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J Immunol. 2006 Nov 15;177(10):6991-8.

Oligomerization of CXCL10 is necessary for endothelial cell presentation and in vivo activity.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


The chemokine IFN-gamma-inducible protein of 10 kDa (IP-10; CXCL10) plays an important role in the recruitment of activated T lymphocytes into sites of inflammation by interacting with the G protein-coupled receptor CXCR3. IP-10, like other chemokines, forms oligomers, the role of which has not yet been explored. In this study, we used a monomeric IP-10 mutant to elucidate the functional significance of oligomerization. Although monomeric IP-10 had reduced binding affinity for CXCR3 and heparin, it was able to induce in vitro chemotaxis of activated T cells with the same efficacy as wild-type IP-10. However, monomeric IP-10 was unable to induce recruitment of activated CD8+ T cells into the airways of mice after intratracheal instillation. Use of a different IP-10 mutant demonstrated that this inability was due to lack of oligomerization rather than reduced CXCR3 or heparin binding. Molecular imaging demonstrated that both wild-type and monomeric IP-10 were retained in the lung after intratracheal instillation. However, in vitro binding assays indicated that wild-type, but not monomeric, IP-10 was retained on endothelial cells and could induce transendothelial chemotaxis of activated T cells. We therefore propose that oligomerization of IP-10 is required for presentation on endothelial cells and subsequent transendothelial migration, an essential step for lymphocyte recruitment in vivo.

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