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J Immunol. 2001 Apr 1;166(7):4341-7.

Biological activity of soluble CD100. I. The extracellular region of CD100 is released from the surface of T lymphocytes by regulated proteolysis.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 448, Faculté de Médecine de Créteil, Créteil, France.


CD100 is the first semaphorin described in lymphoid tissues, where it has been shown to be associated with a serine kinase activity. Semaphorins are molecules involved in axon pathfinding during nerve development and act as repellent guidance cues. In the nervous system semaphorins exist as either membrane-bound or secreted forms. We report here a spontaneous processing of membrane CD100, suggesting that it is also produced as a diffusable semaphorin from lymphoid cells. Monomeric and homodimeric forms of CD100 are expressed by T lymphocytes and CD100-transfected fibroblasts. We demonstrate that CD100 is released through a proteolytic process blocked by metalloprotease inhibitors. In T cells, only soluble CD100 dimers are produced, suggesting that CD100 dimerization is required for proteolysis. In agreement, we observe that increasing membrane dimers strongly favors shedding of the molecule. By expressing a CD100 molecule mutated at cysteine 674 into a COS cell system, we additionally demonstrate that this particular residue in the extracellular domain of the molecule is required for dimerization. Finally, we show that staurosporine, a serine kinase inhibitor, enhances the membrane cleavage of CD100. Together these results demonstrate that membrane CD100 is cleaved by a metalloprotease-dependent process, which is probably regulated by phosphorylation. Mainly, these findings shed light on a possible function for the semaphorin region of CD100 as a long range guidance cue in the immune system.

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