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Int J Cell Cloning. 1992 Sep;10(5):254-61.

The human erythropoietin receptor.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis.


Molecular analysis of the human erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) promises to yield a greater mechanistic understanding of erythropoiesis and disease states that affect red cell production. The cloned receptor molecule is a 66 kDa membrane protein that is structurally related to a large superfamily of haemopoietin/growth factor receptors. The 66 kDa EpoR alone is capable of binding to erythropoietin (Epo) with nanomolar affinity. The native EpoR may form dimers before or after binding Epo. EpoR dimers and/or associated molecules are probably necessary for high-affinity Epo binding. The 66 kDa EpoR probably exists as a protein complex with as yet unidentified proteins of 100 and 85 kDa. The molecular mechanism of Epo signal transduction remains largely undefined. The possible role of the EpoR in human diseases has been studied in a variety of clinical conditions. A structurally abnormal EpoR gene has been identified in a human erythroleukemia cell line. In polycythemia vera, red cell progenitors exhibit exaggerated sensitivity to Epo and express only low-affinity EpoR. Some cases of hereditary polycythemia may be due to a mutant EpoR conferring enhanced Epo sensitivity. Other pathologic conditions may also be associated with abnormalities of the EpoR or its associated molecules. Soluble, immunoreactive EpoR is detectable in human serum, but its physiological significance is unknown.

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