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The lymphatic vessel endothelial receptor LYVE-1 is implicated in the uptake of hyaluronan (HA) and trafficking of leukocytes to draining lymph nodes. Yet LYVE-1 has only weak affinity for hyaluronan and depends on receptor clustering and higher order ligand organization for durable binding in lymphatic endothelium. An unusual feature of LYVE-1 not found in other HA receptors is the potential to form disulfide-linked homodimers. However, their influence on function has not been investigated. Here we show LYVE-1 homodimers are the predominant configuration in lymphatic endothelium in vitro and in vivo, and formation solely requires the unpaired cysteine residue Cys-201 within the membrane-proximal domain, yielding a 15-fold higher HA binding affinity and an ∼67-fold slower off-rate than the monomer. Moreover, we show non-dimerizing LYVE-1 mutants fail to bind HA even when expressed at high densities in lymphatic endothelial cells or artificially cross-linked with antibody. Consistent with these findings, small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) indicates the Cys-201 interchain disulfide forms a hinge that maintains the homodimer in an "open scissors" conformation, likely allowing arrangement of the two HA binding domains for mutual engagement with ligand. Finally, we demonstrate the Cys-201 interchain disulfide is highly labile, and selective reduction with TCEP-HCl disrupts LYVE-1 homodimers, ablating HA binding. These findings reveal binding is dependent not just on clustering but also on the biochemical properties of LYVE-1 homodimers. They also mark LYVE-1 as the first Link protein superfamily member requiring covalent homodimerization for function and suggest the interchain disulfide acts as a redox switch in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





25004 - 25018


LYVE-1, avidity, dimer, disulfide, endothelium, hyaluronan, labile, lymphatic, receptor, redox regulation, Cysteine, Disulfides, Endothelial Cells, Endothelium, Lymphatic, Humans, Hyaluronic Acid, Oxidation-Reduction, Protein Multimerization, Vesicular Transport Proteins