The hyaluronan (HA)-binding function (lectin function) of the leukocyte homing receptor, CD44, is tightly regulated. Herein we address possible mechanisms that regulate CD44 isoform-specific HA binding. Binding studies with melanoma transfectants expressing CD44H, CD44E, or with soluble immunoglobulin fusions of CD44H and CD44E (CD44H-Rg, CD44E-Rg) showed that although both CD44 isoforms can bind HA, CD44H binds HA more efficiently than CD44E. Using CD44-Rg fusion proteins we show that the variably spliced exons in CD44E, V8-V10, specifically reduce the lectin function of CD44, while replacement of V8-V10 by an ICAM-1 immunoglobulin domain restores binding to a level comparable to that of CD44H. Conversely, CD44 bound HA very weakly when exons V8-V10 were replaced with a CD34 mucin domain, which is heavily modified by O-linked glycans. Production of CD44E-Rg or incubation of CD44E-expressing transfectants in the presence of an O-linked glycosylation inhibitor restored HA binding to CD44H-Rg and to cell surface CD44H levels, respectively. We conclude that differential splicing provides a regulatory mechanism for CD44 lectin function and that this effect is due in part to O-linked carbohydrate moieties which are added to the Ser/Thr rich regions encoded by the variably spliced CD44 exons. Alternative splicing resulting in changes in protein glycosylation provide a novel mechanism for the regulation of lectin activity.
Regulation of CD44 binding to hyaluronan by glycosylation of variably spliced exons.
K L Bennett, B Modrell, B Greenfield, A Bartolazzi, I Stamenkovic, R Peach, D G Jackson, F Spring, A Aruffo; Regulation of CD44 binding to hyaluronan by glycosylation of variably spliced exons.. J Cell Biol 15 December 1995; 131 (6): 1623–1633. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.131.6.1623
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