TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) is a TNF superfamily member implicated in several mechanisms. Although fibroblast growth factor inducible 14 (Fn14)/TweakR has been reported as its receptor, an as yet unrecognized surface molecule(s) might modulate TWEAK function(s). Thus, we set out to identify TWEAK-binding proteins by screening a combinatorial peptide library. Cyclic peptides containing a consensus motif (WXDDG) bound to TWEAK specifically. These peptides were similar to CD163, a scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domain family member, restricted to the monocyte/ macrophage lineage and responsible for the uptake of circulating haptoglobin-hemoglobin (Hp-Hb) complexes. Sequence profile analysis suggested that TWEAK mimicked the CD163 natural ligand (Hp-Hb). Consistently, we show dose-dependent TWEAK binding to CD163 and blockade by an anti-CD163 Ab. In a competition assay, both soluble CD163 and Fn14/ TweakR were able to compete off TWEAK binding to coated Fn14/TweakR or CD163, respectively. Flow-cytometry and immunofluorescence assays showed that human monocytes (Fn14/TweakR negative and CD163 positive) bind TWEAK, thus blocking the recognition of CD163 and reducing the activation mediated by a specific mAb in these cells. We demonstrate that monocytes can sequester TWEAK from supernatants, thus preventing tumor cell apoptosis; this effect was reverted by preincubation with the peptide mimicking CD163 or with a mAb anti-CD163, indicating specificity. Finally, we show that recombinant human TWEAK binding to CD163-transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells is inhibited by the presence of either unlabeled TWEAK or the Hp-Hb complex. Together, these data are consistent with the hypothesis that CD163 either acts as a TWEAK scavenger in pathological conditions or serves as an alternate receptor for TWEAK in cells lacking Fn14/TweakR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy