Chemokines are a specialized class of soluble factors mainly active in inflammatory processes. Chemokines are chemoattractants that exert their activity through recruitment, migration and trafficking of cells bearing chemokine receptors into areas of inflammatory loci. Many chemokine receptors can bind several chemokines and alternatively, chemokines may bind to several receptors. Chemokines are involved in normal pathways of inflammatory responses as well as in pathological inflammatory responses of autoimmune diseases. They are also important for immune system homeostasis and development.
The Chemokine Superfamily is made up of 4 classes based on the arrangement of the conserved cysteine (C) residues found in the mature protein: C (gamma), CC (beta), CXC and CX3C (delta) chemokine groups. These proteins act through G protein-coupled receptors and have structures that conform to the four cross-linked cysteine residues.