CCL14 is one of the many members of the CC chemokine family. This family is known as a subgroup of cytokines that all have similar characteristics, functions, and structures. As of right now, there are 27 members of this distinctive chemokine family.
Like all members of the CC chemokine family, CCL14 is a cell signalling protein. When released in areas of the body, they interact with other cells and influence their behaviour through different signals. Human CCL14 is also more often than not referred to as HCC-1.
By nature, cytokines are a very small strand of protein found in the body. CCL14 can boast 74 amino acids, which makes it very similar to other CC chemokine family members CCL3 and CCL4. In fact, recent research shows that these cytokines have are 46% identical with regards to their amino acid makeup. When compared to the rest of the CC chemokines, CCL14 is anywhere between 29-37% identical in amino acid composition.
The molecular mass of HCC-1, or CCL14, is 8,673. It also has four cysteines in its cell, which are linked to disulfide bonds. This is the typical cysteine makeup of all CC chemokines, and they share another distinct structural feature as well. Amongst the four cysteines, two of them are adjacent to one another in close proximity to the amino terminus.
You will find human CCL14 along chromosome 17 - this chromosome is also a popular location for other CC chemokine members. An interesting fact about this cytokine is that it’s not automatically produced as a fully formed protein. Instead, it’s produced as a protein precursor than matures into an active protein when processed in the body.
Mechanism & Interaction
There are a plethora of tissues in the body that produce CCL14 in the human body. The most prevalent of which are tissues in the bone marrow, muscles, gut, liver and spleen. This cytokine is also found in high concentrations in plasma. For any mechanisms and functions to take place, CCL14 needs to bind to a receptor. Here, it works with receptors that also bind to CCL3, which are CCR1, CCR4, and CCR5.
Upon interacting with a receptor, this cytokine will have a minor activity on monocytes in the human body. Monocytes are the biggest type of white blood cell in humans and can help promote the adaptive immune system. This is one of the major parts of the immune system and is largely responsible for getting rid of pathogens or slowing down their growth.
So, the main function of CCL14 is to activate the white blood cell group known as the monocytes. However, what’s interesting is that its function is only to activate these cells, not to help induce their chemotaxis.
Chemotaxis is the term used to describe something inside the body moving around in response to a certain situation. In relation to CCL14 and monocytes, the cytokine will only activate and wake up these white blood cells, but it can’t influence their movement and make them respond to different chemical stimuli.