Molecular assembly of the ternary granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor complex

Barbara J. McClure, Timothy R. Hercus, Bronwyn A. Cambareri, Joanna M. Woodcock, Christopher J. Bagley, Geoff J. Howlett, Angel F. Lopez

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a hematopoietic cytokine that stimulates the production and functional activity of granulocytes and macrophages, properties that have encouraged its clinical use in bone marrow transplantation and in certain infectious diseases. Despite the importance of GM-CSF in regulating myeloid cell numbers and function, little is known about the exact composition and mechanism of assembly of the GM-CSF receptor complex. We have now produced soluble forms of the GM-CSF receptor α chain (sGMRα) and β chain (sβc) and utilized GM-CSF, the GM-CSF antagonist E21R (Glu21 Arg), and the βc-blocking monoclonal antibody BION-1 to define the molecular assembly of the GM-CSF receptor complex. We found that GM-CSF and E21R were able to form low-affinity, binary complexes with sGMRα, each having a stoichiometry of 1:1. Importantly, GM-CSF but not E21R formed a ternary complex with sGMRα, and sβc, and this complex could be disrupted by E21R. Significantly, size-exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation, and radioactive tracer experiments indicated that the ternary complex is composed of one sβc dimer with a single molecule each of sGMRα and of GM-CSF. In addition, a hitherto unrecognized direct interaction between βc and GM-CSF was detected that was absent with E21R and was abolished by BION-1. These results demonstrate a novel mechanism of cytokine receptor assembly likely to apply also to interleukin-3 (IL-3) and IL-5 and have implications for our molecular understanding and potential manipulation of GM-CSF activation of its receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1315
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 15 Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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