Topological mapping of complement component C9 by recombinant DNA techniques suggests a novel mechanism for its insertion into target membranes.

K. K. Stanley, J. Herz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations


cDNA molecules coding for mouse and trout C9 have been isolated and the derived amino acid sequences compared with that of human C9. Regions of high homology between the closely related species (mouse and human) correlate with putative domains in the protein structure supporting a model of C9 having five globular domains. Comparison between the more distant species (trout and human) suggests regions of particular importance to C9 structure and function. In addition the three related sequences allow the secondary structure to be predicted with more confidence and we have tested the prediction by mapping surface features of the protein. Reported here is a recombinant DNA approach to fine mapping of antibody epitopes. Two of the putative domains of C9 are connected by a stretch of about 40 amino acid residues in which features characteristic of individual conformational forms of C9 are concentrated. We suggest that this region might act as a hinge allowing the rearrangement of globular domains necessary for membrane insertion. In the membrane inserting domain one highly conserved sequence has the potential to form an amphipathic alpha-helix once it is buried in the lipid bilayer. These features suggest a novel mechanism for the irreversible, post-translational insertion of C9 into target membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1951-1957
Number of pages7
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics

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