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Biochemistry. 1997 Aug 5;36(31):9423-8.

Mapping the regions of the complement inhibitor CD59 responsible for its species selective activity.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, New York University Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, New York, New York 10016, USA.


CD59 is a widely distributed membrane-bound glycoprotein that inhibits the formation of the cytolytic membrane attack complex (MAC) of complement on host cells. CD59 from different species varies in its capacity to inhibit heterologous complement, and this species selective function of CD59 contributes to the phenomenon of homologous restriction. Here, we demonstrate that human CD59 is not an effective inhibitor of rat complement, although rat CD59 inhibits rat and human complement equally well. By constructing human-rat CD59 chimeric proteins, we have mapped the residues important in conferring human CD59 species selectivity to two regions; 40-47 and 47-66 in the primary structure. Analysis of a model of the molecular surface of human CD59 revealed that residues 40-66 mapped to a region in the three-dimensional structure that surrounds residues previously identified as important for CD59 function.

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