It is known that the chemokine receptor CXCR7 (RDC1) can be engaged by both chemokines CXCL12 (SDF-1) and CXCL11 (I-TAC), but the exact expression pattern and function of CXCR7 is controversial. CXCR7 expression seems to be enhanced during pathological inflammation and tumor development, and emerging data suggest this receptor is an attractive therapeutic target for autoimmune diseases and cancer. CXCR7/CXCR4 heterodimerization, β-arrestin-mediated signaling, and modulation of CXCL12 responsiveness by CXCR7 suggest that the monogamous CXCR4/CXCL12 signaling axis is an oversimplified model that needs to be revisited. Consequently, research into CXCR7 biology is of great interest and further studies are warranted. This review summarizes recent findings about the CXCR7 receptor and analyses its impact on understanding the roles of CXCL12 biology in health and disease.
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