Chemokines were initially discovered in the context of inflammatory pathologies and were the curiosity of a limited number of researchers. Receptors for these cytokine molecules were identified shortly thereafter and determined to be members of the large G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily. Collectively, these basic observations provided a framework to understand mechanisms by which leukocyte subsets could migrate into tissues in a specific manner. Nonetheless, as the field evolved, so came a realization of the broader impact of this family on diverse biological processes, which include the regulation of leukocyte trafficking in hematopoiesis, innate and adaptive immunity, angiogenesis, cancer, and viral pathogenesis. We begin this volume with an overview of research on chemokines and their receptors and then subsequently migrate into a brief discussion of key findings that defined the maturation of this field. As members of the GPCR superfamily have historically dominated drug development programs, so too has interest in chemokine receptors as therapeutic targets.
Key Words: Chemotactic cytokine; GPCR; monocyte; neutrophil; proinflammatory.
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