The thrombospondin type 1 repeat (TSR) is a functional module of proteins called TSR superfamily proteins (e.g., thrombospondin, F-spondin, mindin, etc.) and includes a conserved Trp-x-x-Trp (W-x-x-W) motif, in which the first Trp residue is preferably modified by C-mannosylation. We previously reported that synthesized C-mannosylated TSR-derived peptides (e.g., C-Man-WSPW) specifically enhanced lipopolysaccharide-induced signaling in macrophage-like RAW264.7 cells. In this study, we searched for the proteins that bind to C-mannosylated TSR-derived peptides in RAW264.7 cells and identified heat shock cognate protein 70 (Hsc70). The binding affinity of Hsc70 for C-mannosylated peptides in solution was higher than that for the peptides without C-mannose. The binding was influenced by a nucleotide-induced conformational change of Hsc70, and C-mannosylated peptides preferred the substrate-binding domain of Hsc70. Furthermore, in RAW264.7 cells, addition of Hsc70 stimulated cellular signaling to produce tumor necrosis factor-α, via transforming growth factor-β-activated kinase 1, and the Hsc70-induced signaling was enhanced more in the presence of the peptides with C-mannose than that without C-mannose, suggesting functional interaction between Hsc70 and the C-mannosylated peptides in the cells. Together, these results demonstrate a novel function of the C-mannosylation of TSR-derived peptides in terms of interaction with Hsc70 to regulate cellular signaling.
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