Chemokine CXCL12 uses CXCR4 and a signaling core formed by bifunctional Akt, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) proteins to control chemotaxis and survival simultaneously in mature dendritic cells

J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 28;286(43):37222-36. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.294116. Epub 2011 Aug 30.


Chemokines control several cell functions in addition to chemotaxis. Although much information is available on the involvement of specific signaling molecules in the control of single functions controlled by chemokines, especially chemotaxis, the mechanisms used by these ligands to regulate several cell functions simultaneously are completely unknown. Mature dendritic cells (maDCs) migrate through the afferent lymphatic vessels to the lymph nodes, where they regulate the initiation of the immune response. As maDCs are exposed to chemokine CXCL12 (receptors CXCR4 and CXCR7) during their migration, its functions are amenable to be regulated by this ligand. We have used maDCs as a model system to analyze the mechanisms whereby CXCL12 simultaneously controls chemotaxis and survival in maDCs. We show that CXCL12 uses CXCR4, but not CXCR7, and the components of a signaling core that includes G(i)/Gβγ, PI3K-α/-δ/-γ, Akt, ERK1/2 and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), which organize hierarchically to control both functions. Downstream of Akt, Forkhead box class O (FOXO) regulates CXCL12-dependent survival, but not chemotaxis, suggesting that downstream of the aforementioned signaling core, additional signaling molecules may control more selectively CXCL12-dependent chemotaxis or survival. Finally, the data obtained also show that CXCR4 uses a signaling signature that is different from that used by CCR7 to control similar functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / metabolism*
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / metabolism*
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Receptors, CCR7 / metabolism
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • CCR7 protein, human
  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • CXCR4 protein, human
  • CXCR4 protein, mouse
  • Ccr7 protein, mouse
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Cxcl12 protein, mouse
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, CCR7
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • MAPK1 protein, human
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3