Towards the Definition of a Chimpanzee and Human Conserved CD6 Domain 1 Epitope Recognized by T1 Monoclonal Antibody
Scavenger receptor cysteine-rich (SRCR) domains are evolutionally conserved modules that display complex structures stabilized by key amino acids, while some other residues have evolved with a relative independence, thus allowing the functional diversity of these receptors. CD6, a highly glycosylated membrane protein predominantly expressed on lymphocytes, contains three SRCR domains. The lack of CD6 domain crystal structure has limited the characterization of the binding sites for the interacting molecules. The interaction between CD6 and its ligand, activated leukocyte-cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM)/CD166, through the membrane-proximal SRCR3 domain, has low affinity and involves conserved sites in both molecules mediating a cross-species binding. The CD6-ALCAM interaction has been involved in cell adhesion, maturation, regulation of activation, and survival processes, suggesting the potential relevance of this target for therapeutic interventions. Several anti-CD6 monoclonal antibodies (MAb) have been described but their affinity and epitope definition remain unclear. We found the murine and humanized T1 MAb versions have similar CD6 recognition profiles and affinity constants of about 6 x 10(8). These antibodies do not block the CD6-ALCAM interaction and recognize a conformational epitope independent of the CD6 N-glycosylation. This epitope was additionally found in the chimpanzee and contains an RXE/Q consensus motif located in the membrane-distal SRCR1. These results, together with the therapeutic evidence previously obtained with these MAbs, suggest a differential contribution of CD6 domains to lymphocyte biology. Potential mechanisms for T1 MAb therapeutic effect different from CD6-CD166 interaction blocking would be dissected.
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