Chemoattractant active on T-lymphocytes and 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. 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. Also binds to atypical chemokine receptor ACKR3, which activates the beta-arrestin pathway and acts as a scavenger receptor for SDF-1. Binds to the allosteric site (site 2) of integrins and activates integrins ITGAV:ITGB3, ITGA4:ITGB1 and ITGA5:ITGB1 in a CXCR4-independent manner. 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 ACKR3, 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 ACKR3 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. Stimulates the proliferation of bone marrow-derived B-cell progenitors in the presence of IL7 as well as growth of stromal cell-dependent pre-B-cells.