It is known that L-selectin binds to glycoconjugates containing the tetrasaccharide sialyl Lewis X in a Ca2+-dependent manner. In addition, a number of other acidic oligosaccharides (for example heparin or chondroitin sulphate) or glycolipids (for example sulphatides) bind to L-selectin independent of cations. In this paper we have established that L-selectin binds to charged phospholipids, such as cardiolipin and phosphatidylserine, but not to neutral phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine. No interaction between E-selectin and any phospholipid was observed. The interaction between L-selectin and cardiolipin was inhibited by dextran sulphate, fucoidan, mannose 6-phosphate and monoclonal antibodies previously reported to block the interaction between L-selectin and its natural ligands. Analysis of the amino acid sequence of the selectins indicated that L-selectin, but not E-selectin, contains a sequence homologous to the putative cardiolipin-binding epitope found in plasma glycoprotein β2I. Glycoprotein β2I and a peptide corresponding to the putative cardiolipin-binding epitope in β2I inhibited the binding of L-selectin to cardiolipin or fucoidin. Based on the binding characteristics, sequence analysis and structural modelling of L-selectin, we suggest that the amino acid sequence KKNKED (residues 84–89) is a novel site for the binding of acidic species to L-selectin. This motif is localized close to the putative carbohydrate-binding domain of L-selectin and may be a second site within the lectin domain for the interaction of leucocyte L-selectin with its natural endothelial ligands.

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