J Exp Med Nov 01, 1999Author(s):
TECK (thymus-expressed chemokine), a recently described CC chemokine expressed in thymus and small intestine, was found to mediate chemotaxis of human G protein-coupled receptor GPR-9-6/L1.2 transfectants. This activity was blocked by anti-GPR-9-6 monoclonal antibody (mAb) 3C3. GPR-9-6 is expressed on a subset of memory alpha4beta7(high) intestinal trafficking CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes. In addition, all intestinal lamina propria and intraepithelial lymphocytes express GPR-9-6. In contrast, GPR-9-6 is not displayed on cutaneous lymphocyte antigen-positive (CLA(+)) memory CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes, which traffic to skin inflammatory sites, or on other systemic alpha4beta7(-)CLA(-) memory CD4/CD8 lymphocytes. The majority of thymocytes also express GPR-9-6, but natural killer cells, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, and neutrophils are GPR-9-6 negative. Transcripts of GPR-9-6 and TECK are present in both small intestine and thymus. Importantly, the expression profile of GPR-9-6 correlates with migration to TECK of blood T lymphocytes and thymocytes. As migration of these cells is blocked by anti-GPR-9-6 mAb 3C3, we conclude that GPR-9-6 is the principal chemokine receptor for TECK. In agreement with the nomenclature rules for chemokine receptors, we propose the designation CCR-9 for GPR-9-6. The selective expression of TECK and GPR-9-6 in thymus and small intestine implies a dual role for GPR-9-6/CCR-9, both in T cell development and the mucosal immune response.