The experimental work in our lab aims to answer intensely burning as well as long-term smouldering questions in chemokine biology to bring new understanding of mechanisms in immunity and disease pathogenesis. From their humble beginnings on the fringes of experimental research, known initially as a couple of leukocyte chemoattractants, chemokines became one of the largest families of coherently functioning, intercellular signals, involved in a mutitude of cellular processes and studied now by the cutting edge mainstream molecular science and medicine. Chemokines are now known as versatile units of inter-cellular communications, the building blocks of a universal cell language, "chemokinese", the cell Esperanto.
Chemokine activities contribute to almost every aspect of our biological existence, starting with the moment of our conception, through months of intrauterine confinement; protecting us during the years of growth, health and wellbeing, only to push us later, along countless avenues of debilitating diseases, ultimately into the grave. It is impossible to encompass the breadths of all chemokines' activities and account for their multifaceted roles, therefore the experimental work in our lab lately focuses on the biology of atypical chemokine receptors, ACKR1 and ACKR4, in particular.
These unusual receptors are able to modulate the availability and function of their cognate chemokines and achieve this in particularly unpredictable but powerful ways, thus importantly modifying chemokine-encoded messages.
Our lab is generously supported by the Wellcome Trust, Versus Arthritis and the British Heart Foundation.
"I am a human, and nothing human is alien to me"
"I am a pathologist, and no pathomechanism is alien to me, especially if it involves chemokines"
I am interested in haematopoiesis and the bone marrow microenvironment. ACKR1 is an exciting molecule in this context, because it is expressed by erythroid cells that make up one third of the bone marrow cellularity.
Dr Julia Gutjahr
Kidney disease is a global health burden. My experimental work aims to understand the cellular and molecular pathways as well as the pathogenic contribution of ACKR1 and ACKR4 to kidney disease.
Dr Katharina Artinger
Visiting Research Fellow
Dr Maryna Samus
My research aims to understand the role of atypical chemokine receptors in the alteration of the immune system and subsequent impacts on tumour growth and progression.
My PhD is focused on investigating the expression and function of ACKR4 in the heart. My work aims to characterise localisation and cell type expression of ACKR4, as well as its effect on heart function and health.
I am a Cardiology SpR based at Barts Hospital and am currently undertaking a PhD investigating the efficacy of stem-cell therapy in patients with DCM.
Dr Mohsin Hussain
Graduate of The University of Aberdeen (BSc Sport & Exercise Science) and Queen Mary University of London (MRes Inflammation) with an interest in the role of M2-like macrophages in cardiac repair after myocardial infarction.
The dimeric form of CXCL12 binds to atypical chemokine receptor 1
Science Signaling 17 Aug 2021: Vol. 14, Issue 696, eabc9012. DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.abc9012
Julia C. Gutjahr, Kyler S. Crawford, Davin R. Jensen, Prachi Naik, Francis C. Peterson, Guerric P. B. Samson, Daniel F. Legler, Johan Duchene, Christopher T. Veldkamp, Antal Rot, Brian F. Volkman
Atypical chemokine receptor 1 on nucleated erythroid cells regulates hematopoiesis.
Nature Immunology, 2017 (18; 753-761).
Duchene J, Novitzky-Basso I, Thiriot A, Casanova-Acebes M, Bianchini M, Etheridge SL, Hub E, Nitz K, Artinger K, Eller K, Caamaño J, Rülicke T, Moss P, Megens RTA, von Andrian UH, Hidalgo A, Weber C and Rot A
Chemokine receptor CXCR4-dependent internalization and resecretion of functional chemokine SDF-1 by bone marrow endothelial and stromal cells.
Nature Immunology, 2005 (6; 1038-46)
Dar A, Goichberg P, Shinder V, Kalinkovich A, Kollet O, Netzer N, Margalit R, Zsak M, Nagler A, Hardan I, Resnick I, Rot A and Lapidot T
You can see our full publication list here. If you cannot access any of our papers, please do contact us, we would be happy to share a copy.
Julia Christine Gutjahr has received the Amanda Proudfoot Discovery Award at the Gordon Conference on Chemotactic Cytokines for her work on erythroid CXCR4.