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J Immunol. 2006 Jul 1;177(1):383-94.

Characterization of human complement receptor type 2 (CR2/CD21) as a receptor for IFN-alpha: a potential role in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Department of Immunology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East Ninth Avenue, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


Human complement receptor type 2 (CR2/CD21) is a B lymphocyte membrane glycoprotein that plays a central role in the immune responses to foreign Ags as well as the development of autoimmunity to nuclear Ags in systemic lupus erythematosus. In addition to these three well-characterized ligands, C3d/iC3b, EBV-gp350, and CD23, a previous study has identified CR2 as a potential receptor for IFN-alpha. IFN-alpha, a multifunctional cytokine important in the innate immune system, has recently been proposed to play a major pathogenic role in the development of systemic lupus erythematosus in humans and mice. In this study, we have shown using surface plasmon resonance and ELISA approaches that CR2 will bind IFN-alpha in the same affinity range as the other three well-characterized ligands studied in parallel. In addition, we show that IFN-alpha interacts with short consensus repeat domains 1 and 2 in a region that serves as the ligand binding site for C3d/iC3b, EBV-gp350, and CD23. Finally, we show that treatment of purified human peripheral blood B cells with the inhibitory anti-CR2 mAb 171 diminishes the induction of IFN-alpha-responsive genes. Thus, IFN-alpha represents a fourth class of extracellular ligands for CR2 and interacts with the same domain as the other three ligands. Defining the role of CR2 as compared with the well-characterized type 1 IFN-alpha receptor 1 and 2 in mediating innate immune and autoimmune roles of this cytokine should provide additional insights into the biologic roles of this interaction.

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