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Immunogenetics. 2003 Dec;55(9):615-28. Epub 2003 Nov 20.

Complete sequencing and expression of three complement components, C1r, C4 and C1 inhibitor, of the classical activation pathway of the complement system in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss.

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  • 1Scottish Fish Immunology Research Centre, University of Aberdeen, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue, AB24 2TZ, Aberdeen, UK.


Three complement components, C1r, C4 and C1 inhibitor, of the classical activation pathway have been fully sequenced and their expression investigated in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Trout C1r cDNA encodes a 707-amino-acid (aa) protein with a theoretical M(r) of 77,200. The trout translation shows highest homology with carp C1r/s, and lower, equal homologies to mammalian C1r and C1s, and MASPs from other vertebrate species. However, phylogenetic analysis and structural features suggest that the trout sequence, together with the two carp sequences, are the orthologues of mammalian C1r. The trout C4 cDNA encodes a 1,724-aa protein with a theoretical M(r) of 192,600. The trout translation shows higher homologies to the carp C4B and medaka C4, but lower homologies to C4 from other species and the carp C4A. It has a predicted signal peptide of 22 aa, a alpha-chain of 773 aa, a beta-chain of 635 aa and a lambda-chain of 288 aa. Trout C1 inhibitor cDNA encodes a 611-aa protein with a theoretical M(r) of 68,700. The trout translation has a C-terminal serpin domain with high homologies with mammalian counterparts (~37% identities), and a longer N-terminus, with no significant homology to other serpins, which contains two Ig-like domains. A molecule containing two Ig-like domains followed by a serpin domain, has also been found in an EST clone from another bony fish, the Japanese flounder. This suggests a unique structural feature of C1 inhibitor in fish. The functional significance of the Ig domains is discussed. The liver is the major site of expression of the three trout complement components, C1r, C4 and C1 inhibitor, although their expression is also detectable in other tissues. The extra-hepatic expression of complement genes may be important for local protection and inflammatory responses. Low-level constitutive expression of the three components was also detectable in a trout monocyte/macrophage cell line RTS-11, but only the expression of C4 could be upregulated by LPS.

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