Change in state of nerve growth factor receptor. Modulation of receptor affinity by wheat germ agglutinin

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Department of Neurobiology University of Massachusetts Medical School

Publication Date


Document Type



Cell Line; Cell Membrane; Humans; Kinetics; Lectins; Liposomes; Melanoma; Nerve Growth Factors; Receptors, Cell Surface; Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor; Trypsin; Wheat Germ Agglutinins


Biochemistry | Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Molecular Biology


The binding of 125I-labeled nerve growth factor (NGF) to human melanoma cell (A875) membranes, detergent-soluble membrane extracts, and membrane extracts reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles was significantly increased when binding was carried out in the presence of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). In the absence of WGA, all 125I-NGF binding was rapidly eliminated by trypsin treatment or rapidly dissociated in the presence of a high concentration of unlabeled NGF. However, in the presence of WGA, up to 75% of 125I-NGF bound was resistant to trypsin digestion and was only slowly dissociated by a high concentration of unlabeled NGF. The effects of WGA can be blocked or reversed by N-acetylglucosamine. Both WGA and NGF rapidly associate with soluble extracts and reconstituted vesicles and, at the concentrations used here, reach binding equilibrium within 2 min. The conversion to slowly dissociating, trypsin-resistant binding, however, was not complete for at least 10 min. Both WGA and NGF are required for maximum accumulation of trypsin-resistant, slowly dissociating binding. The order of addition of NGF and WGA has no effect on the rate of conversion of NGF-receptor, and the conversion occurs after both NGF and WGA are present. The amount of conversion is dependent on the incubation temperature, and significantly greater conversion occurs at 37 than at 0 degrees C. The generation of the trypsin-resistant, slowly dissociating state of NGF-receptor is consistent with a time- and temperature-dependent conformational change in NGF-receptor which occurs after interaction of both NGF and WGA with the receptor or closely associated structures.


J Biol Chem. 1983 Mar 25;258(6):3741-9.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of biological chemistry

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