Kim J, Im SP, Lee JS, Lazarte JMS, Kim SW, Jung JW, Kim JY, Kim YR, Lee S, Kim GJ, Jung HS, Lee KO, Adams A, Thompson KD & Jung TS (2018) Globular-shaped variable lymphocyte receptors B antibody multimerized by a hydrophobic clustering in hagfish. Scientific Reports, 8, Art. No.: 10801. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-29197-w
In hagfish and lampreys, two representative jawless vertebrates, the humoral immunity is directly mediated by variable lymphocyte receptors B (VLRBs). Both monomeric VLRBs are structurally and functionally similar, but their C-terminal tails differ: lamprey VLRB has a Cys-rich tail that forms disulfide-linked pentamers of dimers, contributing to its multivalency, whereas hagfish VLRB has a superhydrophobic tail of unknown structure. Here, we reveal that VLRBs obtained from hagfish plasma have a globular-shaped multimerized form (approximately 0.6 to 1.7 MDa) that is generated by hydrophobic clustering instead of covalent linkage. Electron microscopy (EM) and single-particle analysis showed that the multimerized VLRBs form globular-shaped clusters with an average diameter of 28.7 ± 2.2 nm. The presence of VLRBs in the complex was confirmed by immune-EM analysis using an anti-VLRB antibody. Furthermore, the hydrophobic hagfish C-terminus (HC) was capable of triggering multimerization and directing the cellular surface localization via a glycophosphatidylinositol linkage. Our results strongly suggest that the hagfish VLRB forms a previously unknown globular-shaped antibody. This novel identification of a structurally unusual VLRB complex may suggest that the adaptive immune system of hagfish differs from that of lamprey.
Scientific Reports: Volume 8