Transmembrane Protein Aptamer Induces Cooperative Signaling by the EPO Receptor and the Cytokine Receptor β-Common Subunit

iScience. 2019 Jul 26:17:167-181. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.06.027. Epub 2019 Jun 21.


The erythropoietin receptor (EPOR) plays an essential role in erythropoiesis and other cellular processes by forming distinct signaling complexes composed of EPOR homodimers or hetero-oligomers between the EPOR and another receptor, but the mechanism of heteroreceptor assembly and signaling is poorly understood. We report here a 46-residue, artificial transmembrane protein aptamer, designated ELI-3, that binds and activates the EPOR and induces growth factor independence in murine BaF3 cells expressing the EPOR. ELI-3 requires the transmembrane domain and JAK2-binding sites of the EPOR for activity, but not the cytoplasmic tyrosines that mediate canonical EPOR signaling. Instead, ELI-3-induced proliferation and activation of JAK/STAT signaling requires the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of the cytokine receptor β-common subunit (βcR) in addition to the EPOR. Moreover, ELI-3 fails to induce erythroid differentiation of primary human hematopoietic progenitor cells but inhibits nonhematopoietic cell death induced by serum withdrawal.

Keywords: Biological Sciences; Cell Biology; Functional Aspects of Cell Biology.