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Structural basis for engagement by complement factor H of C3b on a self surface

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David KavanaghORCiD


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Complement factor H (FH) attenuates C3b molecules tethered by their thioester domains to self surfaces and thereby protects host tissues. Factor H is a cofactor for initial C3b proteolysis that ultimately yields a surface-attached fragment (C3d) corresponding to the thioester domain. We used NMR and X-ray crystallography to study the C3d-FH19-20 complex in atomic detail and identify glycosaminoglycan-binding residues in factor H module 20 of the C3d-FH19-20 complex. Mutagenesis justified the merging of the C3d-FH19-20 structure with an existing C3b-FH1-4 crystal structure. We concatenated the merged structure with the available FH6-8 crystal structure and new SAXS-derived FH1-4, FH8-15 and FH15-19 envelopes. The combined data are consistent with a bent-back factor H molecule that binds through its termini to two sites on one C3b molecule and simultaneously to adjacent polyanionic host-surface markers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Morgan HP, Schmidt CO, Guariento M, Blaum BS, Gillespie D, Herbert AP, Kavanagh D, Mertens HD, Svergun DI, Johansson CM, Uhrin D, Barlow PN, Hannan JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

Year: 2011

Volume: 18

Issue: 4

Pages: 463-470

Print publication date: 13/02/2011

ISSN (print): 1545-9993

ISSN (electronic): 1545-9985

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.2018

PubMed id: 21317894


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Funder referenceFunder name
EastChem PhD studentship
Wellcome Trust
Scottish University Life Sciences Alliance
UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
University of Edinburgh
078780/Z/05/ZWellcome Trust
081179Wellcome Trust