Cytokine properties of prokineticins


M. Samson, INSERM U620, Université de Rennes 1, 2 avenue du Prof. Léon Bernard, 35043 Rennes cedex, France
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Prokineticins are a novel family of secreted peptides with diverse regulatory roles, one of which is their capacity to modulate immunity in humans and in other species. Prokineticins are small peptides of 8 kDa that mediate their biological activities by signaling through two homologous G-protein-coupled receptors (prokineticin receptor 1 and prokineticin receptor 2). This family of peptides is characterized by a completely conserved N-terminal hexapeptide crucial for their bioactivities and a unique structural motif comprising five disulfide bonds. Prokineticins and their receptors are highly expressed in bone marrow, in peripheral circulating leukocytes, in inflamed tissues and in resident organ immune cells. Their structure, size, signaling and biological activities are reminiscent of the chemokine superfamily. In this review, emphasis is placed on the properties of prokineticins as cytokines and their role in the immune system.