Integrin alpha 4 beta 1 recognizes both fibronectin (CS-1 sequence) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1). To localize the ligand-binding sites of alpha 4, we located the epitopes for function-blocking anti-alpha 4 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), including those that recognize previously described (but not yet physically localized) functional epitopes (A, B1, B2 and C) using interspecies alpha 4 chimeras expressed in mammalian cells. Epitopes B1 and B2 were associated with ligand binding, and epitopes A and B2 with homotypic cellular aggregation. mAbs P4C2 (epitope B2), 20E4 and PS/2 were mapped within residues 108-182; mAbs HP2/1 (epitope B1), SG/73 and R1-2 within residues 195-268; mAbs HP1/3 (epitope A) and P4G9 within residues 1-52; and B5G10 (epitope C) within residues 269-548. The data suggest that residues 108-268, which do not include bivalent-cation-binding motifs, are related to VCAM-1 and CS-1 binding, and more N-terminal portions of alpha 4 (residues 1 and 52 and 108-182) to homotypic aggregation. Since mAbs PS/2 and HP2/1 block alpha 4 beta 7 binding to mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1), the MAdCAM-1-binding site is close to, or overlapping with, VCAM-1- and CS-1-binding sites. The role of Asp-130 of beta 1 in the binding to VCAM-1 and CS-1 peptide was examined. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing beta 1 (D130A) (Asp-130 to Ala mutant of beta 1) and alpha 4 showed much less binding to both ligands than CHO cells expressing wild-type beta 1 and alpha 4 [a dominant negative effects of beta 1 (D130A)], suggesting that Asp-130 of beta 1 is critical for binding to both ligands and that the two ligand share common binding mechanisms [corrected].

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