Up-regulation of leukocyte CXCR4 expression by sulfatide: An L-selectin-dependent pathway on CD4+ T cells

Pascal Duchesneau, Erin Gallagher, Bruce Walcheck, Thomas K. Waddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


CXCR4 plays significant roles in immune and inflammatory responses and is important for selective recruitment of leukocytes. We previously showed that CXCR4 surface expression of human lymphocytes was affected by sulfatide, an in vivo ligand for L-selectin. Increased CXCR4 expression was shown to promote biologically relevant functions such as integrin-dependent adhesion and transmigration. Here, we show that sulfatide-induced CXCR4 up-regulation also occurs on other leukocyte subsets in humans and mice. B cells and CD4+CD25+ T cells had the highest CXCR4 up-regulation after sulfatide stimulation. Transfection of L-selectin was sufficient for K562 cells to acquire sulfatide-induced CXCR4 up-regulation, while analysis of L-selectin knockout mice revealed that this response was critically L-selectin dependent only for CD4+ T cells, suggesting an alternative pathway in CD8+ T cells and B cells. Sulfatide triggered several intracellular signaling events in CD4+ T cells, but only tyrosine kinase activation, including members of the Src family, were essential for L-selectin to CXCR4 signaling. CXCR4 up-regulation was rapid, enhanced CXCL12-induced signaling and increased chemotaxis toward CXCL12, and therefore has potentially important roles in vivo. Thus, the response to CXCL12 depends in part on tissue expression of sulfatide and, specifically in CD4+ T cells, also depends on the surface level of L-selectin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2949-2960
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Cell trafficking
  • Chemokines
  • Sulfatide


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