The atypical chemokine receptor CXCR7/ACKR3 binds two endogenous chemokines, CXCL12 and CXCL11, and is upregulated in many cancers or following infection by several cancer-inducing viruses, including HHV-8. ACKR3 is a ligand-scavenging receptor and does not activate the canonical G protein pathways but was proposed to trigger β-arrestin-dependent signaling. Here, we identified the human herpesvirus 8-encoded CC chemokine vCCL2/vMIP-II as a third high-affinity ligand for ACKR3. vCCL2 acted as partial ACKR3 agonist, inducing β-arrestin recruitment to the receptor, subsequent reduction of its surface levels and its delivery to endosomes. In addition, ACKR3 reduced vCCL2-triggered MAP kinase and PI3K/Akt signaling through other chemokine receptors. Our data suggest that ACKR3 acts as a scavenger receptor for vCCL2, regulating its availability and activity toward human receptors, thereby likely controlling its function in HHV-8 infection. Our study provides new insights into the complex crosstalk between viral chemokines and host receptors as well as into the biology of ACKR3, this atypical and still enigmatic receptor.
- Kaposi's sarcoma