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1.  Chemokine-like Receptor 1 (CMKLR1) and Chemokine (C-C motif) Receptor-like 2 (CCRL2); Two Multifunctional Receptors with Unusual Properties 
Experimental cell research  2010;317(5):674-684.
Chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1), also known as ChemR23, and chemokine (C-C motif) receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) are 7-transmembrane receptors that were cloned in the late 1990’s based on their homology to known G-protein-coupled receptors. They were previously orphan receptors without any known biological roles; however, recent studies identified ligands for these receptors and their functions have begun to be unveiled. The plasma protein-derived chemoattractant chemerin is a ligand for CMKLR1 and activation of CMKLR1 with chemerin induces the migration of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) in vitro, suggesting a pro-inflammatory role. However, in vivo studies using CMKLR-deficient mice suggest an anti-inflammatory role for this receptor, possibly due to the recruitment of tolerogenic plasmacytoid DCs. Chemerin/CMKLR1 interaction also promotes adipogenesis and angiogenesis. The anti-inflammatory lipid mediator, resolving E1, is another CMKLR1 ligand and it inhibits leukocyte infiltration and proinflammatory gene expression. These divergent results suggest that CMKLR1 is a multifunctional receptor.
The chemokine CCL5 and CCL19 are reported to bind to CCRL2. Like Duffy antigen for chemokine receptor (DARC), D6 and CCX-CKR, CCRL2 does not signal, but it constitutively recycles, potentially reducing local concentration of CCL5 and CCL19 and subsequent immune responses. Surprisingly, chemerin, a ligand for CMKLR1, is a ligand for CCRL2. CCRL2 binds chemerin and increases local chemerin concentration to efficiently present it to CMKLR1 on nearby cells, providing a link between CCRL2 and CMKLR1. Although these findings suggest an anti-inflammatory role, a recent study using CCRL2-deficient mice indicates a proinflammatory role; thus, CCRL2 may also be multifunctional. Further studies using CMKLR1- or CCRL2-deficient mice are needed to further define the role of these receptors in immune responses and other cellular processes.
doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.10.023
PMCID: PMC3049852  PMID: 21056554
chemokine receptor; G-protein-coupled receptor; inflammation; leukocyte trafficking
2.  Expression, Regulation and Function of Atypical Chemerin Receptor CCRL2 on Endothelial Cells 
CC-chemokine receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) binds leukocyte chemoattractant chemerin and can regulate local levels of the attractant, but does not itself support cell migration. Here we show that CCRL2 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) are upregulated on cultured human and mouse vascular endothelial cells (EC) and cell lines by pro-inflammatory stimuli. CCRL2 induction is dependent on NF-κB and JAK/STAT signaling pathways, and activated endothelial cells specifically bind chemerin. In vivo, CCRL2 is constitutively expressed at high levels by lung endothelial cells and at lower levels by liver endothelium; and liver but not lung EC respond to systemic LPS injection by further upregulation of the receptor. Plasma levels of total chemerin are elevated in CCRL2−/− mice, and are significantly enhanced after systemic LPS treatment in CCRL2−/− mice compared to WT. Following acute LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation in vivo, CMKLR1+ NK cell recruitment to the airways is significantly impaired in CCRL2−/− mice compared to WT. In vitro, chemerin binding to CCRL2 on endothelial cells triggers robust adhesion of chemokine-like receptor-1 (CMKLR1)-positive lymphoid cells through an α4β1/VCAM-1-dependent mechanism. In conclusion CCRL2 is expressed by endothelial cells in a tissue and activation-dependent fashion; regulates circulating chemerin levels and its bioactivity; and enhances chemerin and CMKLR1-dependent lymphocyte-endothelial cell adhesion in vitro and recruitment to inflamed airways in vivo. Its expression and/or induction on EC by proinflammatory stimuli provide a novel and specific mechanism for the local enrichment of chemerin at inflammatory sites, regulating the recruitment of CMKLR1+ cells.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1102871
PMCID: PMC3428203  PMID: 22696441
3.  Role of Exonic Variation in Chemokine Receptor Genes on AIDS: CCRL2 F167Y Association with Pneumocystis Pneumonia 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(10):e1002328.
Chromosome 3p21–22 harbors two clusters of chemokine receptor genes, several of which serve as major or minor coreceptors of HIV-1. Although the genetic association of CCR5 and CCR2 variants with HIV-1 pathogenesis is well known, the role of variation in other nearby chemokine receptor genes remain unresolved. We genotyped exonic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in chemokine receptor genes: CCR3, CCRL2, and CXCR6 (at 3p21) and CCR8 and CX3CR1 (at 3p22), the majority of which were non-synonymous. The individual SNPs were tested for their effects on disease progression and outcomes in five treatment-naïve HIV-1/AIDS natural history cohorts. In addition to the known CCR5 and CCR2 associations, significant associations were identified for CCR3, CCR8, and CCRL2 on progression to AIDS. A multivariate survival analysis pointed to a previously undetected association of a non-conservative amino acid change F167Y in CCRL2 with AIDS progression: 167F is associated with accelerated progression to AIDS (RH = 1.90, P = 0.002, corrected). Further analysis indicated that CCRL2-167F was specifically associated with more rapid development of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) (RH = 2.84, 95% CI 1.28–6.31) among four major AIDS–defining conditions. Considering the newly defined role of CCRL2 in lung dendritic cell trafficking, this atypical chemokine receptor may affect PCP through immune regulation and inducing inflammation.
