The trafficking of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is important for maintaining normal bone marrow development, but the signaling molecules involved remain unclear. In May 6 Journal of Experimental Medicine, Douglas Wright and colleagues from Stanford University School of Medicine show that HSCs are uniquely selective in their migratory response to chemokines (J Exp Med 2002, 9:1145-1154).

Wright et al. investigated the migration of murine HSCs to a large number of CC and CXC chemokines. They found that HSCs migrated only in response to stromal derived factor-1α, the ligand for the CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4). In addition, CXCR4 expression by HSC was confirmed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. Surprisingly, HSCs also expressed mRNA for CCR3 and CCR9, although they failed to migrate to the ligands for these receptors.

"To our knowledge, this is the first report of a leukocyte subset that responds to a...

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