Studies with neutralizing antibodies suggest CXCL8-mediated neutrophil activation is independent of C-C motif chemokine receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) ligand binding function

PLoS One. 2023 Jan 20;18(1):e0280590. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280590. eCollection 2023.


C-C motif chemokine receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) is a non-signaling 7 transmembrane receptor that binds chemotactic ligands to shape leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation. However, there is a lack of consensus on the ligands that directly bind CCRL2 or their functional impact. Studies with CCRL2 knockout mice have demonstrated that neutrophils have impaired degranulation and migration in response to CXCL8, where the underlying molecular mechanism is proposed to be due to the formation of CCRL2 heterodimers with the chemokine receptor CXCR2. Herein, we characterized the ligands that bind directly to CCRL2 and interrogated the impact of CCRL2 neutralization on CXCL8 signaling in neutrophils using pharmacological antibody tools. Using flow cytometry and Surface Plasmon Resonance microscopy (SPRm) cell binding experiments, we confirmed that chemerin, but not previously reported C-C chemokines, binds CCRL2. Furthermore, we identified human and mouse CCRL2 antibodies that neutralized chemerin binding to CCRL2. Unexpectedly, we found that neutralization of CCRL2 with these antibodies did not attenuate CXCL8-induced human neutrophil degranulation nor CXCL8-induced murine neutrophil recruitment to the peritoneum. Based on the observed differences in modulating CCRL2 function with neutralizing antibodies compared to the reported CCRL2 deficient murine models, we hypothesize that the ligand binding function of CCRL2 is dispensable for CXCL8 signaling in neutrophils. Finally, extensive profiling of CCRL2 expression on peripheral blood leukocytes revealed monocytes, dendritic cells (DC), and subpopulations of natural killer T (NKT) cells as additional targets, highlighting potential roles for CCRL2 in human cell types beyond neutrophils that warrants future investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Neutrophil Activation*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Receptors, CCR* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptors, CCR
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Ligands
  • Interleukin-8
  • Ccrl2 protein, mouse

Grants and funding

Pfizer Inc. provided support for this research in the form of research materials and salaries of the authors. Pfizer had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.