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J Biol Chem. 1992 May 15;267(14):9972-9.

Specificity of lung surfactant protein SP-A for both the carbohydrate and the lipid moieties of certain neutral glycolipids.

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Glycoconjugates Section, Medical Research Council, Clinical Research Center, Harrow, Middlesex, United Kingdom.


Binding specificity of the major surfactant protein SP-A from human and dog lung has been investigated. Radiobinding experiments have shown that both proteins bind in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner to galactose, mannose, fucose, and glucose linked to bovine serum albumin. These results are in accord with a previous study in which monosaccharides were linked to agarose (Haagsman, H. P., Hawgood, S., Sargeant, T., Buckley, D., White, R. T., Drickamer, K., and Benson, B. J. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 13877-13880). Chromatogram overlays in conjunction with in situ liquid secondary ion mass spectrometry (TLC-LSIMS) of several purified glycosphingolipids and neoglycolipids as well as binding assays with glycolipids immobilized on plastic wells, demonstrate recognition of galactose (human and dog SP-A), glucose, and lactose (human SP-A) in association with specific lipids. In addition, the occurrence of several neutral and acidic glycosphingolipids in human and rat extracellular surfactants and rat alveolar type II cells is described. Selected components among the neutral glycolipids are bound by radiolabeled human SP-A; these are identified by TLC-LSIMS as predominantly ceramide mono- and disaccharides (human surfactant) and ceramide tri- and tetrasaccharides (rat surfactant and type II cells). A recombinant carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) of human SP-A inhibits the binding of human SP-A to galactosyl ceramide and to galactose- and mannose-bovine serum albumin, indicating that the CRD is directly involved in the binding of SP-A to these ligands. These results provide evidence for a novel type of binding specificity for proteins that have Ca(2+)-dependent CRDs and raise the possibility that glycosphingolipids are endogenous ligands for SP-A.

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