Recombinant glutathione S-transferase/CD36 fusion proteins define an oxidized low density lipoprotein-binding domain
CD36 is a multifunctional cell-surface receptor that binds adhesion molecules such as thrombospondin-1 and collagen and modified lipids and/or lipoproteins. It participates in cellular uptake of photoreceptor outer segments and scavenging of apoptotic cells and oxidized low density lipoprotein (Ox-LDL). Recognition and internalization of Ox-LDL by mononuclear phagocytes may play an important role in the development of atherosclerotic lesions. We have utilized a series of recombinant bacterial glutathione S-transferase/CD36 fusion proteins that span nearly all of the CD36 molecule to characterize the structural domain on CD36 that recognizes Ox-LDL. We found that the Ox-LDL-binding domain is different from the thrombospondin-1-binding domain located at amino acids 93-120. A fusion protein containing the region extending from amino acids 5 to 143 formed specific, saturable, and reversible complexes with Ox-LDL. As with intact CD36, binding was blocked by excess unlabeled Ox-LDL and antibodies to CD36. The stoichiometry and affinity of the fusion protein for Ox-LDL were similar to those of the intact protein. We also demonstrated that this fusion protein competitively inhibited binding of Ox-LDL to purified platelet CD36 and to CD36 expressed on peripheral blood monocytes and CD36 cDNA-transfected melanoma cells. The use of smaller peptides and fusion proteins including those spanning amino acids 28-93 and 5-93 has further narrowed the binding site to a region from amino acids 28 to 93, although participation of a sequence in the noncontiguous region 120-155 cannot be excluded. This study, for the first time, demonstrates unique regions of the scavenger receptor CD36 that bind the Ox-LDL ligand. Our structural analysis of the receptor provides information as to potential control of the trafficking of modified lipoproteins into the blood vessel wall.