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J Immunol. 2011 Dec 15;187(12):6393-401. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1102394. Epub 2011 Nov 16.

Stable coordination of the inhibitory Ca2+ ion at the metal ion-dependent adhesion site in integrin CD11b/CD18 by an antibody-derived ligand aspartate: implications for integrin regulation and structure-based drug design.

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  • 1Structural Biology Program, Division of Nephrology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


A central feature of integrin interaction with physiologic ligands is the monodentate binding of a ligand carboxylate to a Mg(2+) ion hexacoordinated at the metal ion-dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) in the integrin A domain. This interaction stabilizes the A domain in the high-affinity state, which is distinguished from the default low-affinity state by tertiary changes in the domain that culminate in cell adhesion. Small molecule ligand-mimetic integrin antagonists act as partial agonists, eliciting similar activating conformational changes in the A domain, which has contributed to paradoxical adhesion and increased patient mortality in large clinical trials. As with other ligand-mimetic integrin antagonists, the function-blocking mAb 107 binds MIDAS of integrin CD11b/CD18 A domain (CD11bA), but in contrast, it favors the inhibitory Ca(2+) ion over the Mg(2+) ion at MIDAS. We determined the crystal structures of the Fab fragment of mAb 107 complexed to the low- and high-affinity states of CD11bA. Favored binding of the Ca(2+) ion at MIDAS is caused by the unusual symmetric bidentate ligation of a Fab-derived ligand Asp to a heptacoordinated MIDAS Ca(2+) ion. Binding of the Fab fragment of mAb 107 to CD11bA did not trigger the activating tertiary changes in the domain or in the full-length integrin. These data show that the denticity of the ligand Asp/Glu can modify the divalent cation selectivity at MIDAS and hence integrin function. Stabilizing the Ca(2+) ion at MIDAS by bidentate ligation to a ligand Asp/Glu may provide one approach for designing pure integrin antagonists.

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