Characterization of cDNA and genomic sequences encoding rabbit ELAM-1: conservation of structure and functional interactions with leukocytes.
Endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 (ELAM-1) is a cytokine-inducible endothelial cell surface glycoprotein involved in the adherence of neutrophils. ELAM-1 belongs to the selectin family of cell-surface molecules characterized by the general structure of an amino-terminal lectin domain followed by an epidermal growth factor domain, a variable number of complement regulatory elements, a single transmembrane sequence, and a short cytoplasmic tail. To study the in vivo regulation and expression of ELAM-1, we have isolated a complementary DNA (cDNA) clone encoding the rabbit homolog of human ELAM-1. The nucleotide sequence of the rabbit cDNA as well as its deduced amino acid sequence display extensive conservation compared to the human sequences. Rabbit ELAM-1 contains the characteristic protein domain organization of the selectin gene family and shares 74% amino acid identity with its human counterpart. However, rabbit ELAM-1 contains five complement regulatory elements whereas the human protein has six of these elements. Characterization of the genomic sequence encoding rabbit ELAM-1 indicated that individual extracellular protein domains are encoded by distinct exons. The genomic organization of rabbit ELAM-1 parallels that found for the human ELAM-1 gene and is similar to the pattern observed for other selectin family members (GMP-140, Lam-1), consistent with the hypothesis that the selectins evolved by duplication and rearrangement of individual exons. COS cells transiently expressing the rabbit ELAM-1 cDNA mediate the adhesion of rabbit and human polymorphonuclear leukocytes and are recognized by antibodies prepared against the human protein. Our results suggest that the specificity of molecular interaction between ELAM-1 and its ligand is highly conserved.