Author Summary
Human chemokine receptors are cell surface proteins that may be utilized by HIV-1 for entry into host cells. DNA variation in the HIV-1 major coreceptor CCR5 affects HIV-1 infection and progression. This study comprehensively assesses the role of genetic variation of multiple chemokine receptor genes clustered in the chromosome 3p21 and 3p22 on HIV-1 disease outcomes in HIV-1 natural history cohorts. The multivariate survival analyses identified functional variants that altered disease progression rate in CCRL2, CCR3, and CCR8. CCRL2-F167Y affects the rate to AIDS development through a specific protection against pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), a common AIDS–defining condition. Our study identified this atypical chemokine receptor CCRL2 as a key factor involved in PCP, possibly through inducing inflammation in the lung.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002328
PMCID: PMC3203199  PMID: 22046140
4.  Comparative modeling of CCRL1, a key protein in masked immune diseases and virtual screening for finding inhibitor of this protein 
Bioinformation  2012;8(7):336-340.
Human CCRL1 belongs to the family of silent chemokine receptors. This transmembrane protein plays a role in blunting function of chemokines through binding to them. This will attenuate immune responses. Interaction between CCRL1 and CCL21 determines this immune extinction. Thus inhibiting the action of this atypical chemokine seems to stimulate immune responses especially in the case of suppressed and immune deficient conditions. In this study we predicted 3D structure of CCRL1 using comparative modeling and Hiddebn Markov Model algorithm. Final predicted model optimized by Modeller v9.8 and minimized regarding energy level using UCSF chimera candidate version1.5.3. ClasPro webserver was used to find interacting residues between CCRL1 and CCL21. Interacting residues were used as target for chemical inhibitors by simulated docking study. For finding potential inhibitors, library of KEGG compounds screened and 97 obtained chemicals docked against interacting residues between CCRL1- CCL21 and MolDock was used as docking scoring function. Results indicated that Hexadecanal is a potential inhibitor of CCRL1- CCL21 interaction. Inhibition of this interaction will increase intercellular level of CCl21 and interaction between CCL21 and CCR7 causes immune potentiaiton.
doi:10.6026/97320630008336
PMCID: PMC3338979  PMID: 22553392
CCRL1; CCL21; CCR7; Docking; MolDock; Hexadecanal
5.  Expression and regulation of CCL18 in synovial fluid neutrophils of patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by the recruitment of leukocytes and the accumulation of inflammatory mediators within the synovial compartment. Release of the chemokine CCL18 has been widely attributed to antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells. This study investigates the production of CCL18 in polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), the predominant cell type recruited into synovial fluid (SF). Microarray analysis, semiquantitative and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction identified SF PMN from patients with RA as a novel source for CCL18 in diseased joints. Highly upregulated expression of other chemokine genes was observed for CCL3, CXCL8 and CXCL10, whereas CCL21 was downregulated. The chemokine receptor genes were differentially expressed, with upregulation of CXCR4, CCRL2 and CCR5 and downregulation of CXCR1 and CXCR2. In cell culture experiments, expression of CCL18 mRNA in blood PMN was induced by tumor necrosis factor α, whereas synthesis of CCL18 protein required additional stimulation with a combination of IL-10 and vitamin D3. In comparison, recruited SF PMN from patients with RA were sensitized for CCL18 production, because IL-10 alone was sufficient to induce CCL18 release. These results suggest a release of the T cell-attracting CCL18 by PMN when recruited to diseased joints. However, its production is tightly regulated at the levels of mRNA expression and protein synthesis.
doi:10.1186/ar2294
PMCID: PMC2212580  PMID: 17875202
6.  Chemokine receptor-like 2 is involved in ischemic brain injury 
We examined the role of CCRL2 in ischemic brain injury using both in vitro and in vivo mouse stroke models. The expression of CCRL2 was enhanced at both the RNA and protein levels in cultured brain slices under ischemic conditions. Ischemia-induced cell death was reduced in brain slices derived from CCRL2 knockout (KO) mice in comparison with those from wild type (WT) mice. The infarct volume was smaller and neurological deficits were attenuated in CCRL2 KO mice when compared to WT mice subjected to a transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Our data suggest that CCRL2 is involved in ischemia-induced brain injury in mice.
PMCID: PMC3705577  PMID: 23847708
7.  Shaping the gradient by nonchemotactic chemokine receptors 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2009;3(2):146-147.
Chemokines are a class of inflammatory mediators which main function is to direct leukocyte migration through the binding to G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In addition to these functional, signal-transducing chemokine receptors other types of receptors belonging to the chemokine GPCR family were identified. They are called atypical or decoy chemokine receptors because they bind and degrade chemokines but do not transduce signals or activate cell migration. Here there is the summary of two recent papers that identified other nonchemotactic chemokine receptors: the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) that mediates trancytosis of chemokines from tissue to vascular lumen promoting chemokine-mediated leukocyte transmigration and chemokine (CC motif) receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) that neither internalizes its ligands nor transduces signals but presents bound ligands to functional signaling receptors improving their activity. Collectively these nonchemotactic chemokine receptors do not directly induce cell migration, but appear nonetheless to play a nonredundant role in leukocyte recruitment by shaping the chemoattractant gradient, either by removing, transporting or concentrating their cognate ligands.
PMCID: PMC2679872  PMID: 19279397
Chemokine; chemokine receptor; leukocyte recruitment; chemotaxis; transcytosis
8.  Early immune response following Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium infection in porcine jejunal gut loops 
Veterinary Research  2008;40(1):05.
Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium, commonly called S. Typhimurium, can cause intestinal infections in humans and various animal species such as swine. To analyze the host response to Salmonella infection in the pig we used an in vivo gut loop model, which allows the analysis of multiple immune responses within the same animal. Four jejunal gut-loops were each inoculated with 3×108 cfu of S. Typhimurium in 3 one-month-old piglets and mRNA expressions of various cytokines, chemokines, transcription factors, antimicrobial peptides, toll like and chemokine receptors were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR in the Peyer’s patch and the gut wall after 24 h. Several genes such as the newly cloned CCRL1/CCX-CKR were assessed for the first time in the pig at the mRNA level. Pro-inflammatory and T-helper type-1 (Th1) cytokine mRNA were expressed at higher levels in infected compared to non-infected control loops. Similarly, some B cell activation genes, NOD2 and toll like receptor 2 and 4 transcripts were more expressed in both tissues while TLR5 mRNA was down-regulated. Interestingly, CCL25 mRNA expression as well as the mRNA expressions of its receptors CCR9 and CCRL1 were decreased both in the Peyer’s patch and gut wall suggesting a potential Salmonella strategy to reduce lymphocyte homing to the intestine. In conclusion, these results provide insight into the porcine innate mucosal immune response to infection with entero-invasive microorganisms such as S. Typhimurium. In the future, this knowledge should help in the development of improved prophylactic and therapeutic approaches against porcine intestinal S. Typhimurium infections.
doi:10.1051/vetres:2008043
PMCID: PMC2695014  PMID: 18922229
Salmonella; Th1 cytokines; pig; CCRL1; pattern recognition receptor
9.  Mast cell–expressed orphan receptor CCRL2 binds chemerin and is required for optimal induction of IgE-mediated passive cutaneous anaphylaxis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(10):2207-2220.
Mast cells contribute importantly to both protective and pathological IgE-dependent immune responses. We show that the mast cell–expressed orphan serpentine receptor mCCRL2 is not required for expression of IgE-mediated mast cell–dependent passive cutaneous anaphylaxis but can enhance the tissue swelling and leukocyte infiltrates associated with such reactions in mice. We further identify chemerin as a natural nonsignaling protein ligand for both human and mouse CCRL2. In contrast to other “silent” or professional chemokine interreceptors, chemerin binding does not trigger ligand internalization. Rather, CCRL2 is able to bind the chemoattractant and increase local concentrations of bioactive chemerin, thus providing a link between CCRL2 expression and inflammation via the cell-signaling chemerin receptor CMKLR1.
doi:10.1084/jem.20080300
PMCID: PMC2556791  PMID: 18794339
10.  Role of the atypical chemoattractant receptor CRAM in regulating CCL19 induced CCR7 responses in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:297.
Background
The non-signalling chemokine receptors, including receptors DARC, D6 and CCX-CKR, have recently been shown to be involved in chemokine clearance and activity regulation. The human chemokine receptor CRAM (also known as HCR or CCRL2) is the most recently identified member of this atypical group. CRAM is expressed on B cells in a maturation-stage dependent manner and absent on T cells. We have recently shown that it competitively binds CCL19. CCL19 and its signalling receptor CCR7 are critical components involved in cell recruitment to secondary lymphoid organs and in maturation. B cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (B-CLL) is a low-grade lymphoma characterized by proliferative centres (or pseudofollicles). Proliferative centres develop due to abnormal cellular localisation and they are involved in the development of malignant cells. CCR7 is highly expressed on B cells from CLL patients and mediates migration towards its ligands CCL19 and CCL21, while CRAM expression and potential interferences with CCR7 are yet to be characterized.
Results
In this study, we show that B cells from patients with B-CLL present highly variable degrees of CRAM expression in contrast to more consistently high levels of CCR7. We investigated the hypothesis that, similar to the atypical receptor DARC, CRAM can modulate chemokine availability and/or efficacy, resulting in the regulation of cellular activation. We found that a high level of CRAM expression was detrimental to efficient chemotaxis with CCL19. MAP-kinase phosphorylation and intracellular calcium release induced by CCL19 were also altered by CRAM expression. In addition, we demonstrate that CRAM-induced regulation of CCL19 signalling is maintained over time.
Conclusions
We postulate that CRAM is a factor involved in the fine tuning/control of CCR7/CCL19 mediated responses. This regulation could be critical to the pivotal role of CCL19 induced formation of proliferation centres supporting the T/B cells encounter as well as disease progression in B-CLL.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-9-297
PMCID: PMC2998479  PMID: 21092185
11.  Characterisation of SNP haplotype structure in chemokine and chemokine receptor genes using CEPH pedigrees and statistical estimation 
Human Genomics  2004;1(3):195-207.
Chemokine signals and their cell-surface receptors are important modulators of HIV-1 disease and cancer. To aid future case/control association studies, aim to further characterise the haplotype structure of variation in chemokine and chemokine receptor genes. To perform haplotype analysis in a population-based association study, haplotypes must be determined by estimation, in the absence of family information or laboratory methods to establish phase. Here, test the accuracy of estimates of haplotype frequency and linkage disequilibrium by comparing estimated haplotypes generated with the expectation maximisation (EM) algorithm to haplotypes determined from Centre d'Etude Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH) pedigree data. To do this, they have characterised haplotypes comprising alleles at 11 biallelic loci in four chemokine receptor genes (CCR3, CCR2, CCR5 and CCRL2), which span 150 kb on chromosome 3p21, and haplotyes of nine biallelic loci in six chemokine genes [MCP-1(CCL2), Eotaxin(CCL11), RANTES(CCL5), MPIF-1(CCL23), PARC(CCL18) and MIP-1α(CCL3) ] on chromosome 17q11-12. Forty multi-generation CEPH families, totalling 489 individuals, were genotyped by the TaqMan 5'-nuclease assay. Phased haplotypes and haplotypes estimated from unphased genotypes were compared in 103 grandparents who were assumed to have mated at random.
