Chemoattractant active on T-lymphocytes, monocytes, but not neutrophils. Activates the C-X-C chemokine receptor CXCR4 to induce a rapid and transient rise in the level of intracellular calcium ions and chemotaxis. Also binds to another C-X-C chemokine receptor CXCR7, which activates the beta-arrestin pathway and acts as a scavenger receptor for SDF-1. SDF-1-beta(3–72) and SDF-1-alpha(3–67) show a reduced chemotactic activity. Binding to cell surface proteoglycans seems to inhibit formation of SDF-1-alpha(3–67) and thus to preserve activity on local sites. Acts as a positive regulator of monocyte migration and a negative regulator of monocyte adhesion via the LYN kinase. Stimulates migration of monocytes and T-lymphocytes through its receptors, CXCR4 and CXCR7, and decreases monocyte adherence to surfaces coated with ICAM-1, a ligand for beta-2 integrins. SDF1A/CXCR4 signaling axis inhibits beta-2 integrin LFA-1 mediated adhesion of monocytes to ICAM-1 through LYN kinase. Inhibits CXCR4-mediated infection by T- cell line-adapted HIV-1. Plays a protective role after myocardial infarction. Induces down-regulation and internalization of CXCR7 expressed in various cells. Has several critical functions during embryonic development; required for B-cell lymphopoiesis, myelopoiesis in bone marrow and heart ventricular septum formation.