PerspectiveStructural Biology

Viral chemokine mimicry

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Science  06 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6226, pp. 1071-1072
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa7998

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Chemokines are important regulators of the human immune system. Interactions of chemokines with their corresponding receptors guide white blood cells to the sites of infection, where they can trigger the required immune responses. Two complementary papers in this issue provide molecular details of these receptor-chemokine interactions. On page 1117, Qin et al. (1) report the crystal structure of the human CXCR4 receptor cross-linked to the viral chemokine vMIP-II. On page 1113, Burg et al. (2) describe the opposite case, the interaction of the human chemokine CX3CL1 with the viral US28 receptor (see the figure). Together, the studies provide crucial insights into the molecular mimicry that viruses use to fool the human immune system.