The CXCR4 mutations in WHIM syndrome impair the stability of the T-cell immunologic synapse

Marinos Kallikourdis, Anna Elisa Trovato, Fabio Anselmi, Adelaida Sarukhan, Giuliana Roselli, Laura Tassone, Raffaele Badolato, Antonella Viola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, myelokathexis) syndrome is a rare disease characterized by diverse symptoms indicative of aberrantly functioning immunity. It is caused by mutations in the chemokine receptor CXCR4, which impair its intracellular trafficking, leading to increased responsiveness to chemokine ligand and retention of neutrophils in bone marrow. Yet WHIM symptoms related to adaptive immunity, such as delayed IgG switching and impaired memory B-cell function, remain largely unexplained. We hypothesized that the WHIM-associated mutations in CXCR4 may affect the formation of immunologic synapses between T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs). We show that, in the presence of competing external chemokine signals, the stability of T-APC conjugates from patients with WHIM-mutant CXCR4 is disrupted as a result of impaired recruitment of the mutant receptor to the immunologic synapse. Using retrogenic mice that develop WHIM-mutant T cells, we show that WHIM-mutant CXCR4 inhibits the formation of long-lasting T-APC interactions in ex vivo lymph node slice time-lapse microscopy. These findings demonstrate that chemokine receptors can affect T-APC synapse stability and allow us to propose a novel mechanism that contributes to the adaptive immune response defects in WHIM patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-673
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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