CXC chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 in tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri): structure, expression and function

PLoS One. 2014 May 23;9(5):e98231. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098231. eCollection 2014.


Chemokines are small secreted proteins functionally involved in the immune system's regulation of lymphocyte migration across numerous mammalian species. Given its growing popularity in immunological models, we investigated the structure and function of chemokine CXCL12 protein in tree shrews. We found that CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 in tree shrew had structural similarities to their homologous human proteins. Phylogenetic analysis supports the view that tree shrew is evolutionarily-close to the primates. Our results also showed that the human recombinant CXCL12 protein directly enhanced the migration of tree shrew's lymphocytes in vitro, while AMD3100 enhanced the mobilization of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) from bone marrow into peripheral blood in tree shrew in vivo. Collectively, these findings suggested that chemokines in tree shrews may play the same or similar roles as those in humans, and that the tree shrew is a viable animal model for studying human immunological diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology
  • Benzylamines
  • Chemokine CXCL12* / biosynthesis
  • Chemokine CXCL12* / genetics
  • Chemokine CXCL12* / immunology
  • Cyclams
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Receptors, CXCR4* / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, CXCR4* / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR4* / immunology
  • Tupaia* / genetics
  • Tupaia* / immunology


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Benzylamines
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Cyclams
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • plerixafor

Grant support

This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81271330, No . 31160237, and No . 31260276), Yunnan Province Science and Technology Innovation Team (No . 2011CI123), Talent Program of Yunnan Province (No . W8110305), Foundation of School of Life Sciences of Yunnan University (No . 2012S301), and the Natural Science Foundation of Yunnan Province (No . 2011BC003). The funders had no roles in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.