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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jun 16;281(24):16794-8. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

All but the shortest polymorphic forms of the viral receptor DC-SIGNR assemble into stable homo- and heterotetramers.

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Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.


Polymorphisms that affect the length of the extracellular neck region of the endothelial receptor DC-SIGNR (dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing nonintegrin-related protein) have been linked to differences in susceptibility to infection by enveloped viruses. We have characterized the effects of these polymorphisms on the ability of DC-SIGNR to form tetramers containing the clusters of sugar-binding sites needed for binding to viral envelope glycoproteins. Chemical cross-linking and analytical ultracentrifugation experiments have been used to show that only the smallest form of DC-SIGNR is defective in homotetramer assembly. A novel affinity-tagging approach has been employed to demonstrate that, contrary to previous speculation, heterotetramers can be assembled efficiently from DC-SIGNR polypeptides of different lengths. The heterotetramers are stable and can be detected in fibroblasts transfected with multiple forms of DC-SIGNR. These results provide a molecular basis for interpreting the way polymorphisms affect interactions with viruses.

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