Chemokine cooperativity is caused by competitive glycosaminoglycan binding

J Immunol. 2014 Apr 15;192(8):3908-3914. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1302159. Epub 2014 Mar 17.


Chemokines comprise a family of secreted proteins that activate G protein-coupled chemokine receptors and thereby control the migration of leukocytes during inflammation or immune surveillance. The positional information required for such migratory behavior is governed by the binding of chemokines to membrane-tethered glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which establishes a chemokine concentration gradient. An often observed but incompletely understood behavior of chemokines is the ability of unrelated chemokines to enhance the potency with which another chemokine subtype can activate its cognate receptor. This phenomenon has been demonstrated to occur between many chemokine combinations and across several model systems and has been dubbed chemokine cooperativity. In this study, we have used GAG binding-deficient chemokine mutants and cell-based functional (migration) assays to demonstrate that chemokine cooperativity is caused by competitive binding of chemokines to GAGs. This mechanistic explanation of chemokine cooperativity provides insight into chemokine gradient formation in the context of inflammation, in which multiple chemokines are secreted simultaneously.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • CHO Cells
  • Chemokine CCL19 / metabolism
  • Chemokine CCL21 / metabolism
  • Chemokine CXCL13 / metabolism
  • Chemokines / chemistry
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Chemotaxis
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism


  • Chemokine CCL19
  • Chemokine CCL21
  • Chemokine CXCL13
  • Chemokines
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Receptors, Chemokine