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Immunology. 2000 Sep;101(1):104-11.

Structure/function studies of human decay-accelerating factor.

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Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.


The decay-accelerating factor (DAF) contains four complement control protein repeats (CCPs) with a single N-linked glycan positioned between CCPs 1 and 2. In previous studies we found that the classical pathway regulatory activity of DAF resides in CCPs 2 and 3 while its alternative pathway regulatory activity resides in CCPs 2, 3 and 4. Molecular modelling of the protein predicted that a positively charged surface area on CCPs 2 and 3 (including KKK125-127) and nearby exposed hydrophobic residues (L147F148) on CCP3 may function as ligand-binding sites. To assess the roles of the N-linked glycan and the above two sets of amino acids in the function of DAF, we mutated N61 to Q, KKK125-127 to TTT and L147F148 to SS. Following expression of the mutated cDNAs in Chinese hamster ovary cells, the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored mutant proteins were affinity purified and their functions were assessed. In initial assays, the proteins were incorporated into sheep and rabbit erythrocytes and the effects of the mutations on regulation of classical and alternative C3 convertase activity were quantified by measuring C3b deposition. Since DAF also functions on C5 convertases, comparative haemolytic assays of cells bearing each mutant protein were performed. Finally, to establish if spatial orientation between DAF and the convertases on the cell surface played any role in the observed effects, fluid-phase C3a generation assays were performed. All three assays gave equivalent results and showed that the N-linked glycan of DAF is not involved in its regulatory function; that L147F148 in a hydrophobic area of CCP3 is essential in both classical and alternative pathway C3 convertase regulation; and that KKK125-127 in the positively charged pocket between CCPs 2 and 3 is necessary for the regulatory activity of DAF on the alternative pathway C3 convertase but plays a lesser role in its activity on the classical pathway enzyme.

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