BACKGROUNDThe chemokine and chemokine receptor families play critical roles in both the healthy and diseased organism mediating the migration of cells. The chemokine system is complex in that multiple chemokines can bind to one chemokine receptor and vice versa. Although chemokine receptors have been well characterised in humans, the chemokine receptor repertoire of cattle is not well characterised and many sequences are yet to be experimentally validated.RESULTSWe have identified and sequenced bovine homologs to all identified functional human chemokine receptors. The bovine chemokine receptors show high levels of similarity to their human counterparts and similar genome arrangements. We have also characterised an additional bovine chemokine receptor, not present in the available genome sequence of humans or the more closely related pigs or horses. This receptor shows the highest level of similarity to CCR1 but shows significant differences in regions of the protein that are likely to be involved in ligand binding and signalling. We have also examined the mRNA abundance levels of all identified bovine chemokine receptors in mononuclear phagocytic cells. Considerable differences were observed in the mRNA abundance levels of the receptors, and interestingly the identified novel chemokine receptor showed differing levels of mRNA abundance to its closest homolog CCR1. The chemokine receptor repertoire was shown to differ between monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. This may reflect the differing roles of these cells in the immune response and may have functional consequences for the trafficking of these cells in vivo.CONCLUSIONSIn summary, we have provided the first characterisation of the complete bovine chemokine receptor gene repertoire including a gene that is potentially unique to cattle. Further study of this receptor and its ligands may reveal a specific role of this receptor in cattle. The availability of the bovine chemokine receptor sequences will allow further characterisation of the function of these genes and will confer wide-reaching benefits to the study of this important aspect of the bovine immune response.