The biochemistry and biology of the atypical chemokine receptors

Immunol Lett. 2012 Jul 30;145(1-2):30-8. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2012.04.004.


A subset of chemokine receptors, initially called "silent" on the basis of their apparent failure to activate conventional signalling events, has recently attracted growing interest due to their ability to internalize, degrade, or transport ligands and thus modify gradients and create functional chemokine patterns in tissues. These receptors recognize distinct and complementary sets of ligands with high affinity, are strategically expressed in different cellular contexts, and lack structural determinants supporting Gα(i) activation, a key signalling event in cell migration. This is in keeping with the hypothesis that they have evolved to fulfil fundamentally different functions to the classical signalling chemokine receptors. Based on these considerations, these receptors (D6, Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC), CCX-CKR1 and CXCR7) are now collectively considered as an emerging class of 'atypical' chemokine receptors. In this article, we review the biochemistry and biology of this emerging chemokine receptor subfamily.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Duffy Blood-Group System / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Receptors, CCR / immunology*
  • Receptors, CXCR / immunology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcytosis


  • ACKR1 protein, human
  • ACKR3 protein, human
  • ACKR4 protein, human
  • Duffy Blood-Group System
  • Receptors, CCR
  • Receptors, CXCR
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Chemokine