Chemokines are small, inducible, structurally related proteins that guide cells expressing the right chemokine receptors to sites of immune response. They have been identified and studied extensively in mammals, but little is known about their presence in other vertebrate groups. Here we describe seven new chemokines in bony fish and one in a cartilaginous fish, as well as one chemokine receptor in a jawless vertebrate. All eight chemokines belong to the SCYA (CC) subfamily characterized by four conserved cysteine residues of which the first two are adjacent. The chemokine receptor is of the CXCR4 type. Phylogenetic analysis does not reveal any clear evidence of orthology of fish and human chemokines. Although the divergence of the subfamilies began before the fish-tetrapod split, much of the divergence within the subfamilies took place separately in the two vertebrate groups. The existence of a chemokine receptor in the lamprey indicates that chemokines are apparently also present in the Agnatha.
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