Immunology

Can a chemokine help protect against bronchial asthma?

The chemokine RANTES, a signal protein that plays a role in causing certain cells from the immune system to migrate into lung tissue, seems to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the disease bronchial asthma. This is the ...

Medical research

Scientists are deciphering the details of immune cell activation

Chemokine receptors, located at the surface of many immune cells, play an important role in cell function. Chemokines are small proteins that bind to these receptors and control the movement and behavior of white blood cells.

Cardiology

Synthetic 'mini' receptors block atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, a lipid-triggered chronic inflammatory disease of the arteries, is the main cause of strokes and heart attacks. An international team of researchers led by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the ...

Oncology & Cancer

New treatment strategy may thwart deadly brain tumors

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are important medications that boost the immune system's response against certain cancers; however, they tend to be ineffective against glioblastoma, the most deadly primary brain tumor in adults. ...

Immunology

Viral protein may help chickenpox virus spread within the body

The virus that causes chickenpox—varicella zoster virus (VZV)—possesses a protein that could enhance its ability to hijack white blood cells and spread throughout the body, according to new research published in PLOS ...

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Chemokine

Chemokines (Greek -kinos, movement) are a family of small cytokines, or proteins secreted by cells. Their name is derived from their ability to induce directed chemotaxis in nearby responsive cells; they are chemotactic cytokines. Proteins are classified as chemokines according to shared structural characteristics such as small size (they are all approximately 8-10 kilodaltons in size), and the presence of four cysteine residues in conserved locations that are key to forming their 3-dimensional shape. However, these proteins have historically been known under several other names including the SIS family of cytokines, SIG family of cytokines, SCY family of cytokines, Platelet factor-4 superfamily or intercrines. Some chemokines are considered pro-inflammatory and can be induced during an immune response to recruit cells of the immune system to a site of infection, while others are considered homeostatic and are involved in controlling the migration of cells during normal processes of tissue maintenance or development. Chemokines are found in all vertebrates, some viruses and some bacteria, but none have been described for other invertebrates. These proteins exert their biological effects by interacting with G protein-linked transmembrane receptors called chemokine receptors, that are selectively found on the surfaces of their target cells.

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