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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 5;277(14):12246-52. Epub 2002 Jan 11.

Function and molecular modeling of the interaction between human interleukin 6 and its HNK-1 oligosaccharide ligands.

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  • 1CNRS Unité Mixte de Recherche 8576, Laboratoire de Glycobiologie Structurale et Fonctionnelle, Université des Sciences et Technologie de Lille Bâtiment C9, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq Cedex, France.


Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is endowed with a lectin activity for oligosaccharide ligands possessing the HNK-1 epitope (3-sulfated glucuronic acid) found on some mammalian glycoprotein N-glycans (Cebo, C., Dambrouck, T., Maes, E., Laden, C., Strecker, G., Michalski, J. C., and Zanetta, J. P. (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276, 5685-5691). Using high affinity oligosaccharide ligands, it is demonstrated that this lectin activity is responsible for the early dephosphorylation of tyrosine residues found on specific proteins induced by interleukin 6 in human resting lymphocytes. The gp130 glycoprotein, the signal-transducing molecule of the IL-6 pathway, is itself a molecule possessing the HNK-1 epitope. This indicates that IL-6 is a bi-functional molecule able to extracellularly associate its alpha-receptor with the gp130 surface complex. Computational modeling indicates that the lower energy conformers of the high affinity ligands of IL-6 have a common structure. Docking experiments of these conformers suggest that the carbohydrate recognition domain of IL-6 is localized in the domain previously identified as site 3 of IL-6 (Somers, W., Stahl, M., and Seehra, J. S. (1997) EMBO J. 16, 989-997), already known to be involved in interactions with gp130.

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