A Dimerization Site at SCR-17/18 in Factor H Clarifies a New Mechanism for Complement Regulatory Control

Orla M. Dunne, Xin Gao, Ruodan Nan, Jayesh Gor, Penelope J. Adamson, David L. Gordon, Martine Moulin, Michael Haertlein, V. Trevor Forsyth, Stephen J. Perkins

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Abstract

Complement Factor H (CFH), with 20 short complement regulator (SCR) domains, regulates the alternative pathway of complement in part through the interaction of its C-terminal SCR-19 and SCR-20 domains with host cell-bound C3b and anionic oligosaccharides. In solution, CFH forms small amounts of oligomers, with one of its self-association sites being in the SCR-16/20 domains. In order to correlate CFH function with dimer formation and the occurrence of rare disease-associated variants in SCR-16/20, we identified the dimerization site in SCR-16/20. For this, we expressed, in Pichia pastoris, the five domains in SCR-16/20 and six fragments of this with one-three domains (SCR-19/20, SCR-18/20, SCR-17/18, SCR-16/18, SCR-17 and SCR-18). Size-exclusion chromatography suggested that SCR dimer formation occurred in several fragments. Dimer formation was clarified using analytical ultracentrifugation, where quantitative c(s) size distribution analyses showed that SCR-19/20 was monomeric, SCR-18/20 was slightly dimeric, SCR-16/20, SCR-16/18 and SCR-18 showed more dimer formation, and SCR-17 and SCR-17/18 were primarily dimeric with dissociation constants of ~5 µM. The combination of these results located the SCR-16/20 dimerization site at SCR-17 and SCR-18. X-ray solution scattering experiments and molecular modelling fits confirmed the dimer site to be at SCR-17/18, this dimer being a side-by-side association of the two domains. We propose that the self-association of CFH at SCR-17/18 enables higher concentrations of CFH to be achieved when SCR-19/20 are bound to host cell surfaces in order to protect these better during inflammation. Dimer formation at SCR-17/18 clarified the association of genetic variants throughout SCR-16/20 with renal disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number601895
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • analytical ultracentrifugation
  • complement factor H
  • inflammation
  • molecular modelling
  • X-ray scattering

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