For the 3p21 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data, haplotypes determined by pedigree analysis and haplotypes generated by the EM algorithm were nearly identical. Linkage disequilibrium, measured by the D' statistic, was nearly maximal across the 150 kb region, with complete disequilibrium maintained at the extremes between CCR3-Y17Y and CCRL2-1243V. D'-values calculated from estimated haplotypes on 3p21 had high concordance with pairwise comparisons between pedigree-phased chromosomes. Conversely, there was less agreement between analyses of haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium using estimated haplotypes when compared with pedigree-phased haplotypes of SNPs on chromosome 17q11-12. These results suggest that, while estimations of haplotype frequency and linkage disequilibrium may be relatively simple in the 3p21 chemokine receptor cluster in population samples, the more complex environment on chromosome 17q11-12 will require a higher resolution haplotype analysis.
doi:10.1186/1479-7364-1-3-195
PMCID: PMC3525080  PMID: 15588479
chemokine; SNP; haplotype estimation; pedigree analysis; linkage disequilibrium
12.  Genetic Protection against Hepatitis B Virus Conferred by CCR5Δ32: Evidence that CCR5 Contributes to Viral Persistence▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(2):441-445.
Recovery from acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection requires a broad, vigorous T-cell response, which is enhanced in mice when chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) is missing. To test the hypothesis that production of a nonfunctional CCR5 (CCR5Δ32 [a functionally null allele containing a 32-bp deletion]) increases the likelihood of recovery from hepatitis B in humans, we studied 526 persons from three cohorts in which one person with HBV persistence was matched to two persons who recovered from an HBV infection. Recovery or persistence was determined prior to availability of lamivudine. We determined genotypes for CCR5Δ32 and for polymorphisms in the CCR5 promoter and in coding regions of the neighboring genes, chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) and chemokine receptor-like 2 (CCRL2). Allele and haplotype frequencies were compared among the 190 persons with viral recovery and the 336 with persistence by use of conditional logistic regression. CCR5Δ32 reduced the risk of developing a persistent HBV infection by nearly half (odds ratio [OR], 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.33 to 0.83; P = 0.006). This association was virtually identical in persons with and without a concomitant human immunodeficiency virus infection. Of the nine individuals who were homozygous for the deletion, eight recovered from infection (OR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.03 to 1.99; P = 0.19). None of the other neighboring polymorphisms examined were associated with HBV outcome. These data demonstrate a protective effect of CCR5Δ32 in recovery from an HBV infection, provide genetic epidemiological evidence for a role of CCR5 in the immune response to HBV, and suggest a potential therapeutic treatment for patients persistently infected with HBV.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01897-06
PMCID: PMC1797425  PMID: 17079285
13.  STAT1-Dependent Signal Integration between IFNγ and TLR4 in Vascular Cells Reflect Pro-Atherogenic Responses in Human Atherosclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113318.
Signal integration between IFNγ and TLRs in immune cells has been associated with the host defense against pathogens and injury, with a predominant role of STAT1. We hypothesize that STAT1-dependent transcriptional changes in vascular cells involved in cross-talk between IFNγ and TLR4, reflect pro-atherogenic responses in human atherosclerosis. Genome-wide investigation identified a set of STAT1-dependent genes that were synergistically affected by interactions between IFNγ and TLR4 in VSMCs. These included the chemokines Cxcl9, Ccl12, Ccl8, Ccrl2, Cxcl10 and Ccl5, adhesion molecules Cd40, Cd74, and antiviral and antibacterial genes Rsad2, Mx1, Oasl1, Gbp5, Nos2, Batf2 and Tnfrsf11a. Among the amplified genes was also Irf8, of which Ccl5 was subsequently identified as a new pro-inflammatory target in VSMCs and ECs. Promoter analysis predicted transcriptional cooperation between STAT1, IRF1, IRF8 and NFκB, with the novel role of IRF8 providing an additional layer to the overall complexity. The synergistic interactions between IFNγ and TLR4 also resulted in increased T-cell migration and impaired aortic contractility in a STAT1-dependent manner. Expression of the chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10 correlated with STAT1 phosphorylation in vascular cells in plaques from human carotid arteries. Moreover, using data mining of human plaque transcriptomes, expression of a selection of these STAT1-dependent pro-atherogenic genes was found to be increased in coronary artery disease (CAD) and carotid atherosclerosis. Our study provides evidence to suggest that in ECs and VSMCs STAT1 orchestrates a platform for cross-talk between IFNγ and TLR4, and identifies a STAT1-dependent gene signature that reflects a pro-atherogenic state in human atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113318
PMCID: PMC4257532  PMID: 25478796
14.  Antigen-Specific IgG ameliorates allergic airway inflammation via Fcγ receptor IIB on dendritic cells 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):42.
Background
There have been few reports on the role of Fc receptors (FcRs) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) in asthma. The purpose of this study is to clarify the role of inhibitory FcRs and antigen presenting cells (APCs) in pathogenesis of asthma and to evaluate antigen-transporting and presenting capacity by APCs in the tracheobronchial mucosa.
