Recent work identified the murine gene homologous to the human T cell attracting chemokine CXC receptor ligand 11 (CXCL11, also termed I-TAC, SCYB11, ss-R1, H174, IP-9). Here, the biological activity and expression patterns of murine CXCL11 relative to CXCL9 (MIG) and CXCL10 (IP-10/crg-2), the other two CXCR3 ligands, were assessed. Calcium mobilization and chemotaxis experiments demonstrated that murine CXCL11 stimulated murine CXCR3 at much lower doses than murine CXCL9 or murine CXCL10. Murine CXCL11 also evoked calcium mobilization in CHO cells transfected with human CXCR3 and was chemotactic for CXCR3-expressing human T lymphocytes as well as for 300--19 pre-B cells transfected with human or murine CXCR3. Moreover, murine CXCL11 blocked the chemotactic effect of human CXCL11 on human CXCR3 transfectants. Depending on cell type (macrophage-like cells RAW264.7, J774A.1, fetal F20 and adult dermal fibroblasts, immature and mature bone marrow-derived dendritic cells) and stimulus (interferons, LPS, IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha), an up to 10,000-fold increase of CXCL9, CXCL10 and CXCL11 mRNA levels, quantified by real-time PCR, was observed. In vivo, the three chemokines are constitutively expressed in various tissues from healthy BALB/c mice and were strongly up-regulated during rejection of allogeneic heart transplants. Chemokine mRNA levels exceeded those of CXCR3 and IFN-gamma which were induced with similar kinetics by several orders of magnitude.