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J Biol Chem. 1988 Nov 25;263(33):17596-602.

Chemical modification of surfactant protein A alters high affinity binding to rat alveolar type II cells and regulation of phospholipid secretion.

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  • 1Lord and Taylor Laboratory for Lung Biochemistry, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80206.


Alveolar type II cells express a high affinity receptor for pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A), and the interaction of SP-A with these cells leads to inhibition of surfactant lipid secretion. We have investigated the binding of native and modified forms of SP-A to isolated rat alveolar type II cells. Native and deglycosylated forms of SP-A readily competed with 125I-SP-A for cell surface binding. Alkylation of SP-A with excess iodoacetamide yielded forms of SP-A that did not inhibit surfactant lipid secretion and did not compete with 125I-SP-A for cell surface binding. Reductive methylation of SP-A with H2CO and NaCNBH3 yielded forms of SP-A with markedly reduced receptor binding activity that also exhibited significantly reduced capacity to inhibit lipid secretion. Modification of SP-A with cyclohexanedione reversibly altered cell surface binding and the activity of SP-A as an inhibitor of lipid secretion. Two monoclonal antibodies that block the function of SP-A as an inhibitor of lipid secretion completely prevented the high affinity binding of SP-A to type II cells. A monoclonal antibody that recognizes epitopes on SP-A but failed to block the inhibition of secretion also failed to completely attenuate high affinity binding to the receptor. Concanavalin A inhibits phospholipid secretion of type II cells by a mechanism that is reversed in the presence of excess alpha-methylmannoside. Concanavalin A did not block the high affinity binding of 125I-SP-A to the receptor. Neither the high affinity binding nor the inhibitor activity of SP-A was prevented by the presence of mannose or alpha-methylmannoside. The SP-A derived from humans with alveolar proteinosis is a potent inhibitor of surfactant lipid secretion but failed to completely displace 125I-SP-A binding from type II cells. From these data we conclude that: 1) cell surface binding activity of rat SP-A is directly related to its capacity to inhibit surfactant lipid secretion; 2) monoclonal antibodies directed against SP-A can be used to map binding domains for the receptor; 3) the lectin activity of SP-A against mannose ligands does not appear to be essential for cell surface binding; 4) concanavalin A does not compete with SP-A for receptor binding; and 5) the human SP-A derived from individuals with alveolar proteinosis exhibits different binding characteristics from rat SP-A.

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