Ganglioside Receptors: A Brief Overview and Introductory Remarks
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Gangliosides interact with a large variety of proteins including serum albumin,6 amphipathic membrane proteins,7 etc.; therefore, interactions such as those listed in Table 1 may merely represent a few of many widely occurring ionic interactions whose biological significance is yet undetermined. The interaction of GM1 with cholera toxin is, of course, highly specific.
The common gangliosides (particularly GT1 and GD1b) inhibit the binding of various glycoprotein hormones (thyrotropin, chorionic gonadotropin and luteinizing hormone) to target tissue membranes.16–18 Various gangliosides (GM2 and GT) inhibit both mouse and human interferon activity.21–23Similarly, the same gangliosides interact with different bacterial toxins (see Table 1). These non-specific interactions of gangliosides with hormones, interferon, and toxins conflict with the fact that toxic or hormonal activities of these factors are highly specific to target cells. Furthermore, the interferon activity is highly species-specific, human interferon acting on human cells but not on mouse cells and vice versa.
Some natural target cells for a specified bioactive factor are lacking in the expected ganglioside which showed the strongest interaction with the specified bioactive factor. Human intestinal epithelia, which is the primary target of cholera toxin, had an extremely low content of GM1, while the intestinal epithelia of some other animals which are not susceptible to cholera infection had a large quantity of GM1. Normal rat thyroid cell lines with high-affinity functional receptors for thyrotropin had none of the higher gangliosides postulated as the thyrotropin receptor.31 Some fibroblasts, such as BHK and NIL, which have a high content of fibronectin at the cell surface had no GT or GD1b ganglioside, while other fibroblasts, such as 3T3 cells, which have a low quantity of fibronectin have a high quantity of higher gangliosides.
In several cases high affinity receptors for those biological factors have been isolated from target cells and characterized as protein, and the binding to gangliosides is generally of much lower specificity and affinity (with the exception of GM1 for cholera toxin.
KeywordsLuteinizing Hormone Cholera Toxin Bacterial Toxin Tetanus Toxin Sendai Virus
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