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Eur J Hum Genet. 2005 Mar;13(3):321-9.

FHR-4A: a new factor H-related protein is encoded by the human FHR-4 gene.

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Department of Infection Biology, Hans Knöll Institute for Natural Products Research, Jena, Germany.


We describe a new member of the human Factor H protein family, termed Factor H-related protein 4A (FHR-4A). The corresponding cDNA sequence was isolated and encodes a secreted protein of 559 amino acids, with a predicted molecular weight of 63.2 kDa. Apparently, this novel cDNA is derived from the human FHR-4 gene. Genetic analysis shows that the human FHR-4 gene is composed of 10 coding exons, and two distinct mRNA transcripts are derived from this gene by alternative splicing. The short FHR-4B form represents a truncated variant and encodes a secreted protein of five domains (previously termed FHR-4). The long transcript encodes the novel FHR-4A protein that is composed of nine complement control protein (CCP) domains. A unique feature of FHR-4A is the tandem arrangement of four CCP domains forming a 'natural dimer' of the short isoform. The FHR-4A protein is identified in human plasma as a 86 kDa protein. The difference between the predicted and observed molecular masses is explained by glycosylation. Comparison of the deduced protein sequence of FHR-4A with peptides from a 86 kDa apolipoprotein described by us earlier suggests that the long form, FHR-4A, represents this apoprotein. In summary, FHR-4A is a new Factor H-related protein with a unique domain composition, that is, an internal duplication of four CCP domains. To our knowledge, FHR-4A provides the first evidence for alternative splicing among Factor H-related genes.

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