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J Mol Biol. 2009 Dec 11;394(4):613-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.10.006. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Segmented helical structure of the neck region of the glycan-binding receptor DC-SIGNR.

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  • 1Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Carbohydrate-recognition domains (CRDs) in the glycan-binding receptors DC-SIGN (dendritic-cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule 1-grabbing nonintegrin; CD209) and DC-SIGNR (DC-SIGN-related receptor, also known as L-SIGN and variously designated CD209L and CD299) are projected from the membrane surface by extended neck domains containing multiple repeats of a largely conserved 23-amino-acid sequence motif. Crystals of a fragment of the neck domain of DC-SIGNR containing multiple repeats in which each molecule extends through multiple unit cells, such that the observed crystallographic asymmetric unit represents one repeat averaged over six repeats of the protein, have been obtained. The repeats are largely alpha-helical. Based on the structure and arrangement of the repeats in the crystal, the neck region can be described as a series of four-helix bundles connected by short, non-helical linkers. Combining the structure of the isolated neck domain with a previously determined overlapping structure of the distal end of the neck region with the CRDs attached provides a model of the almost-complete extracellular portion of the receptor. The results are consistent with previous characterization of the extended structure for the isolated neck region and the extracellular domain. The organization of the neck suggests how CRDs may be disposed differently in DC-SIGN compared with DC-SIGNR and in variant forms of DC-SIGNR assembled from polypeptides with different numbers of repeats in the neck domain.

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