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J Biol Chem. 1987 Apr 25;262(12):5554-62.

Binding and receptor-mediated endocytosis of erythropoietin in Friend virus-infected erythroid cells.


The binding of labeled erythropoietin (EP) to cell surface receptors and subsequent processing of the hormone within the cell was studied in erythroid cells procured from the spleens of mice infected with the anemia strain of Friend virus. These immature erythroid cells respond to EP in culture to differentiate into reticulocytes and erythrocytes. Radiolabeled EP (both iodinated and tritiated) binds to 800-1000 cell surface receptors on these cells at 4 degrees C. Using 125I-EP, we found that 300 of these cell surface receptors have a higher affinity for EP (Kd = 0.09 nM) than the remaining receptors (Kd = 0.57 nM). The number of molecules of EP bound per cell increased about 2-fold when binding was carried out at 37 degrees C. Treatment of the cell surface with pronase or removal of surface-bound EP with a low pH wash revealed that radiolabeled EP is internalized by the cells at 37 degrees C. Pulse chase experiments showed that degradation products of radiolabeled EP are released into the medium with a corresponding loss of label from the interior of the cell. Inhibitors of lysosomal function greatly reduced this degradation of 125I-EP. Since 180 of the 300 high affinity receptors and very few of the low affinity receptors are occupied at the concentration of EP which elicits the maximum biological response in these cells, we suggest that interaction of EP with the high affinity receptors are necessary for the full biological effect of the hormone. A different murine erythroleukemia cell line which does not differentiate in response to EP was found to have only the lower affinity binding sites for the hormone.

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