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J Biol Chem. 2010 Mar 12;285(11):8234-43. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.065805. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

A novel mannose-binding lectin/ficolin-associated protein is highly expressed in heart and skeletal muscle tissues and inhibits complement activation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Department of Clinical Immunology, Rigshospitalet, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Hospital of Copenhagen, DK 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


The human lectin complement pathway involves circulating complexes consisting of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) or three ficolins (ficolin-1, -2, and -3) in association with three MBL/ficolin-associated serine proteases (MASP) (MASP-1, -2, and -3) and a nonenzymatic sMAP. MASP-1 and MASP-3 (MASP1 isoforms 1 and 2, respectively) are splice variants of the MASP1 gene, whereas MASP-2 and sMAP are splice variants of the MASP2 gene. We have identified a novel serum protein of 45 kDa that is associated with MBL and the ficolins. This protein is named MBL/ficolin-associated protein 1 (MAP-1 corresponding to MASP1 isoform 3). The transcript generating MAP-1 (MASP1_v3) contains exons 1-8 and a novel exon encoding an in-frame stop codon. The corresponding protein lacks the serine protease domains but contains most of the common heavy chain of MASP-1 and MASP-3. Additionally MAP-1 contains 17 unique C-terminal amino acids. By use of quantitative PCR and MAP-1-specific immunohistochemistry, we found that MAP-1 is highly expressed in myocardial and skeletal muscle tissues as well as in liver hepatocytes with a different expression profile than that observed for MASP-1 and MASP-3. MAP-1 co-precipitated from human serum with MBL, ficolin-2, and ficolin-3, and recombinant MAP-1 was able to inhibit complement C4 deposition via both the ficolin-3 and MBL pathway. In conclusion we have identified a novel 45-kDa serum protein derived from the MASP1 gene, which is highly expressed in striated muscle tissues. It is found in complex with MBL and ficolins and may function as a potent inhibitor of the complement system in vivo.

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