Previous studies have shown that loss of terminal sialic acid causes enhanced von Willebrand factor (VWF) clearance through the Ashwell-Morrell receptor (AMR). In this study, we investigated (1) the specific importance of N- vs O-linked sialic acid in protecting against VWF clearance and (2) whether additional receptors contribute to the reduced half-life of hyposialylated VWF. α2-3-linked sialic acid accounts for <20% of total sialic acid and is predominantly expressed on VWF O-glycans. Nevertheless, specific digestion with α2-3 neuraminidase (α2-3Neu-VWF) was sufficient to cause markedly enhanced VWF clearance. Interestingly, in vivo clearance experiments in dual VWF-/-/Asgr1-/- mice demonstrated enhanced clearance of α2-3Neu-VWF even in the absence of the AMR. The macrophage galactose-type lectin (MGL) is a C-type lectin that binds to glycoproteins expressing terminal N-acetylgalactosamine or galactose residues. Importantly, the markedly enhanced clearance of hyposialylated VWF in VWF-/-/Asgr1-/- mice was significantly attenuated in the presence of an anti-MGL inhibitory antibody. Furthermore, dose-dependent binding of human VWF to purified recombinant human MGL was confirmed using surface plasmon resonance. Additionally, plasma VWF:Ag levels were significantly elevated in MGL1-/- mice compared with controls. Collectively, these findings identify MGL as a novel macrophage receptor for VWF that significantly contributes to the clearance of both wild-type and hyposialylated VWF.
© 2018 by The American Society of Hematology.