Mapping locations of receptors of chemokines – molecules that guide cell traffic – in organ microenvironments
Chemical messengers called chemokines are the traffic police of your body, telling cells on the move where to go via a chemokine concentration gradient. Atypical chemokine receptors (ACKRs) on certain cells help create these gradients by binding and engulfing specific chemokines. Three called GPR182, ACKR3 and ACKR4 are located in lymph and blood vessels, and research suggests may be found together in certain microenvironments within organs. However, there’s no comprehensive map of where they are. Researchers now genetically engineer mice with fluorescently-tagged GPR182, ACKR3, ACKR4 and ACKR-specific chemokines to locate them. Fluorescence microscopy revealed unique and shared distribution patterns of these ACKRs in a variety of organs, including the spleen (pictured, ACKR4 in green, GPR182 in red). Meanwhile, fluorescently-tagged chemokines revealed distinct activity zones for ACKR4 and GPR182 in the liver. These mouse models, therefore, provide a useful tool to probe ACKRs in different organs and microenvironments.
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