The human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) receptor exists as a preformed receptor complex that can be activated by GM- CSF, interleukin-3, or interleukin-5

Joanna M. Woodcock, Barbara J. McClure, Frank C. Stomski, Michael J. Elliott, Christopher J. Bagley, Angel F. Lopez

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51 Citations (Scopus)


The granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) receptor is expressed on normal and malignant hematopoietic cells as well as on cells from other organs in which it transduces a variety of functions. Despite the widespread expression and pleiotropic nature of the GM-CSF receptor, little is known about its assembly and activation mechanism. Using a combination of biochemical and functional approaches, we have found that the human GM-CSF receptor exists as an inducible complex, analogous to the interleukin-3 (IL- 3) receptor, and also as a preformed complex, unlike the IL-3 receptor or indeed other members of the cytokine receptor superfamily. We found that monoclonal antibodies to the GM-CSF receptor α chain (GMRα) and to the common β chain of the GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-5 receptors (β(o)) immunoprecipitated both GMRα and β(o) from the surface of primary myeloid cells, myeloid cell lines, and transfected cells in the absence of GM-CSF. Further association of the two chains could be induced by the addition of GM- CSF. The preformed complex required only the extracellular regions of GMRα and β(c), as shown by the ability of soluble β(c) to associate with membrane-anchored GMRα or soluble GMRα. Kinetic experiments on eosinophils and monocytes with radiolabeled GM-CSF, IL-3, and IL-5 showed association characteristics unique to GM-CSF. Significantly, receptor phosphorylation experiments showed that not only GM-CSF but also IL-3 and IL-5 stimulated the phosphorylation of GMRα-associated β(c). These results indicate a pattern of assembly of the heterodimeric GM-CSF receptor that is unique among receptors of the cytokine receptor superfamily. These results also suggest that the preformed GM-CSF receptor complex mediates the instantaneous binding of GM-CSF and is a target of phosphorylation by IL-3 and IL-5, raising the possibility that some of the biologic activities of IL-3 and IL-5 are mediated through the GM-CSF receptor complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3005-3017
Number of pages13
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 15 Oct 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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