Screening of serum by using a surface plasmon resonance analysis assay identified beta2-glycoprotein-I/apolipoprotein H as a plasma component binding to the renal epithelial endocytic receptor megalin. A calcium-dependent megalin-mediated beta2-glycoprotein-I endocytosis was subsequently demonstrated by ligand blotting of rabbit renal cortex and uptake analysis in megalin-expressing cells. Immunohistochemical and immunoelectron microscopic examination of kidneys and the presence of high concentrations of beta2-glycoprotein-I in urine of mice with disrupted megalin gene established that megalin is the renal clearance receptor for beta2-glycoprotein-I. A significant increase in functional affinity for purified megalin was observed when beta2-glycoprotein-I was bound to the acidic phospholipids, phosphatidylserine and cardiolipin. The binding of beta2-glycoprotein-I and beta2-glycoprotein-I- phospholipid complexes to megalin was completely blocked by receptor-associated protein. In conclusion, we have demonstrated a novel receptor recognition feature of beta2-glycoprotein-I. In addition to explaining the high urinary excretion of beta2-glycoprotein-I in patients with renal tubule failure, the data provide molecular evidence for the suggested function of beta2-glycoprotein-I as a linking molecule mediating cellular recognition of phosphatidylserine-exposing particles.
S K Moestrup, I Schousboe, C Jacobsen, J R Leheste, E I Christensen, T E Willnow