Methods
In FcγRIIB deficient (KO) and C57BL/6 (WT) mice, the effects of intratracheal instillation of antigen-specific IgG were analysed using the model with sensitization and airborne challenge with ovalbumin (OVA). Thoracic lymph nodes instilled with fluorescein-conjugated OVA were analysed by fluorescence microscopy. Moreover, we analysed the CD11c+ MHC class II+ cells which intaken fluorescein-conjugated OVA in thoracic lymph nodes by flow cytometry. Also, lung-derived CD11c+ APCs were analysed by flow cytometry. Effects of anti-OVA IgG1 on bone marrow dendritic cells (BMDCs) in vitro were also analysed. Moreover, in FcγRIIB KO mice intravenously transplanted dendritic cells (DCs) differentiated from BMDCs of WT mice, the effects of intratracheal instillation of anti-OVA IgG were evaluated by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).
Results
In WT mice, total cells and eosinophils in BAL fluid reduced after instillation with anti-OVA IgG1. Anti-OVA IgG1 suppressed airway inflammation in hyperresponsiveness and histology. In addition, the number of the fluorescein-conjugated OVA in CD11c+ MHC class II+ cells of thoracic lymph nodes with anti-OVA IgG1 instillation decreased compared with PBS. Also, MHC class II expression on lung-derived CD11c+ APCs with anti-OVA IgG1 instillation reduced. Moreover, in vitro, we showed that BMDCs with anti-OVA IgG1 significantly decreased the T cell proliferation. Finally, we demonstrated that the lacking effects of anti-OVA IgG1 on airway inflammation on FcγRIIB KO mice were restored with WT-derived BMDCs transplanted intravenously.
Conclusion
Antigen-specific IgG ameliorates allergic airway inflammation via FcγRIIB on DCs.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-42
PMCID: PMC3079623  PMID: 21477339
15.  Inflammatory Mediators Alter the Astrocyte Transcriptome and Calcium Signaling Elicited by Multiple G-Protein-Coupled Receptors 
Inflammation features in CNS disorders such as stroke, trauma, neurodegeneration, infection, and autoimmunity in which astrocytes play critical roles. To elucidate how inflammatory mediators alter astrocyte functions, we examined effects of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and interferon-gamma (IFNγ), alone and in combination, on purified, mouse primary cortical astrocyte cultures. We used microarrays to conduct whole-genome expression profiling, and measured calcium signaling, which is implicated in mediating dynamic astrocyte functions. Combinatorial exposure to TGF-β1, LPS, and IFNγ significantly modulated astrocyte expression of >6800 gene probes, including >380 synergistic changes not predicted by summing individual treatment effects. Bioinformatic analyses revealed significantly and markedly upregulated molecular networks and pathways associated in particular with immune signaling and regulation of cell injury, death, growth, and proliferation. Highly regulated genes included chemokines, growth factors, enzymes, channels, transporters, and intercellular and intracellular signal transducers. Notably, numerous genes for G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and G-protein effectors involved in calcium signaling were significantly regulated, mostly down (for example, Cxcr4, Adra2a, Ednra, P2y1, Gnao1, Gng7), but some up (for example, P2y14, P2y6, Ccrl2, Gnb4). We tested selected cases and found that changes in GPCR gene expression were accompanied by significant, parallel changes in astrocyte calcium signaling evoked by corresponding GPCR-specific ligands. These findings identify pronounced changes in the astrocyte transcriptome induced by TGF-β1, LPS, and IFNγ, and show that these inflammatory stimuli upregulate astrocyte molecular networks associated with immune- and injury-related functions and significantly alter astrocyte calcium signaling stimulated by multiple GPCRs.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1256-12.2012
PMCID: PMC3518872  PMID: 23077035
16.  The Expression and Regulation of Chemerin in the Epidermis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117830.
Chemerin is a protein ligand for the G protein-coupled receptor CMKLR1 and also binds to two atypical heptahelical receptors, CCRL2 and GPR1. Chemerin is a leukocyte attractant, adipokine, and antimicrobial protein. Although chemerin was initially identified as a highly expressed gene in healthy skin keratinocytes that was downregulated during psoriasis, the regulation of chemerin and its receptors in the skin by specific cytokines and microbial factors remains unexplored. Here we show that chemerin, CMKLR1, CCRL2 and GPR1 are expressed in human and mouse epidermis, suggesting that this tissue may be both a source and target for chemerin mediated effects. In human skin cultures, chemerin is significantly downregulated by IL-17 and IL-22, key cytokines implicated in psoriasis, whereas it is upregulated by acute phase cytokines oncostatin M and IL-1β. Moreover, we show that human keratinocytes in vitro and mouse skin in vivo respond to specific microbial signals to regulate expression levels of chemerin and its receptors. Furthermore, in a cutaneous infection model, chemerin is required for maximal bactericidal effects in vivo. Together, our findings reveal previously uncharacterized regulators of chemerin expression in skin and identify a physiologic role for chemerin in skin barrier defense against microbial pathogens.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117830
PMCID: PMC4320080  PMID: 25659101
17.  Haplotype structure and linkage disequilibrium in chemokine and chemokine receptor genes 
Human Genomics  2004;1(4):255-273.
