Toxicon, 15 September 2012, Vol.60(4), pp.632-647
Cobra Venom Factor (CVF) is the complement-activating protein in cobra venom. CVF is structurally and functionally highly homologous to complement component C3. CVF, like C3b, the activated form of C3, forms a bimolecular complex with Factor B in serum, called C3/C5 convertase, an enzyme which activates complement components C3 and C5. Despite the high degree of homology, the two C3/C5 convertases exhibit significant functional differences. The most important difference is that the convertase formed with CVF (CVF,Bb) is physico-chemically far more stable than the convertase formed with C3b (C3b,Bb). In addition, the CVF,Bb convertase and CVF are completely resistant to inactivation by the complement regulatory proteins Factor H and Factor I. Furthermore, the CVF,Bb enzyme shows efficient C5-cleaving activity in fluid phase. In contrast, the C3b,Bb enzyme is essentially devoid of fluid-phase C5-cleaving activity. By taking advantage of the high degree of sequence identity at both the amino acid (85%) and DNA levels (93%) between CVF and cobra C3, we created hybrid proteins of CVF and cobra C3 where sections, or only a few amino acids, of the CVF sequence were replaced with the homologous amino acid sequence of cobra C3. In a first set of experiments, we created five hybrid proteins, termed H1 through H5, where the cobra C3 substitutions collectively spanned the entire length of the CVF protein. We also created three additional hybrid proteins where only four or five amino acid residues in CVF were exchanged with the corresponding amino acid residues from cobra C3. Collectively, these hybrid proteins, representing loss-of-function mutants of CVF, allowed the identification of regions and individual amino acid residues important for the CVF-specific functions. The results include the observation that the CVF β-chain is crucially important for forming a stable convertase, whereas the CVF α-chain appears to harbor no CVF-specific functions. Furthermore, the CVF γ-chain is additionally important for the fluid-phase C5-cleaving activity of CVF,Bb. Interestingly, the structural changes in the individual hybrid proteins differentially affected the molecular functions of the CVF,Bb enzyme such as convertase formation, C3 cleavage, and C5 cleavage.
Cobra Venom Factor ; Complement ; Complement Component C3 ; C3 Convertase ; Hybrid Proteins ; Cobra (Naja Sp.) ; Pharmacy, Therapeutics, & Pharmacology ; Anatomy & Physiology
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