GM-CSF (granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor) is an important mediator of inducible haemopoiesis and inflammation, and has a critical role in the function of alveolar macrophages. Its clinical applications include the mobilization of haemopoietic progenitors, and a role as an immune stimulant and vaccine adjuvant in cancer patients. GM-CSF signals via a specific α receptor (GM-CSFRα) and the shared hβc (human common β-subunit). The present study has investigated the role of the Ig-like domain of GM-CSFRα in GM-CSF binding and signalling. Deletion of the Ig-like domain abolished direct GM-CSF binding and decreased growth signalling in the presence of hβc. To locate the specific residues in the Ig-like domain of GM-CSFRα involved in GM-CSF binding, a structural alignment was made with a related receptor, IL-13Rα1 (interleukin-13 receptor α1), whose structure and mode of interaction with its ligand has recently been elucidated. Mutagenesis of candidate residues in the predicted region of interaction identified Val51 and Cys60 as having critical roles in binding to the α receptor, with Arg54 and Leu55 also being important. High-affinity binding in the presence of hβc was strongly affected by mutation of Cys60 and was also reduced by mutation of Val51, Arg54 and Leu55. Of the four key residues, growth signalling was most severely affected by mutation of Cys60. The results indicate a previously unrecognized role for the Ig-like domain, and in particular Cys60, of GM-CSFRα in the binding of GM-CSF and subsequent activation of cellular signalling.

You do not currently have access to this content.