Author(s): English NM, Lesley JF, Hyman R
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Abstract CD44 is a cell surface receptor for the glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan (HA). Not all CD44-positive cells bind HA, and binding ability is strictly regulated. Three different HA binding states have been defined: inactive, inducible (by certain CD44-specific monoclonal antibodies), and constitutively active. The observation that sets of genetically related cell lines representing different HA binding states showed correlated differences in N-glycosylation of CD44, and that inhibition of N-glycosylation enhanced HA binding (Lesley et al., J. Exp. Med., 182: 431-437, 1995) led us to examine directly whether specific N-glycosylation site modifications were involved in regulating the HA binding function. CD44-negative, -active, and inducible cell lines were stably transfected with mutant constructs in which each of the five N-glycosylation sites of murine CD44 had been separately inactivated. Ability to bind soluble HA was examined over a range of CD44 expression levels. For the active cell line, AKR1, transfectants for all N-glycosylation mutants bound HA as well as did transfectants for wild type CD44. No inhibitory effects of inactivating specific N-glycosylation sites were observed. HA binding was activated when two of the mutant constructs were transfected into a novel CD44-negative inducible cell line. Inactivation of N-glycosylation sites at residues 25 or 120 converted the inducible cell line to constitutively active, whereas inactivation of other sites had little or no effect. Fusion proteins secreted from inactive, inducible, or active cell lines were purified, bound to beads, and assayed for HA binding activity by flow cytometric analysis. Fusion proteins derived from inactive, inducible, and constitutively active cells exhibited three distinguishable "threshold" densities required for HA binding ability. The results imply that the CD44 molecules produced in cells in these three activation states have intrinsic differences in HA binding function. Treatment of the fusion proteins with neuraminidase altered the HA binding state, and glycosylation mutations that affected the phenotype of the inducible cell line lowered the threshold required for HA binding of CD44-immunoglobulin fusion proteins derived from the inducible cell line. Thus, alterations of glycosylation of CD44 itself can affect HA binding ability as manifested by a change in HA binding state.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Translational Medicine