CCR5: Established paradigms and new frontiers for a ‘celebrity’ chemokine receptor

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Because of the level of attention it received due to its role as the principal HIV coreceptor, CCR5 has been described as a ‘celebrity’ chemokine receptor. Here we describe the development of CCR5 inhibitory strategies that have been developed for HIV therapy and which are now additionally being considered for use in HIV prevention and cure.

The wealth of CCR5-related tools that have been developed during the intensive investigation of CCR5 as an HIV drug target can now be turned towards the study of CCR5 as a model chemokine receptor. We also summarize what is currently known about the cell biology and pharmacology of CCR5, providing an update on new areas of investigation that have emerged in recent research.

Finally, we discuss the potential of CCR5 as a drug target for diseases other than HIV, discussing the evidence linking CCR5 and its natural chemokine ligands with inflammatory diseases, particularly neuroinflammation, and certain cancers. These pathologies may provide new uses for the strategies for CCR5 blockade originally developed to combat HIV/AIDS.

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