Proteomics-based screening of the endothelial heparan sulfate interactome reveals that C-type lectin 14a (CLEC14A) is a heparin-binding protein

J Biol Chem. 2020 Feb 28;295(9):2804-2821. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.011639. Epub 2020 Jan 21.


Animal cells express heparan sulfate proteoglycans that perform many important cellular functions by way of heparan sulfate-protein interactions. The identification of membrane heparan sulfate-binding proteins is challenging because of their low abundance and the need for extensive enrichment. Here, we report a proteomics workflow for the identification and characterization of membrane-anchored and extracellular proteins that bind heparan sulfate. The technique is based on limited proteolysis of live cells in the absence of denaturation and fixation, heparin-affinity chromatography, and high-resolution LC-MS/MS, and we designate it LPHAMS. Application of LPHAMS to U937 monocytic and primary murine and human endothelial cells identified 55 plasma membrane, extracellular matrix, and soluble secreted proteins, including many previously unidentified heparin-binding proteins. The method also facilitated the mapping of the heparin-binding domains, making it possible to predict the location of the heparin-binding site. To validate the discovery feature of LPHAMS, we characterized one of the newly-discovered heparin-binding proteins, C-type lectin 14a (CLEC14A), a member of the C-type lectin family that modulates angiogenesis. We found that the C-type lectin domain of CLEC14A binds one-to-one to heparin with nanomolar affinity, and using molecular modeling and mutagenesis, we mapped its heparin-binding site. CLEC14A physically interacted with other glycosaminoglycans, including endothelial heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate E, but not with neutral or sialylated oligosaccharides. The LPHAMS technique should be applicable to other cells and glycans and provides a way to expand the repertoire of glycan-binding proteins for further study.

Keywords: C-type lectin 14a (CLEC14A); LPHAMS; endothelium; extracellular matrix; glycosaminoglycan; heparan sulfate; heparin; heparin-binding protein; proteomics; vascular biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium / chemistry*
  • Endothelium / cytology
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • U937 Cells


  • CLEC14A protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Clec14a protein, mouse
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Heparitin Sulfate

Associated data

  • PDB/5ZE3
  • PDB/2OUJ
  • PDB/2NWG
  • PDB/5VZ3
  • PDB/4WNX
  • PDB/3wbq
  • PDB/3ALS
  • PDB/1GZ2
  • PDB/5K8Y
  • PDB/5AO6
  • PDB/4MTH