Chemokine receptors are seven transmembrane-domain receptors belonging to class A of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The receptors together with their chemokine ligands constitute the chemokine system, which is essential for directing cell migration and plays a crucial role in a variety of physiologic and pathologic processes. Given the importance of orchestrating cell migration, it is vital that chemokine receptor signaling is tightly regulated to ensure appropriate responses. Recent studies highlight a key role for cholesterol in modulating chemokine receptor activities. The steroid influences the spatial organization of GPCRs within the membrane bilayer, and consequently can tune chemokine receptor signaling. The effects of cholesterol on the organization and function of chemokine receptors and GPCRs in general include direct and indirect effects (Fig. 1). Here, we review how cholesterol and some key metabolites modulate functions of the chemokine system in multiple ways. We emphasize the role of cholesterol in chemokine receptor oligomerization, thereby promoting the formation of a signaling hub enabling integration of distinct signaling pathways at the receptor-membrane interface. Moreover, we discuss the role of cholesterol in stabilizing particular receptor conformations and its consequence for chemokine binding. Finally, we highlight how cholesterol accumulation, its deprivation, or cholesterol metabolites contribute to modulating cell orchestration during inflammation, induction of an adaptive immune response, as well as to dampening an anti-tumor immune response.
- Received October 7, 2016.
- Accepted January 9, 2017.
This work is supported by the Swiss National Science foundation [Grants 31003A_169936, Sinergia CRSII3_160719], the Novartis Foundation for Medical-Biological Research, the Thurgauische Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Forschung, the State Secretraiat for Education, Research and Innovation, and the Thurgauische Krebsliga.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics