Residue 21 of human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor is critical for biological activity and for high but not low affinity binding

A. F. Lopez, M. F. Shannon, T. Hercus, N. A. Nicola, B. Cambareri, M. Dottore, M. J. Layton, L. Eglinton, M. A. Vadas

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The functional role of the predicted first α-helix of human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) was analysed by site-directed mutagenesis and multiple biological and receptor binding assays. Initial deletion mutagenesis pointed to residues 20 and 21 being critical. Substitution mutagenesis showed that by altering Gln20 to Ala full GM-CSF activity was retained but that by altering Glu21 for Ala GM-CSF activity and high affinity receptor binding were decreased. Substitution of different amino acids for Glu21 showed that there was a hierarchy in the ability to stimulate the various biological activities of GM-CSF with the order of potency being Asp21 > Ser21 > Ala21 > Gln21 > Lys21 = Arg21. To distinguish whether position 21 was important for GM-CSF binding to high or low affinity receptors, GM-CSF (Arg21) was used as a competitor for [125I]GM-CSF binding to monocytes that express both types of receptor. GM-CSF (Arg21) exhibited a greatly reduced capacity to compete for binding to high affinity receptors, however, it competed fully for [125I]GM-CSF binding to low affinity receptors. Furthermore, GM-CSF (Arg21) was equipotent with wild-type GM-CSF in binding to the cloned low affinity α-chain of the GM-CSF receptor. These results show that (i) this position is critical for high affinity but not for low affinity GM-CSF receptor binding thus defining two functional parts of the GM-CSF molecule; (ii) position 21 of GM-CSF is critical for multiple functions of GM-CSF; and (iii) stimulation of proliferation and mature cell function by GM-CSF are mediated through high affinity receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-916
Number of pages8
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth factors
  • Haemopoiesis
  • Mutagenesis
  • Receptors
  • Structure-function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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