Editors' ChoiceStructural Biology

Molecular “go” signals reveal their secrets

Sci. Signal.  10 Mar 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 367, pp. ec57
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aab0557

Chemokines are proteins that direct how cells move within the body. For instance, chemokines help immune cells locate invading pathogens and ensure that cells position themselves correctly within a developing organ. Cells detect chemokines through G protein–coupled receptors on their surface; however, the molecular details of how these proteins interact remain unclear (see the Perspective by Standfuss). Qin et al. solved the crystal structure of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 bound to the viral chemokine vMIP-II. Burg et al. solved the crystal structure of a viral chemokine receptor bound to the chemokine domain of CX3CL1. Given the role of chemokines in a number of diseases, these results may help in future drug design.

L. Qin, I. Kufareva, L. G. Holden, C. Wang, Y. Zheng, C. Zhao, G. Fenalti, H. Wu, G. W. Han, V. Cherezov, R. Abagyan, R. C. Stevens, T. M. Handel, Crystal structure of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 in complex with a viral chemokine. Science 347, 1117–1122 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. S. Burg, J. R. Ingram, A. J. Venkatakrishnan, K. M. Jude, A. Dukkipati, E. N. Feinberg, A. Angelini, D. Waghray, R. O. Dror, H. L. Ploegh, K. C. Garcia, Structural basis for chemokine recognition and activation of a viral G protein–coupled receptor. Science 347, 1113–1117 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Standfuss, Viral chemokine mimicry. Science 347, 1071–1072 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]