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Mol Biol Cell. 2001 Apr;12(4):891-900.

Layilin, a novel integral membrane protein, is a hyaluronan receptor.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


The actin cytoskeleton plays a significant role in changes of cell shape and motility, and interactions between the actin filaments and the cell membrane are crucial for a variety of cellular processes. Several adaptor proteins, including talin, maintain the cytoskeleton-membrane linkage by binding to integral membrane proteins and to the cytoskeleton. Layilin, a recently characterized transmembrane protein with homology to C-type lectins, is a membrane-binding site for talin in peripheral ruffles of spreading cells. To facilitate studies of layilin's function, we have generated a layilin-Fc fusion protein comprising the extracellular part of layilin joined to human immunoglobulin G heavy chain and used this chimera to identify layilin ligands. Here, we demonstrate that layilin-Fc fusion protein binds to hyaluronan immobilized to Sepharose. Microtiter plate-binding assays, coprecipitation experiments, and staining of sections predigested with different glycosaminoglycan-degrading enzymes and cell adhesion assays all revealed that layilin binds specifically to hyaluronan but not to other tested glycosaminoglycans. Layilin's ability to bind hyaluronan, a ubiquitous extracellular matrix component, reveals an interesting parallel between layilin and CD44, because both can bind to cytoskeleton-membrane linker proteins through their cytoplasmic domains and to hyaluronan through their extracellular domains. This parallelism suggests a role for layilin in cell adhesion and motility.

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