The monocyte differentiation antigen, CD14, is anchored to the cell membrane by a phosphatidylinositol linkage

J Immunol. 1988 Jul 15;141(2):547-52.


CD14 is a myeloid differentiation Ag expressed primarily on peripheral blood monocytes and macrophages. Although its function is unknown, the CD14 gene maps to a region encoding several myeloid growth factors and receptors. Analysis of the CD14 protein sequence deduced from the cDNA shows that although the CD14 protein contains a characteristic leader peptide, it lacks a characteristic transmembrane region, suggesting that CD14 may be anchored to the membrane via glycosylphosphatidylinositol (PI). Treatment of monocytes as well as a CD14-expressing neuroglioma cell line with PI-phospholipase C removed CD14 from the cell surface. Furthermore, monocytes from a patient with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a disease characterized by lack of expression of other PI-linked proteins, failed to express CD14. Interestingly, the CD14-expressing neuroglioma cell line, which had been transfected with a single CD14 cDNA, released a soluble form of CD14 into the supernatant. Soluble forms of CD14 have previously been observed in serum of normal individuals and in culture supernatants of CD14+ cells. Biosynthetic experiments reveal that this soluble form of CD14 (48 kDa), which is smaller than the form released from the membrane by PI-phospholipase C (53 kDa), does not contain ethanolamine, the first constitutent of the PI-anchoring system. These studies demonstrate that CD14 is a member of the family of PI-anchored proteins and suggest that soluble forms of CD14 represent molecules that completely lack the PI-anchoring system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antigens, Differentiation / isolation & purification*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Lipids / immunology*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositols / immunology*
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Protein Conformation
  • Type C Phospholipases


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Type C Phospholipases