To dissect the haplotype structure of candidate genes for disease association studies, it is important to understand the nature of genetic variation at these loci in different populations. We present a survey of haplotype structure and linkage disequilibrium of chemokine and chemokine receptor genes in 11 geographically-distinct population samples (n = 728). Chemokine proteins are involved in intercellular signalling and the immune response. These molecules are important modulators of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection and the progression of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, tumour development and the metastatic process of cancer. To study the extent of genetic variation in this gene family, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 13 chemokine and chemokine receptor genes were genotyped using the 5' nuclease assay (TaqMan).
SNP haplotypes, estimated from unphased genotypes using the Expectation-Maximization-algorithm, are described in a cluster of four CC-chemokine receptor genes (CCR3, CCR2, CCR5 and CCRL2) on chromosome 3p21, and a cluster of three CC-chemokine genes [MPIF-1 (CCL23) PARC (CCL18) and MIP- 1α (CCL3)] on chromosome 17q11-12. The 32 base pair (bp) deletion in exon 4 of CCR5 was also included in the haplotype analysis of 3p21. A total of 87.5 per cent of the variation of 14 biallelic loci scattered over 150 kilobases of 3p21 is explained by 11 haplotypes which have a frequency of at least 1 per cent in the total sample. An analysis of haplotype blocks in this region indicates recombination between CCR2 and CCR5, although long-range pairwise linkage disequilibrium across the region appears to remain intact on two common haplotypes. A reduced-median network demonstrates a clear relationship between 3p21 haplotypes, rooted by the putative ancestral haplotype determined by direct sequencing of four primate species. Analysis of six SNPs on 17q11-12 indicates that 97.5 per cent of the variation is explained by 15 haplotypes, representing at least 1 per cent of the total sample. Additionally, a possible signature of selection at a non-synonymous coding SNP (M106V) in the MPIF-1 (CCL23) gene warrants further study. We anticipate that the results of this study of chemokine and chemokine receptor variation will be applicable to more extensive surveys of long-range haplotype structure in these gene regions and to association studies of HIV-1 disease and cancer.
doi:10.1186/1479-7364-1-4-255
PMCID: PMC3525265  PMID: 15588486
chemokine; SNP; population genetics; variation; haplotype estimation; linkage disequilibrium
18.  Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells 
The incidence of atopic conditions has increased in industrialized countries. Persisting symptoms and concern for drug side-effects lead patients toward adjunctive treatments such as phytotherapy. Previously, we have shown that Bromelain (sBr), a mixture of cysteine proteases from pineapple, Ananas comosus, inhibits ovalbumin (OVA)-induced murine model of allergic airway disease (AAD). However, sBr's effect on development of AAD when treatment is administered throughout OVA-alum sensitization was unknown and is the aim of the present study. C57BL/6J mice were sensitized with OVA/alum and challenged with 7 days OVA aerosol. sBr 6 mg/kg/0.5 ml or PBS vehicle were administered throughout sensitization. Lung, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), spleen, and lymph nodes were processed for flow cytometry and OVA-specific IgE was determined via ELISA. sBr treatment throughout OVA-alum sensitization significantly reduced the development of AAD (BAL eosinophils and lymphocytes). OVA-specific IgE and OVA TET+ cells were decreased. sBr reduced CD11c+ dendritic cell subsets, and in vitro treatment of DCs significantly reduced CD44, a key receptor in both cell trafficking and activation. sBr was shown to reduce allergic sensitization and the generation of AAD upon antigen challenge. These results provide additional insight into sBr's anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties and rationale for translation into the clinical arena.
doi:10.1155/2013/702196
PMCID: PMC3870104  PMID: 24381635
19.  Downregulation of Key Early Events in the Mobilization of Antigen-bearing Dendritic Cells by Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-like Receptor B4 in a Mouse Model of Allergic Pulmonary Inflammation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57007.
Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-like Receptor B4 (LILRB4) null mice have an exacerbated T helper cell type 2 (Th2) immune response and pulmonary inflammation compared with Lilrb4+/+ animals when sensitized intranasally with ovalbumin (OVA) and low-dose lipopolysaccharide (LPS) followed by challenge with OVA. Moreover, OVA-challenged Lilrb4−/− mice exhibit greater migration of antigen (Ag)-bearing dendritic cells (DCs) to lymph nodes and accumulation of interleukin 4- and interleukin 5-producing lymph node lymphocytes. The main objective of this study was to determine how the absence of LILRB4 leads to a greater number of DCs in the lymph nodes of Ag-challenged mice and increased lung Th2 inflammation. Mice were sensitized intranasally with PBS alone or containing OVA and LPS; additional cohorts were subsequently challenged with OVA. Expression of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 21 (CCL21) in the lung was assessed immunohistologically. OVA ingestion and expression of LILRB4 and chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 7 (CCR7) were quantified by flow cytometry. Inhalation of OVA and LPS induced upregulation of LILRB4 selectively on lung Ag-bearing DCs. After sensitization and challenge, the lung lymphatic vessels of Lilrb4−/− mice expressed more CCL21, a chemokine that directs the migration of DCs from peripheral tissue to draining lymph nodes, compared with Lilrb4+/+ mice. In addition, lung DCs of challenged Lilrb4−/− mice expressed more CCR7, the CCL21 receptor. The lungs of challenged Lilrb4−/− mice also contained significantly greater numbers of CD4+ cells expressing interleukin-4 or interleukin-5, consistent with the greater number of Ag-bearing DCs and Th2 cells in lymph nodes and the attendant exacerbated Th2 lung pathology. Our data establish a new mechanism by which LILRB4 can downregulate the development of pathologic allergic inflammation: reduced upregulation of key molecules needed for DC migration leading to decreases in Th2 cells in lymph nodes and their target tissue.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057007
PMCID: PMC3576413  PMID: 23431396
20.  Expression of Chemerin and Its Receptors in Rat Testes and Its Action on Testosterone Secretion 
The Journal of endocrinology  2014;220(2):155-163.
