Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(1):108-117. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8.108

Research Paper

Identification of Ghrelin Receptor Blocker, D-[Lys3] GHRP-6 as a CXCR4 Receptor Antagonist

Kalpesh Patel, Vishwa Deep Dixit, Jun Ho Lee, Jie Wan Kim, Eric M. Schaffer*, Dzung Nguyen#, Dennis D. Taub

Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology, National Institute on Aging, Intramural Program, NIH, 251 Bayview Boulevard, Baltimore, MD. 21224, USA.
Present Address: The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21231.
Present Address: Laboratory of Neuroendocrine-Immunology, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU System, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
* Present Address: BioSensors Branch, RDCB-DRB-S, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, APGEA, MD 21010.
# Present Address: BioLegend, 1180 Roselle St., San Diego, CA 92121.


[D-Lys3]-Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-6 (DLS) is widely utilized in vivo and in vitro as a selective ghrelin receptor (GHS-R) antagonist. Unexpectedly, we identified that DLS also has the ability to block CXCL12 binding and activity through CXCR4 on T cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Moreover, as CXCR4 has been shown to act as a major co-receptor for HIV-1 entry into CD4 positive host cells, we have also found that DLS partially blocks CXCR4-mediated HIV-1 entry and propagation in activated human PBMCs. These data demonstrate that DLS is not the specific and selective antagonist as thought for GHS-R1a and appears to have additional effects on the CXCR4 chemokine receptor. Our findings also suggest that structural analogues that mimic DLS binding properties may also have properties of blocking HIV infectivity, CXCR4 dependent cancer cell migration and attenuating chemokine-mediated immune cell trafficking in inflammatory disorders.

Keywords: CXCL12, CXCR4, HIV-1, Ghrelin, GHRP-6, GHS-R1a, Inflammation, Cancer

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How to cite this article:
Patel K, Dixit VD, Lee JH, Kim JW, Schaffer EM, Nguyen D, Taub DD. Identification of Ghrelin Receptor Blocker, D-[Lys3] GHRP-6 as a CXCR4 Receptor Antagonist. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(1):108-117. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8.108. Available from