CXCR7 protein expression in human adult brain and differentiated neurons

TitleCXCR7 protein expression in human adult brain and differentiated neurons
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsShimizu, S, Brown, MS, Sengupta, R, Penfold, ME, Meucci, O
JournalPLoS ONE
Date Published05/2011

BACKGROUND: CXCR7 and CXCR4 are receptors for the chemokine CXCL12, which is involved in essential functions of the immune and nervous systems. Although CXCR7 transcripts are widely expressed throughout the central nervous system, little is known about its protein distribution and function in the adult brain. To evaluate its potential involvement in CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling in differentiated neurons, we studied CXCR7 protein expression in human brain and cultured neurons.  METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR analyses of cortex and hippocampus from control and HIV-positive subjects provided the first evidence of CXCR7 protein expression in human adult neurons, under normal and pathological conditions. Furthermore, confocal microscopy and binding assays in cultured neurons show that CXCR7 protein is mainly located into cytoplasm, while little to no protein expression is found on neuronal plasma membrane. Interestingly, specific CXCR7 ligands that inhibit CXCL12 binding to CXCR7 do not alter CXCR4-activated survival signaling (pERK/pAkt) in rat cortical neurons. Neuronal CXCR7 co-localizes to some extent with the endoplasmic reticulum marker ERp29, but not with early/late endosome markers. Additionally, large areas of overlap are detected in the intracellular pattern of CXCR7 and CXCR4 expression.  CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Overall, these results implicate CXCR4 as the main CXCL12 signaling receptor on the surface of differentiated neurons and suggest that CXCR7 may interact with CXCR4 at the intracellular level, possibly affecting CXCR4 trafficking and/or coupling to other proteins.