receptor (RyR) antagonist. Calcium fluxes induced by caffeine, a RyR agonist, were decreased by an IP3R blocker. Treatment with forskolin or SDF-1? increased cardiomyocyte beating frequency and their effects were additive. In vivo, treatment with SDF-1? increased left ventricular dP/dtmax.These results suggest that in rat neonatal cardiomyocytes, the SDF-1?/CXCR4 signaling increases calcium transients in an IP3-gated fashion leading to a positive chronotropic and inotropic effect.
Chemokine receptors constitute an attractive family of drug targets in the frame of inflammatory diseases. However, targeting specific chemokine receptors may be complicated by their ability to form dimers or higher order oligomers. Using a combination of luminescence complementation and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays, we demonstrate for the first time the existence of hetero-oligomeric complexes composed of at least three chemokine receptors (CCR2, CCR5, and CXCR4). We show in T cells and monocytes that negative binding cooperativity takes place between the binding pockets of these receptors, demonstrating their functional interaction in leukocytes. We also show that specific antagonists of one receptor (TAK-779 or AMD3100) lead to functional cross-inhibition of the others. Finally, using the air pouch model in mice, we show that the CCR2 and CCR5 antagonist TAK-779 inhibits cell recruitment promoted by the CXCR4 agonist SDF-1 alpha, demonstrating that cross-inhibition by antagonists also occurs in vivo. Thus, antagonists of the therapeutically important chemokine receptors regulate the functional properties of other receptors to which they do not bind directly with important implications for the use of these agents in vivo.
The CC chemokine CCL14a is constitutively expressed in a large variety of tissues and its inactive proform CCL14a(1-74) circulates in high concentrations in plasma. CCL14a(1-74) is converted into CCL14a(9-74) by the proteases urokinase-type plasminogen activator and plasmin and is a highly active agonist for the chemokine receptors CCR1 and CCR5. In this study, a new CCL14a analog, CCL14a(12-74), was isolated from blood filtrate. To elucidate the functional role of the N terminus, a panel of N-terminally truncated CCL14a analogs were tested on the receptors CCR1 to CCR5 and on the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-encoded chemokine receptor US28. The rank order of binding affinity to these receptors and of the activation of CCR1 and CCR5-mediated intracellular Ca(2+) concentration mobilization is CCL14a(6-74)<(7-74)<(8-74)<(9-74) = (10-74)>(11-74)>(12-74). The almost identical affinities of CCL14a(7-74), CCL14a(9-74), and CCL14a(10-74) for the US28 receptor and the inhibition of US28-mediated HIV infection of 293T cells by all of the N-terminally truncated CCL14a analogs support the promiscuous nature of the viral chemokine receptor US28. In high concentrations, CCL14a(12-74) did reveal antagonistic activity on intracellular Ca(2+) concentration mobilization in CCR1- and CCR5-transfected cells, which suggests that truncation of Tyr(11) might be of significance for an efficient inactivation of CCL14a. A putative inactivation pathway of CCL14a(9-74) to CCL14a(12-74) may involve the dipeptidase CD26/dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV), which generates CCL14a(11-74), and the metalloprotease aminopeptidase N (CD13), which displays the capacity to generate CCL14a(12-74) from CCL14a(11-74). Our results suggest that the activity of CCL14a might be regulated by stringent proteolytic activation and inactivation steps.
Macrophages constitute a major component of innate immunity and play an essential role in defense mechanisms against external aggressions and in inflammatory responses. Chemerin, a chemoattractant protein, is generated in inflammatory conditions, and recruits cells expressing the G protein-coupled receptor ChemR23, including macrophages. Chemerin was initially expected to behave as a pro-inflammatory agent. However, recent data described more complex activities that are either pro- or anti-inflammatory, according to the disease model investigated. In the present study, peritoneal macrophages were generated from WT or ChemR23(-/-) mice, stimulated with lipopolyssaccharide in combination or not with IFN-? and the production of pro- (TNF-?, IL-1? and IL-6) and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines was evaluated using qRT-PCR and ELISA. Human macrophages generated from peripheral blood monocytes were also tested in parallel. Peritoneal macrophages from WT mice, recruited by thioglycolate or polyacrylamide beads, functionally expressed ChemR23, as assessed by flow cytometry, binding and chemotaxis assays. However, chemerin had no effect on the strong upregulation of cytokine release by these cells upon stimulation by LPS or LPS/IFN-?, whatever the concentration tested. Similar data were obtained with human macrophages. In conclusion, our results rule out the direct anti-inflammatory effect of chemerin on macrophages ex vivo, described previously in the literature, despite the expression of a functional ChemR23 receptor in these cells.
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