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J Immunol. 2000 Jan 1;164(1):273-82.

Importance of the membrane-proximal extracellular domains for activation of the signal transducer glycoprotein 130.

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  • 1Institut für Biochemie, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Germany.


The transmembrane glycoprotein gp130 is the common signal transducing receptor subunit of the IL-6-type cytokines. The gp130 extracellular part is predicted to consist of six individual domains. Whereas the role of the three membrane-distal domains (D1-D3) in binding of IL-6 and IL-11 is well established, the function of the membrane-proximal domains (D4-D6) is unclear. Mapping of a neutralizing mAb to the membrane-proximal part of gp130 suggests a functional role of D4-D6 in receptor activation. Individual deletion of these three domains differentially interferes with ligand binding of the soluble and membrane-bound receptors. All deletion mutants do not signal in response to IL-6 and IL-11. The deletion mutants Delta4 and, to a lesser extent, Delta6 are still activated by agonistic monoclonal gp130 Abs, whereas the deletion mutant Delta5 does not respond. Because membrane-bound Delta5 binds IL-6/soluble IL-6R as does wild-type gp130, but does not transduce a signal in response to various stimuli, this domain plays a prominent role in coupling of ligand binding and signal transduction. Replacement of the fifth domain of gp130 by the corresponding domain of the homologous G-CSF receptor leads to constitutive activation of the chimera upon overexpression in COS-7 cells. In HepG2 cells this mutant responds to IL-6 comparable to wild-type gp130. Our findings suggest a functional role of the membrane-proximal domains of gp130 in receptor activation. Thus, within the hematopoietic receptor family the mechanism of receptor activation critically depends on the architecture of the receptor ectodomain.

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