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FASEB J. 2004 Mar;18(3):571-3. Epub 2004 Jan 20.

The gammaherpesvirus chemokine binding protein can inhibit the interaction of chemokines with glycosaminoglycans.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Chemokines are small glycosaminoglycan (GAG) binding proteins that direct the migration of leukocytes by signaling through G protein coupled receptors (GPCR). Many viruses encode proteins that disrupt chemokine responses. The murine gammaherpesvirus-68 gene M3 encodes a chemokine binding protein (vCKBP-3), which has no sequence similarity to chemokine receptors. Initial characterization of vCKBP-3 showed that it inhibits receptor binding and chemokine-induced calcium influx. The structural requirements for the chemokines CXCL8 and CCL2 to bind to vCKBP-3 have been determined. Both chemokines bind to vCKBP-3 via their N-loop, a site that can participate in GAG binding for some chemokines. We have investigated the effect of vCKBP-3 on the interaction of chemokines with GAGs. We found that vCKBP-3 can prevent a range of chemokines from binding to GAGs. Moreover, we also found that vCKBP-3 can displace chemokines from a heparin-coated surface. Together, these data imply that vCKBP-3 can inhibit chemokine activity at two distinct levels. First, it inhibits chemokines from binding to their GPCR. Second, it inhibits their GAG binding and disrupts pre-formed chemokine gradients. This dual ability of vCKBP-3 makes it a more effective inhibitor of chemokine activity.

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