Forget “new year, new me”, the CRG are kicking off 2017 with new science! Our first paper of the year comes from Gill, who works on everyone’s favourite atypical chemokine receptor (ACKR2) in development.
Gill’s paper highlights a crucial role for ACKR2 in the control of macrophage dynamics in the mammary gland, which develops postnatally through several stages incorporating puberty, pregnancy and subsequent involution. Macrophages are a key cellular regulator of epithelial duct formation, which is strictly and temporally controlled during branching morphogenesis. We show in this paper that loss of ACRK2 increases macrophage accumulation in the tissue as there is an excess of the inflammatory chemokines normally scavenged by the receptor, and that this loss results in a speeding up of the duct formation and therefore early completion of the stage.
The paper, published in Development, can be found here.
In addition to this, Gill has written a thought piece alongside The Conversation focusing on the potential of targeting ACKR2 as a novel therapeutic strategy for early onset of breast development, which is known to increase the risk of several diseases later in life. This piece is making headlines across the world (Canada) and at home (The Independent), and I really do encourage reading it to give more context to our research. The article can be found here.