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J Biol Chem. 1997 Aug 1;272(31):19205-13.

Cell adhesion to a motif shared by the malaria circumsporozoite protein and thrombospondin is mediated by its glycosaminoglycan-binding region and not by CSVTCG.

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Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York 10016, USA.


The malaria circumsporozoite protein (CS), thrombospondin (TSP), and several other proteins including the terminal complement proteins and the neural adhesion molecules F-spondin and Unc-5, share a cell adhesive sequence. In CS this sequence is designated as region II-plus (EWSPCSVTCGNGIQVRIK) and in TSP it is found in the type I repeats. Previous studies aimed at fine mapping the amino acid residues required for cell adhesion have yielded discrepant results. Here we show in three different cell lines that the downstream basic residues are required for cell adhesion whereas the CSVTCG sequence is not. Using mutant Chinese hamster ovary cells selected for deficiencies in proteoglycan synthesis, we show that in wild type cells, heparan sulfate proteoglycans are the binding sites for this motif. This finding is supported by additional experiments with two other cell lines demonstrating that treatment with heparitinase but not chondroitinase abolishes cell adhesion to peptides representing this motif. Using Chinese hamster ovary cell mutants deficient in heparan sulfate proteoglycans but possessing chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, we show that cell surface chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans can also mediate binding to this motif although higher concentrations of peptides are required for adhesion. Chondroitinase, but not heparitinase, treatment of these cells destroys cell surface-binding sites. Taken together, these results indicate that cell adhesion to this motif involves an interaction between the downstream positively-charged residues and the negatively charged glycosaminoglycan chains of heparan sulfate, or in some cases chondroitin sulfate, proteoglycans on the cell surface.

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