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J Mol Biol. 2000 Sep 1;301(5):1267-85.

Conformational changes during the assembly of factor B from its domains by (1)H NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling: their relevance to the regulation of factor B activity.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Royal Free Campus, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, Rowland Hill Street, London, NW3 2PF, UK.


Factor B is a key component of the alternative pathway of complement and is cleaved by factor D into the Ba and Bb fragments in the presence of activated C3 (C3b or C3(H(2)O)). The Ba fragment contains three short consensus/complement repeat domains, while the Bb fragment contains a von Willebrand factor type A (vWF-A) domain and a serine protease (SP) domain, all three of which are implicated in multisite contacts with C3. The upfield-shifted signals in the (1)H NMR spectra of factor B, the Ba and Bb fragments, and the vWF-A and SP domains were used as sensitive conformational probes of their structures. Temperature studies and pH titrations showed that the Ba fragment and the vWF-A and SP domains had conformationally mobile structures. The comparison of the NMR spectra of the SP domains of both factor B and factor D showed that the factor D linewidths were broader than those for factor B, which may result from a range of proteolytically inactive conformations of factor D in the absence of substrate. The NMR spectra from the separate vWF-A and SP domains in combination with that of the Ba fragment generally accounted for that of intact factor B, apart from the perturbation of an upfield-shifted signal from the Ba fragment. A new upfield-shifted signal was observed in the Bb fragment that was not detected in the spectra for the vWF-A or SP domains or intact factor B. Ring current calculations based on homology models or crystal structures predicted that buried hydrophobic methyl-aromatic interactions probably accounted for the upfield-shifted signals, with many arising from the N-terminal subdomain of the SP domain to which the C terminus of the vWF-A domain is directly linked. It was concluded that: (1) the conformation of the free SP domain is better ordered in solution than that of factor D; (2) the conformation of the Ba fragment is affected by its incorporation into factor B; and (3) the proximity of the vWF-A and SP domains within the Bb fragment leads to a conformational change in which conserved charged residues may be important. Allosteric structural rearrangements in the SP domain as the result of its interactions with the vWF-A domain or the Ba fragment provide an explanation of the regulation of the catalytic activity of factor B.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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