Characterisation of the Chemokine Receptor CXCR3 and its Atypical Variants in Human T Lymphocytes

  • Anna Korniejewska

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The chemokine receptor CXCR3 and its agonists CXCL9/Mig, CXCL10/IP-10 and CXCL11/I-TAC are involved in a variety of inflammatory disorders including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and sarcoidosis. CXCL11 has also been reported to bind to an additional receptor, namely CXCR7, which also interacts with CXCL12. Two alternatively spliced variants of the human CXCR3 receptor have been described, namely CXCR3-B and CXCR3-alt. The human CXCR3-B has been found to bind CXCL9, CXCL10, CXCL11 as well as an additional agonist CXCL4/PF4. In contrast, CXCR3-alt only binds CXCL11. This work demonstrates that CXCL4 like the original CXCR3 agonists is capable of inducing biochemical signalling, namely intra-cellular calcium elevation, and activation of p44/p42 MAPK and PI3K/Akt pathways in activated human T lymphocytes. Phosphorylation of p44/p42 MAPK and Akt was inhibited by pertussis toxin, suggesting coupling to Gi protein. In contrast CXCR3 antagonists blocked CXCR3 agonists but not CXCL4-mediated responses. Surprisingly, stimulation of T cells with CXCL4 failed to elicit migratory responses of these cells and did not lead to loss of surface CXCR3 expression. Collectively our evidence shows that although CXCL4 is coupled to downstream biochemical machinery, its function in T cells is distinct from the function of CXCR3 agonists. The work presented in this thesis also indicates that despite considerably lower surface expression in comparison to the full length CXCR3, CXCR3-B and CXCR3-alt transduce biochemical signals in response to CXCL11 in transfected cells. According to previous reports the role of CXCR7 in signalling and chemotaxis in T cells could not be detected. In T cells and transfected cells system CXCR7 was localised at the plasma membrane and was efficiently internalized in response to CXCL11 and CXCL12. Studies of the involvement of methylation in T cell chemotaxis suggest that this modification may be required in this process as it was partially inhibited by methylation inhibitor- MTA. Moreover T cell co-stimulation caused increased levels of arginine mono-methylated proteins suggesting the importance of methylation in T lymphocyte signalling.
Date of Award1 Sept 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMalcolm Watson (Supervisor) & Stephen Ward (Supervisor)


  • T cell
  • chemokine
  • chemotaxis
  • signalling

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