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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jan 23;284(4):2235-44. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807698200. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

CD96 interaction with CD155 via its first Ig-like domain is modulated by alternative splicing or mutations in distal Ig-like domains.

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  • 1Institute of Immunology, Department of Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


The adhesion receptor CD96 (TACTILE) is a transmembrane glycoprotein possessing three extracellular immunoglobulin-like domains. Among peripheral blood cells, CD96 is expressed on T cells as well as NK cells and a subpopulation of B cells. A possible function of this receptor in NK cell-mediated killing activities was suggested recently. Moreover, CD96 was described as a tumor marker for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia. CD96 binds to CD155 (poliovirus receptor) and nectin-1, an adhesion receptor related to CD155. Here we report that human but not mouse CD96 is expressed in two splice variants possessing either an I-like (variant 1) or V-like (variant 2) second domain. With the notable exception of an AML tumor sample, variant 2 predominates in all the CD96-expressing cell types and tissues examined. Using chimeric human/murine CD96 receptors, we show that the interaction with its ligands is mediated via the outermost V-like domain. In contrast to mouse, however, the binding of human CD96 to CD155 is sensitive to the characteristics of the two downstream domains. This is illustrated by a significantly weaker CD96/CD155 interaction mediated by variant 1 when compared with variant 2. Moreover, recent evidence suggested that mutations in human CD96 correlate with the occurrence of a rare form of trigonocephaly. One such mutation causing a single amino acid exchange in the third domain of human CD96 decreased the capacity of both variants to bind to CD155 considerably, suggesting that a CD96-driven adhesion to CD155 may be crucial in developmental processes.

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