Concluding Remarks

The role of chemokines within the context of immunity extends beyond their function as inflammatory chemoattractants. Chemokines, their receptors, and adhesion molecules are fundamental components of the haematopoietic system, lymphoid organogenesis, and the maintenance of acquired immunity. Essential to leukocyte maturation in the bone marrow and thymus as well as activation and trafficking to lymphoid organs, chemokines provide both a common system of leukocyte movement and specific signals for specialized tissues.

As concepts of the role of chemokines have expanded, so have models of chemokine activity. For example, working on the assumption that leukocytes utilized an active process to halt chemotaxis and switch to effector activity, work from our group uncovered a role for the arrestin protein in blocking chemotactic signalling from chemokine receptors and converting it to a signal for degranulation [45,49], Within the homeostatic model, the discovery of chemorepul-sive activity mediated by CXCR4 provides a mechanism by which mature T cells may exit the thymus [1,126],

Our understanding of chemokine biology has evolved in circular fashion. The majority of early studies were directed at inflammatory neutrophil chemotaxis in the context of innate immunity; this model set the basis for investigating the migration of T and B cells as they scan antigen-presenting cells in the lymph node. As attention has shifted to the innate system in recent years, new questions have arisen: How do NK cells migrate between the circulation and secondary lymphoid organs? What signals do NK cells utilize to localize to tumours or infections, and is the mechanism different? Hopefully, the models of leukocyte migration established in adaptive immunity will provide a useful starting point for finding these answers.

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