The sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (siglecs) represent a recently defined distinct subset of the immunoglobulin superfamily. By using the Src homology 2 (SH2)-domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen, we have identified a new member of the mouse siglec family, mSiglec-E. The mSiglec-E cDNA encodes a protein of 467 amino acids that contains three extracellular immunoglobulin-like domains, a transmembrane region and a cytoplasmic tail bearing two immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motifs (ITIMs). mSiglec-E is highly expressed in mouse spleen, a tissue rich in leucocytes. The ITIMs of mSiglec-E can recruit SHP-1 and SHP-2, two inhibitory regulators of immunoreceptor signal transduction. This suggests that the function of mSiglec-E is probably an involvement in haematopoietic cells and the immune system as an inhibitory receptor. When expressed in COS-7 cells, mSiglec-E was able to mediate sialic acid-dependent binding to human red blood cells, suggesting that mSiglec-E may function through cell–cell interactions. In comparison with the known members of the siglec family, mSiglec-E exhibits a high degree of sequence similarity to both human siglec-7 and siglec-9. The gene encoding mSiglec-E is localized in the same chromosome as that encoding mouse CD33. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that neither mouse mSiglec-E nor CD33 shows a clear relationship with any human siglecs so far identified.

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