Leukocytes from individuals with warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, and myelokathexis (WHIM) syndrome, a rare immunodeficiency, and bearing a wild-type CXCR4 ORF (WHIMWT) display impaired CXCR4 internalization and desensitization upon exposure to CXCL12. The resulting enhanced CXCR4-dependent responses, including chemotaxis, probably impair leukocyte trafficking and account for the immunohematologic clinical manifestations of WHIM syndrome. We provided here evidence that GPCR kinase-3 (GRK3) specifically regulates CXCL12-promoted internalization and desensitization of CXCR4. GRK3-silenced control cells displayed altered CXCR4 attenuation and enhanced chemotaxis, as did WHIMWT cells. These findings identified GRK3 as a negative regulator of CXCL12-induced chemotaxis and as a candidate responsible for CXCR4 dysfunction in WHIMWT leukocytes. Consistent with this, we showed that GRK3 overexpression in both leukocytes and skin fibroblasts from 2 unrelated WHIMWT patients restored CXCL12-induced internalization and desensitization of CXCR4 and normalized chemotaxis. Moreover, we found in cells derived from one patient a profound and selective decrease in GRK3 products that probably resulted from defective mRNA synthesis. Taken together, these results have revealed a pivotal role for GRK3 in regulating CXCR4 attenuation and have provided a mechanistic link between the GRK3 pathway and the CXCR4-related WHIMWT disorder.


Karl Balabanian, Angélique Levoye, Lysiane Klemm, Bernard Lagane, Olivier Hermine, Julie Harriague, Françoise Baleux, Fernando Arenzana-Seisdedos, Françoise Bachelerie


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