Chemokine cooperativity is caused by competitive glycosaminoglycan binding.

Authors: Verkaar F, van Offenbeek J, van der Lee MM, van Lith LH, Watts AO, Rops AL, Aguilar DC, Ziarek JJ, van der Vlag J, Handel TM, Volkman BF, Proudfoot AE, Vischer HF, Zaman GJ, Smit MJ.
Publisher/Year: J Immunol 192(8):3908-14.
Pub Med ID/Journal ID: PMID:24639348


Chemokines comprise a family of secreted proteins that activate G protein-coupled chemokine receptors and thereby control the migration of leukocytes during inflammation or immune surveillance. The positional information required for such migratory behavior is governed by the binding of chemokines to membrane-tethered glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which establishes a chemokine concentration gradient. An often observed but incompletely understood behavior of chemokines is the ability of unrelated chemokines to enhance the potency with which another chemokine subtype can activate its cognate receptor. This phenomenon has been demonstrated to occur between many chemokine combinations and across several model systems and has been dubbed chemokine cooperativity. In this study, we have used GAG binding-deficient chemokine mutants and cell-based functional (migration) assays to demonstrate that chemokine cooperativity is caused by competitive binding of chemokines to GAGs. This mechanistic explanation of chemokine cooperativity provides insight into chemokine gradient formation in the context of inflammation, in which multiple chemokines are secreted simultaneously.