The novel adipokine chemerin plays a role in regulating lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and recent reports of elevated chemerin levels in polycystic ovarian syndrome elevated chemerin levels with polycystic ovary syndrome and preeclampsia point to an emerging role for chemerin in reproduction. We hypothesized that chemerin, like other adipokines, may function to regulate male gonadal steroidogenesis. Here we show that chemerin and its three receptors chemokine-like receptor 1 (CMKLR1), G-protein coupled receptor 1 (GPR1) and chemokine (C-C motif) receptor-like 2 (CCRL2) were expressed in male reproductive tracts, liver and white adipose tissue. CMKLR1 and GPR1 protein were localized specifically in the Leydig cells of human and rat testes by immunohistochemistry. The expression of chemerin and its receptors in rat testes was developmentally regulated and highly expressed in Leydig cells. In vitro treatment with chemerin suppressed the human chorinoic gonadotropin (hCG)-induced testosterone production from primary Leydig cells, which was accompanied by the inhibition of 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) gene and protein expression. The hCG-activated p44/42 mitogen-activated-protein kinase (MAPK) (Erk1/2) pathway in Leydig cells was also inhibited by chemerin co-treatment. Together, these data suggest chemerin is a novel regulator of male gonadal steroidogenesis.
doi:10.1530/JOE-13-0275
PMCID: PMC3932185  PMID: 24301613
chemerin; steroidogenesis; testosterone; adipokine; Leydig cell
21.  122 Role of the CC− Chemokine Receptor CCR9 in the Regulation of Inflammatory Process During Allergic Airway Inflammation 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S57-S58.
Background
Airway eosinophilia and Th2 lymphocytes-recruitment to the lung are one of the main pathological features of asthma. It is clear now that the axis chemokine/chemokine receptors have a role in controlling leukocyte recruitment and development of the inflammatory process observed in asthma. Although it has been reported that CCR9 receptor is expressed in asthmatic patients, it is not known whether CCR9 may have a regulatory role of the development of this disease. Our aim was to analyze the expression of CCR9 in a murine model of allergic airway inflammation (WT) and compared to CCR9 deficient (KO) mice.
Methods
Four groups of 6 to 8 weeks female CCR9-deficient mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injections of 10 micrograms of ovalbumin (OVA) in alum (ALOH3) diluted in PBS, on days 1 and 8 of the established sensitization protocol. Aerosolised OVA was administered (1% in PBS) on days 15, 20 and 34. 24 hours after last OVA exposure, mice were sacrificed and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and cells were obtained. Total and differential cell numbers were obtained and characterized cell subpopulations by FACS analysis. Cytokine/chemokine levels were quantified by ELISA and qRT-PCR respectively.
Results
Total cell numbers in BAL were no significantly different between WT and KO mice. Interestingly, reduction in the numbers of eosinophils was observed in CCR9 KO mice compared to WT mice. Histological analysis of lung tissue demonstrated a reduction in the granulocytic population (eosinophils) in CCR9 KO mice. Analysis of cell subpopulations by FACS demonstrated that CD4+ lymphocytes were significantly reduced but CD8+ and CD19+ lymphocytes numbers were not different between WT and CCR9-deficient mice. A population of CCR9+ Gr1+ was altered in KO mice and it correlated with cytological analysis. Furthermore, histological analysis demonstrated alteration in mucus production in allergic airway in CCR9 deficient mice, accompanied with a no-significant reduction of OVA-specific anti-IgE antibodies in serum at the time of analysis.
Conclusions
Altogether, these results suggest that CCR9 may be involved in recruitment of granulocytic cell subpopulation into the allergic airways and have an impact in the regulation of the chronic inflammatory process.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411867.51255.3e
PMCID: PMC3513118
22.  Modulation of Naive CD4+ T-Cell Responses to an Airway Antigen during Pulmonary Mycobacterial Infection▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;75(5):2260-2268.
During pulmonary mycobacterial infection, there is increased trafficking of dendritic cells from the lungs to the draining lymph nodes. We hypothesized that ongoing mycobacterial infection would modulate recruitment and activation of antigen-specific naive CD4+ T cells after airway antigen challenge. BALB/c mice were infected by aerosol with Mycobacterium bovis BCG. At peak bacterial burden in the lungs (4 to 6 weeks postinfection), carboxy-fluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester-labeled naive ovalbumin-specific DO11.10 T cells were adoptively transferred into infected and uninfected mice. Recipient mice were challenged intranasally with soluble ovalbumin (OVA), and OVA-specific T-cell responses were measured in the lungs, draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLN), and spleens. OVA challenge resulted in increased activation and proliferation of OVA-specific T cells in the draining MLN of both infected and uninfected mice. However, only BCG-infected mice had prominent OVA-specific T-cell activation, proliferation, and Th1 differentiation in the lungs. BCG infection caused greater distribution of airway OVA to pulmonary dendritic cells and enhanced presentation of OVA peptide by lung CD11c+ cells. Together, these data suggest that an existing pulmonary mycobacterial infection alters the phenotype of lung dendritic cells so that they can activate antigen-specific naive CD4+ T cells in the lungs in response to airway antigen challenge.
