Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochem J. 1990 Jan 15;265(2):495-502.

The complement component C4 of mammals.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, U.K.


Human complement component C4 is coded by tandem genes located in the HLA class III region. The products of the two genes, C4A and C4B, are different in their activity. This difference is due to a degree of 'substrate' specificity in the covalent binding reactions of the two isotypes. Mouse also has a duplicated locus, but only one gene produces active C4, while the other codes for the closely related sex-limited protein (Slp). In order to gain some insight into the evolutionary history of the duplicated C4 locus, we have purified C4 from a number of other mammalian species, and tested their binding specificities. Like man, chimpanzee and rhesus monkey appear to produce two C4 types with reactivities similar to C4A and C4B. Rat, guinea pig, whale, rabbit, dog and pig each expresses C4 with a single binding specificity, which is C4B-like. Sheep and cattle express two C4 types, one C4B-like, the other C4A-like, in their binding properties. These results suggest that more than one locus may be present in these species. If this is so, then the duplication of the C4 locus is either very ancient, having occurred before the divergence of the modern mammals, or there have been three separate duplication events in the lines leading to the primates, rodents and ungulates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center