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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jun 28;288(26):18834-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.471060. Epub 2013 May 13.

CD163 binding to haptoglobin-hemoglobin complexes involves a dual-point electrostatic receptor-ligand pairing.

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Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


Formation of the haptoglobin (Hp)-hemoglobin (Hb) complex in human plasma leads to a high affinity recognition by the endocytic macrophage receptor CD163. A fast segregation of Hp-Hb from CD163 occurs at endosomal conditions (pH <6.5). The ligand binding site of CD163 has previously been shown to involve the scavenger receptor cysteine-rich (SRCR) domain 3. This domain and the adjacent SRCR domain 2 of CD163 contain a consensus motif for a calcium-coordinated acidic amino acid triad cluster as originally identified in the SRCR domain of the scavenger receptor MARCO. Here we show that site-directed mutagenesis in each of these acidic triads of SRCR domains 2 and 3 abrogates the high affinity binding of recombinant CD163 to Hp-Hb. In the ligand, Hp Arg-252 and Lys-262, both present in a previously identified CD163 binding loop of Hp, were revealed as essential residues for the high affinity receptor binding. These findings are in accordance with pairing of the calcium-coordinated acidic clusters in SRCR domains 2 and 3 with the two basic Arg/Lys residues in the Hp loop. Such a two-point electrostatic pairing is mechanistically similar to the pH-sensitive pairings disclosed in crystal structures of ligands in complex with tandem LDL receptor repeats or tandem CUB domains in other endocytic receptors.


Calcium-binding Proteins; Hemoglobin; Ligand-binding protein; Receptor Endocytosis; Scavenger Receptor

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