doi:10.1128/IAI.01709-06
PMCID: PMC1865791  PMID: 17296758
23.  Allergen-induced airway remodeling is impaired in galectin-3 deficient mice1 
The role played by the β-galactoside-binding lectin galectin-3 (Gal-3) in airway remodeling, a characteristic feature of asthma that leads to airway dysfunction and poor clinical outcome in humans, was investigated in a murine model of chronic allergic airway inflammation. Wild-type (WT) and Gal-3 knock-out (KO) mice were subjected to repetitive allergen challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) up to 12 weeks and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue collected after the last challenge were evaluated for cellular features associated with airway remodeling. Compared to WT mice, chronic OVA challenge in Gal-3 KO mice resulted in diminished remodeling of the airways with significantly reduced mucus secretion, sub-epithelial fibrosis, smooth muscle thickness, and peribronchial angiogenesis. The higher degree of airway remodeling in WT mice was associated with higher Gal-3 expression in the BALF as well as lung tissue. Cell counts in BALF and lung immunohistology demonstrated that eosinophil infiltration in OVA-challenged Gal-3 KO mice was significantly reduced compared to WT mice. Evaluation of cellular mediators associated with eosinophil recruitment and airway remodeling revealed that levels of eotaxin-1, IL-5, IL-13, FIZZ1 and TGF-β were substantially lower in Gal-3 KO mice. Finally, leukocytes from Gal-3 KO mice demonstrated decreased trafficking (rolling) on vascular endothelial adhesion molecules compared to WT cells. Overall, these studies demonstrate that Gal-3 is an important lectin that promotes airway remodeling via airway recruitment of inflammatory cells, specifically eosinophils, and the development of a Th2 phenotype as well as increased expression of eosinophil-specific chemokines, pro-fibrogenic and angiogenic mediators.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1000039
PMCID: PMC2918241  PMID: 20543100
24.  Interleukin-17 is a negative regulator of established allergic asthma 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2006;203(12):2715-2725.
T helper (Th)17 cells producing interleukin (IL)-17 play a role in autoimmune and allergic inflammation. Here, we show that IL-23 induces IL-17 in the lung and IL-17 is required during antigen sensitization to develop allergic asthma, as shown in IL-17R–deficient mice. Since IL-17 expression increased further upon antigen challenge, we addressed its function in the effector phase. Most strikingly, neutralization of IL-17 augmented the allergic response in sensitized mice. Conversely, exogenous IL-17 reduced pulmonary eosinophil recruitment and bronchial hyperreactivity, demonstrating a novel regulatory role of IL-17. Mechanistically, IL-17 down modulated eosinophil-chemokine eotaxin (CCL11) and thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine/CCL17 (TARC) in lungs in vivo and ex vivo upon antigen restimulation. In vitro, IL-17 reduced TARC production in dendritic cells (DCs)—the major source of TARC—and antigen uptake by DCs and IL-5 and IL-13 production in regional lymph nodes. Furthermore, IL-17 is regulated in an IL-4–dependent manner since mice deficient for IL-4Rα signaling showed a marked increase in IL-17 concentration with inhibited eosinophil recruitment. Therefore, endogenous IL-17 is controlled by IL-4 and has a dual role. Although it is essential during antigen sensitization to establish allergic asthma, in sensitized mice IL-17 attenuates the allergic response by inhibiting DCs and chemokine synthesis.
doi:10.1084/jem.20061401
PMCID: PMC2118159  PMID: 17101734
25.  The chemokine receptor CCR7 mediates corneal antigen-presenting cell trafficking 
Molecular Vision  2007;13:626-634.
Purpose
Trafficking of corneal antigen-presenting cells (APC) to draining lymph nodes (LN) is critical in triggering immune responses. However, very little is known about the molecular regulation of this pathway. We investigated the expression and function of the chemokine receptor CCR7 in mediating corneal APC migration in inflammation.
Methods
Expression of CCR7 and its ligands, CCL21 and CCL19, in the normal and inflamed corneas was analyzed by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence staining. The phenotype of CCR7-expressing cells was identified by double-staining with different cell surface markers. To trace the trafficking of APC to draining LN, we injected corneal grafts with Alexa488-conjugated ovalbumin (OVA) and transplanted to syngeneic recipients. CCR7 expression on the Alexa488-conjugated OVA+ cells in the ipsilateral draining LN was analyzed by flow cytometry. To determine the functional role of CCR7, we injected anti-CCL21 neutralizing antibody subconjunctivally after corneal transplantation and analyzed changes in numbers of OVA+ cells in the draining LN. Each experiment was repeated at least three times.
Results
Both CCR7 and its ligand CCL21 were significantly upregulated in inflamed corneas as measured by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence staining. CCR7+ cells were detected especially in the corneal periphery near LYVE-1+ lymphatic vessels. CCR7+ cells were universally CD11b+CD11c+, and a majority were major histocompatibility complex class II positive, suggesting a monocytic dendritic cell lineage and a relative state of maturation. Forty-eight h after syngeneic transplantation with OVA-loaded grafts, CCR7 expression was detected on the OVA+ cells in both the host corneal beds and the draining LN. Local administration of anti-CCL21 led to a significant suppression in the flow of OVA+CD11c+ cells to the draining LN.
Conclusions
These data suggest that in inflammation, APC expressing CCR7 on their cell surface interact with CCL21 to facilitate their migration from the cornea to draining LN via afferent lymphatics.
PMCID: PMC2669510  PMID: 17515886

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