In the absence of type III receptor, the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta type II-B receptor requires the type I receptor to bind TGF-beta2

del Re E, Babitt JL, Pirani A, Schneyer AL, Lin HY

J. Biol. Chem. 2004 May;279(21):22765-72

PMID: 14996829


Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) ligands exert their biological effects through type II (TbetaRII) and type I receptors (TbetaRI). Unlike TGF-beta1 and -beta3, TGF-beta2 appears to require the co-receptor betaglycan (type III receptor, TbetaRIII) for high affinity binding and signaling. Recently, the TbetaRIII null mouse was generated and revealed significant non-overlapping phenotypes with the TGF-beta2 null mouse, implying the existence of TbetaRIII independent mechanisms for TGF-beta2 signaling. Because a variant of the type II receptor, the type II-B receptor (TbetaRII-B), has been suggested to mediate TGF-beta2 signaling in the absence of TbetaRIII, we directly tested the ability of TbetaRII-B to bind TGF-beta2. Here we show that the soluble extracellular domain of the type II-B receptor (sTbetaRII-B.Fc) bound TGF-beta1 and TGF-beta3 with high affinity (K(d) values = 31.7 +/- 22.8 and 74.6 +/- 15.8 pm, respectively), but TGF-beta2 binding was undetectable at corresponding doses. Similar results were obtained for the soluble type II receptor (sTbetaRII.Fc). However, sTbetaRII.Fc or sTbetaRII-B.Fc in combination with soluble type I receptor (sTbetaRI.Fc) formed a high affinity complex that bound TGF-beta2, and this complex inhibited TGF-beta2 in a biological inhibition assay. These results show that TGF-beta2 has the potential to signal in the absence of TbetaRIII when sufficient TGF-beta2, TbetaRI, and TbetaRII or TbetaRII-B are present. Our data also support a cooperative model for receptor-ligand interactions, as has been suggested by crystallization studies of TGF-beta receptors and ligands. Our cell-free binding assay system will allow for testing of models of receptor-ligand complexes prior to actual solution of crystal structures.