Tyrosine sulfation is prevalent in human chemokine receptors important in lung disease

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2008 Jun;38(6):738-43. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2007-0118OC. Epub 2008 Jan 24.


Post-translational sulfation of tyrosines affects the affinity and binding of at least some chemokine receptors to their ligand(s) and has been hypothesized to be a feature in all chemokine receptors. This binding initiates downstream signaling cascades. By this mechanism, tyrosine sulfation can influence the cells involved in acute and chronic events of cellular immunity. These events include leukocyte trafficking and airway inflammation important in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We are using computational methods to convert the poorly defined hypothesis of more widespread sulfation of chemokine receptors to more specific assessments of how closely the sequence environment of each tyrosine residue resembles the sequence environment of tyrosine residues proven to be sulfated. Thus, we provide specific and readily tested hypotheses about the tyrosine residues in all of the chemokine receptors. Tyrosine sulfation was predicted with high scores in the N-terminus domain of 13 out of 18 human chemokine receptor proteins using a position-specific scoring matrix, which was determined to be 94.2% accurate based on Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis. The remaining chemokine receptors have sites exhibiting features of tyrosine sulfation. These putative sites demonstrate clustering in a manner consistent with known tyrosine sulfation sites and conservation both within the chemokine receptor family and across mammalian species. Human chemokine receptors important in asthma and COPD, such as CXCR1, CXCR2, CXCR3, CXCR4, CCR1, CCR2, CCR3, CCR4, CCR5, and CCR8, contain at least one known or predicted tyrosine sulfation site. Recognition that tyrosine sulfation is found in most clinically relevant chemokine receptors could help the development of specific receptor-ligand antagonists to modulate events important in airway diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Databases, Protein
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Receptors, Chemokine* / genetics
  • Receptors, Chemokine* / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sulfates / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine / chemistry
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Sulfates
  • Tyrosine