Identification of proteoglycans as the APRIL-specific binding partners

Ingold K, Zumsteg A, Tardivel A, Huard B, Steiner QG, Cachero TG, Qiang F, Gorelik L, Kalled SL, Acha-Orbea H, Rennert PD, Tschopp J, Schneider P
J Exp Med (2005) 201(9): 1375-1383
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Cells used in publication:
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Species: human
Tissue Origin:
Nucleofectorâ„¢ I/II/2b
B cell activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are closely related ligands within the TNF superfamily that play important roles in B lymphocyte biology. Both ligands share two receptors-transmembrane activator and calcium signal-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) and B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-that are predominantly expressed on B cells. In addition, BAFF specifically binds BAFF receptor, whereas the nature of a postulated APRIL-specific receptor remains elusive. We show that the TNF homology domain of APRIL binds BCMA and TACI, whereas a basic amino acid sequence (QKQKKQ) close to the NH(2) terminus of the mature protein is required for binding to the APRIL-specific "receptor." This interactor was identified as negatively charged sulfated glycosaminoglycan side chains of proteoglycans. Although T cell lines bound little APRIL, the ectopic expression of glycosaminoglycan-rich syndecans or glypicans conferred on these cells a high binding capacity that was completely dependent on APRIL's basic sequence. Moreover, syndecan-1-positive plasma cells and proteoglycan-rich nonhematopoietic cells displayed high specific, heparin-sensitive binding to APRIL. Inhibition of BAFF and APRIL, but not BAFF alone, prevented the survival and/or the migration of newly formed plasma cells to the bone marrow. In addition, costimulation of B cell proliferation by APRIL was only effective upon APRIL oligomerization. Therefore, we propose a model whereby APRIL binding to the extracellular matrix or to proteoglycan-positive cells induces APRIL oligomerization, which is the prerequisite for the triggering of TACI- and/or BCMA-mediated activation, migration, or survival signals