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Publication Detail
Two distinct conformations of factor H regulate discrete complement-binding functions in the fluid phase and at cell surfaces.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Osborne AJ, Nan R, Miller A, Bhatt JS, Gor J, Perkins SJ
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    J Biol Chem
  • Status:
    Published online
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    C3b activity, X-ray scattering, analytical ultracentrifugation, complement, immune system, innate immunity, molecular modeling, solution structure, surface plasmon resonance (SPR)
Factor H (FH) is the major regulator of C3b in the alternative pathway of the complement system in immunity. FH comprises 20 short complement regulator (SCR) domains, including eight glycans, and its Y402H polymorphism predisposes those who carry it for age-related macular degeneration. To better understand FH complement binding and self-association, we have studied the solution structures of both the His402 and Tyr402 FH allotypes. Analytical ultracentrifugation revealed that up to 12% of both FH allotypes self-associate, and this was confirmed by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), mass spectrometry and surface plasmon resonance analyses. SAXS showed that monomeric FH has a radius of gyration Rg of 7.2-7.8 nm and a length of 25 nm. Starting from known structures for the SCR domains and glycans, the SAXS data were fitted using Monte Carlo methods to determine atomistic structures for monomeric FH. The analysis of 29,715 physically realistic but randomised FH conformations resulted in 100 similar best-fit FH structures for each allotype. Two distinct molecular structures resulted that showed either an extended N-terminal domain arrangement with a folded-back C-terminus, or an extended C-terminus and folded-back N-terminus. These two structures are the most accurate to date for glycosylated full-length FH. To clarify FH functional roles in host protection, crystal structures for the FH complexes with C3b and C3dg revealed that the extended N-terminal conformation accounted for C3b fluid phase regulation, the extended C-terminal conformation accounted for C3d binding, and both conformations accounted for bivalent FH binding to glycosaminoglycans on the target cell surface.
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