Human anti-CXCR4 antibodies undergo VH replacement, exhibit functional V-region sulfation, and define CXCR4 antigenic heterogeneity

J Immunol. 2007 Aug 15;179(4):2408-18. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.179.4.2408.


The chemokine receptor CXCR4 and its ligand stromal-derived factor-1 (SDF-1/CXCL12) are essential for many biological processes and various pathological conditions. However, the relationship between CXCR4 antigenic structure and SDF-1-mediated biological responses is poorly understood. In this report, a panel of human anti-CXCR4 Abs were isolated and used to explore CXCR4 antigenic heterogeneity and function. Multiple fixed CXCR4 antigenic isoforms were detected on the surface of hemopoietic cells. Epitope mapping studies demonstrated the complex nature of the surface-exposed CXCR4 epitopes. Ab-mediated inhibition of chemotaxis correlated strongly with binding affinity, epitope recognition, as well as the level of CXCR4 isoform expression. In addition, detailed genetic analyses of these Abs showed evidence of V(H) replacement. Importantly, structural and biochemical studies demonstrated tyrosine sulfation in novel regions of the V genes that contributed bidirectionally to the binding activity of the Abs. These data provide the first evidence that functional tyrosine sulfation occurs in self-reactive Abs and suggest a potential new mechanism that may contribute to the pathogenesis of Ab-mediated autoimmune disease. These Abs also provide valuable tools to explore the selective in vivo targeting of CXCR4 isoforms that may be preferentially expressed in certain disease states and involved in steady-state CXCR4-SDF-1 homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC / immunology
  • Dogs
  • Epitope Mapping*
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Protein Isoforms / immunology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / immunology*
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies
  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Epitopes
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, CXCR4