Factor H (FH) is a central complement regulator comprised of 20 short complement repeat (SCR) domains. Nucleotide changes within this gene (CFH) have been observed in patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and also membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis and age-related macular degeneration. All parts of FH are affected, but many mutations are clustered in the C-terminal part of FH. Up to now, structural analyses of HUS have been based on SCR-20, a domain that is involved in FH interactions with C3b, heparin, and endothelial cells. In order to identify the structural and functional consequence of HUS mutations, further disease-associated mutations were analyzed in terms of homology and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) models for factor H SCR domains. An interactive web database of 54 human HUS-associated mutations and others was created from the literature (www.FH-HUS.org). This has comprehensive search and analysis tools, integrating phenotypic and genetic data with structural analysis. Each mutation can be highlighted on the SCR structure together with the patient FH and C3 levels where available. Two new insights were obtained from our collection of data. First, phenotypic data on FH clarify our previously-proposed classification of Type I and Type II disorders that both lead to HUS, where Type I affects FH secretion and folding, and Type II leads to expressed protein in plasma that is functionally defective. Second, the new mutations show more clearly that SCR domains from SCR-16 to SCR-19 are important for the ligand binding activities of FH as well as SCR-20. This FH web database will facilitate the interpretation of new mutations and polymorphisms when these are identified in patients, and it will clarify the functional role of FH.
2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.