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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of the Mr difference between secreted murine fourth component of complement and the major plasma form: evidence for carboxyl-terminal cleavage of the alpha chain.

The alpha-chain of murine fourth component of complement (C4) secreted by cells in vitro and in vivo has a Mr that is larger by approximately equal to 4,000 than that of the alpha-chain of the principal form of C4 in plasma. By using in vivo labeling of C4 with [35S]methionine, C4 was shown to be first synthesized with the higher Mr ("secreted") alpha-chain, which was then quickly processed (t1/2 approximately equal to 1 hr) extracellularly to the mature ("plasma") C4 possessing the lower Mr alpha-chain. Both forms of C4 were functional as assayed by the ability of their alpha-chains to be cleaved by the protease C1, to bind methylamine, and to undergo denaturation-dependent autolysis. When secreted C4 and plasma C4 were activated to C4b, the Mr difference of 4,000 was maintained in the alpha'-chains. The Mr difference was localized to the carboxyl-terminal autolytic fragment of the alpha-chain and was unaffected by the removal of carbohydrate. C4 from resident peritoneal macrophage cultures could be converted to the plasma form by incubation with heparin/plasma. This conversion could be blocked by EDTA or 1,10-phenanthroline. These data suggest that an enzyme, presumably a neutral proteinase present in mouse plasma, cleaves the carboxyl terminus of newly synthesized C4 alpha-chains, thereby creating the major form of C4 in plasma.[1]


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