Human diamine oxidase cellular binding and internalization in vitro and rapid clearance in vivo are not mediated by N-glycans but by heparan sulfate proteoglycan interactions

Glycobiology. 2021 May 3;31(4):444-458. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwaa090.


Human diamine oxidase (hDAO) rapidly inactivates histamine by deamination. No pharmacokinetic data are available to better understand its potential as a new therapeutic modality for diseases with excess local and systemic histamine, like anaphylaxis, urticaria or mastocytosis. After intravenous administration of recombinant hDAO to rats and mice, more than 90% of the dose disappeared from the plasma pool within 10 min. Human DAO did not only bind to various endothelial and epithelial cell lines in vitro, but was also unexpectedly internalized and visible in granule-like structures. The uptake of rhDAO into cells was dependent on neither the asialoglycoprotein-receptor (ASGP-R) nor the mannose receptor (MR) recognizing terminal galactose or mannose residues, respectively. Competition experiments with ASGP-R and MR ligands did not block internalization in vitro or rapid clearance in vivo. The lack of involvement of N-glycans was confirmed by testing various glycosylation mutants. High but not low molecular weight heparin strongly reduced the internalization of rhDAO in HepG2 cells and HUVECs. Human DAO was readily internalized by CHO-K1 cells, but not by the glycosaminoglycan- and heparan sulfate-deficient CHO cell lines pgsA-745 and pgsD-677, respectively. A docked heparin hexasaccharide interacted well with the predicted heparin binding site 568RFKRKLPK575. These results strongly imply that rhDAO clearance in vivo and cellular uptake in vitro is independent of N-glycan interactions with the classical clearance receptors ASGP-R and MR, but is mediated by binding to heparan sulfate proteoglycans followed by internalization via an unknown receptor.

Keywords: cellular internalization; heparan sulfate proteoglycans; heparin; human diamine oxidase; in vivo clearance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amine Oxidase (Copper-Containing)* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans*
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Rats


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • Amine Oxidase (Copper-Containing)