Nectin and nectin-like proteins are cell adhesion molecules that mediate the formation of cell adherens junctions by forming homo- or hetero-dimers. Some members of this protein family can also be used by immune receptors to mediate immune recognition. For instance, nectin-like 2 (Necl-2) is used as a ligand for the immune system by interaction with the immune receptor CRTAM (class-I MHC restricted T-cell associated molecule), which is mainly expressed on the surface of cytotoxic lymphocyte cells. However, the Necl-2/CRTAM binding mode and its relationship to cell adhesion are not known. Here, we report a Necl-2/CRTAM complex structure, demonstrating that Necl-2 binding to CRTAM competes with the dimerization of CRTAM and possibly Necl-2. Necl-2 occupies the CRTAM homodimer interface, making homodimerization impossible. Mutational and functional analyses identified key amino acids (double "lock-and-key") responsible for the binding. Our work illustrates how the cell adhesion molecule Necl-2 competitively binds the immune receptor CRTAM. Otherwise, the nectin proteins can also be employed as the virus receptors, such as herpes simplex virus and measles virus.
- Copyright © 2013 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.