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Mol Immunol. 2008 Mar;45(6):1623-32. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Comparative study of the human ficolins reveals unique features of Ficolin-3 (Hakata antigen).

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Department of Clinical Immunology, Section 7631, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


The ficolins and mannose-binding lectin (MBL) are collagen-like defence proteins that serve as recognition molecules in lectin complement pathway. Differential features that may indicate diverse functions of these proteins are poorly understood. In this study we compared important biological features of the ficolins and MBL. We investigated the tissue distribution of the FCN1-3 and the MBL2 genes encoding the ficolins and MBL by quantitative PCR. Recombinant proteins were produced and structural and biological characteristics were investigated and compared. Our main findings were that FCN3 mRNA was highly expressed in the liver and lung compared with the other genes revealing the lung as the tissue with the highest FCN3 expression pattern. Ficolin-3 revealed higher complement activating capacity compared with Ficolin-2, MBL and Ficolin-1 and was highly resistant to bacterial collagenase treatment, which is different from the other ficolins and MBL. We discovered several unique properties of Ficolin-3 showing that FCN3 is the most highly expressed gene in liver and lung among the lectin complement pathway initiators. Moreover, Ficolin-3 has a high complement activating potential and is the only collagenase proteolytic resistant molecule among the lectin complement pathway initiators.

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