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Many serotype 3 reoviruses bind to two different host cell molecules, sialic acid and an unidentified protein, using discrete receptor-binding domains in viral attachment protein, final sigma1. To determine mechanisms by which these receptor-binding events cooperate to mediate cell attachment, we generated isogenic reovirus strains that differ in the capacity to bind sialic acid. Strain SA+, but not SA-, bound specifically to sialic acid on a biosensor chip with nanomolar avidity. SA+ displayed 5-fold higher avidity for HeLa cells when compared with SA-, although both strains recognized the same proteinaceous receptor. Increased avidity of SA+ binding was mediated by increased k(on). Neuraminidase treatment to remove cell-surface sialic acid decreased the k(on) of SA+ to that of SA-. Increased k(on) of SA+ enhanced an infectious attachment process, since SA+ was 50-100-fold more efficient than SA- at infecting HeLa cells in a kinetic fluorescent focus assay. Sialic acid binding was operant early during SA+ attachment, since the capacity of soluble sialyllactose to inhibit infection decreased rapidly during the first 20 min of adsorption. These results indicate that reovirus binding to sialic acid enhances virus infection through adhesion of virus to the cell surface where access to a proteinaceous receptor is thermodynamically favored.
The middle domain of plasma histidine-proline-rich glycoprotein (HPRG) contains unusual tandem pentapeptide repeats (consensus G(H/P)(H/P)PH) and binds heparin and transition metals. Unlike other proteins that interact with heparin via lysine or arginine residues, HPRG relies exclusively on histidine residues for this interaction. To assess the consequences of this unusual requirement, we have studied the interaction between human plasma HPRG and immobilized glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) using resonant mirror biosensor techniques. HPRG binding to immobilized heparin was strikingly pH-sensitive, producing a titration curve with a midpoint at pH 6.8. There was little binding of HPRG to heparin at physiological pH in the absence of metals, but the interaction was promoted by nanomolar concentrations of free zinc and copper, and its pH dependence was shifted toward alkaline pH by zinc. The affinity of HPRG for various GAGs measured in a competition assay decreased in the following order: heparin > dermatan sulfate > heparan sulfate > chondroitin sulfate A. Binding of HPRG to immobilized dermatan sulfate had a midpoint at pH 6.5, was less influenced by zinc, and exhibited cooperativity. Importantly, plasminogen interacted specifically with GAG-bound HPRG. We propose that HPRG is a physiological pH sensor, interacting with negatively charged GAGs on cell surfaces only when it acquires a net positive charge by protonation and/or metal binding. This provides a mechanism to regulate the function of HPRG (the local pH) and rationalizes the role of its unique, conserved histidine-proline-rich domain. Thus, under conditions of local acidosis (e.g. ischemia or hypoxia), HPRG can co-immobilize plasminogen at the cell surface as well as compete for heparin with other proteins such as antithrombin.