Sickle red cells bind significant amounts of soluble laminin, whereas normal red cells do not. Solid phase assays demonstrate that B-CAM/LU binds laminin on intact sickle red cells and that red cell B-CAM/LU binds immobilized laminin, whereas another putative laminin binding protein, CD44, does not. Ligand blots also identify B-CAM/LU as the only erythrocyte membrane protein(s) that binds laminin. Finally, transfection of murine erythroleukemia cells with human B-CAM cDNA induces binding of both soluble and immobilized laminin. Thus, B-CAM/LU appears to be the major laminin- binding protein of sickle red cells. Previously reported overexpression of B- CAM/LU by epithelial cancer cells suggests that this protein may also serve as a laminin receptor in malignant tumors.
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