Recombinant pulmonary surfactant protein D. Post-translational modification and molecular assembly

E. Crouch, D. Chang, K. Rust, A. Persson, J. Heuser

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106 Scopus citations


Pulmonary surfactant protein D (SP-D) is a member of a family of collagenous C-type lectins that includes the serum mannose binding proteins and surfactant protein A. Recent studies have shown that rat SP-D (rSP-D) molecules are assembled as tetramers of trimeric subunits (12 mers) and that dodecamers can participate in higher orders of molecular assembly involving interactions of the amino-terminal peptide domains. In order to further study the assembly of SP-D in vitro, Chinese hamster ovary K1 cells were transfected with a full-length rat SP-D cDNA, and stable transfectants with high levels of SP-D production (approximately 6 x 106 dodecamers/cell/24 h) were obtained using a glutamine synthetase selection system. The secreted molecules (RrSP-D), which were purified by affinity chromatography on maltosyl-agarose, comigrated with rSP-D on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the presence and absence of reduction, and coeluted with rSP-D dodecamers from 4% agarose. The major bacterial collagenase-resistant peptide showed a decreased mobility on reduction consistent with the formation of intrachain disulfide bonds. A 17-kDa pepsin-resistant fragment was isolated following overnight digestion with pepsin at 27 °C, confirming the formation of a triple helical domain comparable in size and thermal stability to that of natural SP-D. The expressed protein contained sialylated endoglycosidase F-sensitive carbohydrate; amino acid analysis of acid and alkaline hydrolysates demonstrated essentially normal levels of hydroxyproline, hydroxylysine, and hydroxylysine-glycosides. Electron microscopic studies showed a molecular structure indistinguishable from lung SP-D, with a similar small subpopulation of molecules showing higher orders of multimerization. Solid-phase neoglycoprotein binding assays gave the same saccharide inhibition profile as natural rat SP-D, and both proteins showed efficient saccharide-dependent agglutination of Escherichia coli. These studies demonstrate that a single genetically distinct chain type can account for the various and complex molecular assemblies of SP-D, and further verify the potential physiologic significance of the disulfide-bonded multimers and higher aggregates isolated from rat, bovine, and human lung lavage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15808-15813
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1994


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