Leukocyte migration is a hallmark of the immune defense system. Chemotactic cytokines comprise a family of almost 50 small proteins with 3D structural homology, which direct cell migration and control cell positioning through cognate Gi-protein-coupled receptors. Cells orient and migrate along chemokine gradients, which are formed and maintained through a delicate interplay of cellular sources, of cellular and extracellular matrix proteoglycans, which act as scaffolds, and of sinks. Atypical chemokine receptors, which are structurally related to the typical receptors, but do not couple to G-proteins, by virtue of their scavenging activity act as sinks that stabilize chemokine gradients.
The chemokine system is the main orchestrator of leukocyte trafficking in health, inflammation and during immune responses. Typical examples are the homing of leukocytes to the bone marrow, the segregation of B and T cell zones in secondary lymphoid organs, the recruitment of immune cells to sites of inflammation and the migration of antigen loaded dendritic cells through lymphatics to draining lymph nodes, which all critically depend on specific chemokine systems. In addition to its role in immunity, the chemokine system also guides non-hematopoietic cells in development and adulthood. In many non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including carcinogenesis and metastatic spread, autoimmune and cardiovascular disorders, which are currently still responsible for over 80% deaths worldwide, the chemokine system has pivotal functions. On the other side, viruses often use the versatility of the chemokine system to infect host cells or to evade immune responses.
The 2020 GRC program will focus on the latest advances on the functions of the chemokine system in health and disease, addressing molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and responses to chemotactic gradients by world leaders. The biology of the chemokine system and its therapeutic targeting will be discussed during sessions dedicated to cancer progression, immunity, inflammation and immune responses. The program offers about 20 slots for the presentation of late breaking abstracts. We anticipate that the meeting will provide us with opportunities for in depth analysis of where our field will be heading in the future. The venue in Les Diablerets is located in an idyllic landscape of the Swiss mountains at an altitude of just over 1200 meters (about 4000 feet) surrounded by 3000 meter high peaks. Next to hiking in the nearby mountains, the resort offers many possibilities for outdoor activities during the scheduled free time. We look forward to seeing you in Switzerland.
The conference will consist of nine sessions, on the topics listed below. The conference chair is currently developing their preliminary program, which will include the names of the invited speakers and discussion leaders for each of these sessions. The preliminary program will be available by October 15, 2019. Please check back for updates.
- Keynote Session: Chemokines in Rare Diseases
- Signal Transduction in Cell Migration and Biased/G-Protein Independent Signaling
- State-of-the-Art Methods to Explore the Chemokine System in Cell Migration
- Chemokine Patterns and Atypical Chemokine Receptors
- Alternate Signaling by Chemokine Receptors
- Chemokines in Cancer Immunity and Metastasis
- Chemokine and Chemokine Receptor Structure and In Silico Modeling
- Chemokines in Immune Pathologies
- Keynote Session: Chemokines in Immune Responses