Molecular interactions of the neuronal GPI-anchored lipocalin Lazarillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lazarillo, a glycoprotein involved in axon growth and guidance in the grasshopper embryo, is the only member of the lipocalin family that is attached to the cell surface by a GPI anchor. Recently, the study of Lazarillo homologous genes in Drosophila and mouse has revealed new functions in the regulation of lifespan, stress resistance and neurodegeneration. Here we report an analysis of biochemical properties of Lazarillo to gain insight into the molecular basis of its physiological function. Recombinant forms of the grasshopper protein were expressed in two different systems to test: (1) potential binding of several hydrophobic ligands; (2) protein-protein homophilic interactions; and (3) whether interaction with the function-blocking mAb 10E6 interferes with ligand binding. We tested 10 candidate ligands (retinoic acid, heme, bilirubin, biliverdin, ecdysterone, juvenile hormone, farnesol, arachidonic acid, linoleic acid and palmitic acid), and monitored binding using electrophoretic mobility shift, absorbance spectrum, and fluorimetry assays. Our work indicates binding to heme and retinoic acid, resulting in increased electrophoretic mobility, as well as to fatty acids, resulting in multimerization. Retinoic acid and fatty acids binding were confirmed by fluorescence titration, and heme binding was confirmed with absorbance spectrum assays. We demonstrate that Lazarillo oligomerizes in solution and can form clusters in the plasma membrane when expressed and GPI-anchored to the cell surface, however it is unable to mediate cell-cell adhesion. Finally, by ligand-mAb competition experiments we show that ligand-binding alone cannot be the key factor for Lazarillo to perform its function during axonal growth in the grasshopper embryo. Copyright (C) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Diego Sanchez
  • Sara Ortega-Cubero
  • Bo Åkerström
  • Macarena Herrera
  • Michael J. Bastiani
  • Maria D. Ganfornina
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine


  • lipid-binding, insect hormones, fatty acids, heme, grasshopper, retinoic acid
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-322
JournalJournal of Molecular Recognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch