The human CD36 antigen is a multifunctional membrane glycoprotein that acts as a receptor for thrombospondin, malaria-infected erythrocytes and oxidized low-density lipoprotein, as well as being implicated in the recognition of apoptotic neutrophils by macrophages. OKM5 and other anti-CD36 monoclonal antibodies have been shown to inhibit these CD36 adhesive functions, suggesting that the monoclonal-antibody epitopes and the domains that mediate these events are closely related. Analysis of a series of chimaeric exchanges between human and mouse CD36 shows that six anti-CD36 monoclonal antibodies (OKM5, FA6-152, L103, 5F1, SM phi and 10/5) recognize epitopes within the domain comprising amino acids 155-183. A seventh monoclonal antibody (13/10) binds to another domain that spans amino acids 30-76. Homologue-replacement mutagenesis performed within the human 155-183 immunodominant sequence identifies key residues for the binding of three functional monoclonal antibodies (OKM5, FA6-152 and L103). The fact that antibodies directed against the 155-183 domain can inhibit adhesion suggests that this domain is directly involved in CD36-ligand binding.

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