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Identification Of CD44 Residues Important For Hyaluronan Binding And Delineation Of The Binding Site*

J. Bajorath, B. Greenfield, S. Munro, A. Day, A. Aruffo
Published 1998 · Biology, Medicine

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CD44 is a widely distributed cell surface protein that plays a role in cell adhesion and migration. As a proteoglycan, CD44 is also implicated in growth factor and chemokine binding and presentation. The extracellular region of CD44 is variably spliced, giving rise to multiple CD44 isoforms. All isoforms contain an amino-terminal domain, which is homologous to cartilage link proteins. The cartilage link protein-like domain of CD44 is important for hyaluronan binding. The structure of the link protein domain of TSG-6 has been determined by NMR. Based on this structure, a molecular model of the link-homologous region of CD44 was constructed. This model was used to select residues for site-specific mutagenesis in an effort to identify residues important for ligand binding and to outline the hyaluronan binding site. Twenty-four point mutants were generated and characterized, and eight residues were identified as critical for binding or to support the interaction. In the model, these residues form a coherent surface the location of which approximately corresponds to the carbohydrate binding sites in two functionally unrelated calcium-dependent lectins, mannose-binding protein and E-selectin (CD62E).
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