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Two new crystal structures of the extracellular hyaluronan-binding domain of human CD44 are described at high resolution. A hexagonal crystal form at 1.60 Å resolution and a monoclinic form at 1.08 Å resolution both have two molecules in the asymmetric unit arranged about a similar noncrystallographic twofold axis of symmetry. These structures are compared with those previously reported at 2.20 Å resolution to show that the fold is quite resistant to structural deformation in different crystal environments. Unexpectedly, a short peptide is found in the monoclinic crystals at a site remote from the known hyaluronan-binding groove. The peptide with a valine at the carboxy-terminus must have co-purified from the bacterial expression host and binds on the opposite side of the domain from the known hyaluronan-binding groove. This opportunistic binding may identify a site of interaction used as CD44 assembles with other proteins to accomplish effective signaling regarding changes to the extracellular environment.

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