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Mol Cell Biol. 1992 Jul;12(7):2949-57.

The erythropoietin receptor transmembrane region is necessary for activation by the Friend spleen focus-forming virus gp55 glycoprotein.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The erythropoietin receptor (EPO-R), a member of the cytokine receptor superfamily, can be activated by binding either erythropoietin (EPO) or gp55, the Friend spleen focus-forming virus glycoprotein. The highly specific interaction between gp55 and EPO-R triggers cell proliferation and thereby causes the first stage of Friend virus-induced erythroleukemia. We have generated functional chimeric receptors containing regions of the EPO-R and the interleukin-3 receptor (AIC2A polypeptide), a related cytokine receptor which does not interact with gp55. All chimeric receptors were expressed at similar levels, had similar binding affinities for EPO, and conferred EPO-dependent cell growth. Only those chimeric receptors which contained the EPO-R transmembrane region were activated by gp55. These results demonstrate that the transmembrane region of the EPO-R is critical for activation by gp55. In addition, analysis of a soluble, secreted EPO-R and cysteine point mutants of the EPO-R show that the extracytoplasmic region of the EPO-R specifically interacts with gp55.

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