Erythropoietin (EPO), the primary regulator of erythropoiesis, is a heavily glycosylated protein found in humans and several other mammals. Intriguingly, we have previously found that EPO in Xenopus laevis (xlEPO) has no N-glycosylation sites, and cross-reacts with the human EPO (huEPO) receptor despite low homology with huEPO. In this study, we introduced N-glycosylation sites into wild-type xlEPO at the positions homologous to those in huEPO, and tested whether the glycosylated mutein retained its biological activity. Seven xlEPO muteins, containing 1-3 additional N-linked carbohydrates at positions 24, 38, and/ or 83, were expressed in COS-1 cells. The muteins exhibited lower secretion efficiency, higher hydrophilicity, and stronger acidic properties than the wild type. All muteins stimulated the proliferation of both cell lines, xlEPO receptor-expressing xlEPOR-FDC/P2 cells and huEPO receptor-expressing UT-7/EPO cells, in a dose-dependent manner. Thus, the muteins retained their in vitro biological activities. The maximum effect on xlEPOR-FDC/P2 proliferation was decreased by the addition of N-linked carbohydrates, but that on UT-7/ EPO proliferation was not changed, indicating that the muteins act as partial agonists to the xlEPO receptor, and near-full agonists to the huEPO receptor. Hence, the EPO-EPOR binding site in X. laevis locates the distal region of artificially introduced three N-glycosylation sites, demonstrating that the vital conformation to exert biological activity is conserved between humans and X. laevis, despite the low similarity in primary structures of EPO and EPOR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)