Chemokines are the main guidance cues directing leukocyte migration. Opposed to early assumptions, chemokines do not necessarily act as soluble cues but are often immobilized within tissues, e.g., dendritic cell migration toward lymphatic vessels is guided by a haptotactic gradient of the chemokine CCL21. Controlled assay systems to quantitatively study haptotaxis in vitro are still missing. In this chapter, we describe an in vitro haptotaxis assay optimized for the unique properties of dendritic cells. The chemokine CCL21 is immobilized in a bioactive state, using laser-assisted protein adsorption by photobleaching. The cells follow this immobilized CCL21 gradient in a haptotaxis chamber, which provides three dimensionally confined migration conditions.
Schwarz, Jan, Michael Sixt
Methods in Enzymology