Carbohydrate-binding specificities of mouse ficolin A, a splicing variant of ficolin A and ficolin B and their complex formation with MASP-2 and sMAP

Immunogenetics. 2005 Dec;57(11):837-44. doi: 10.1007/s00251-005-0058-1. Epub 2005 Nov 22.


Ficolins are a group of proteins mainly consisting of collagen-like and fibrinogen-like domains and are thought to play a role in innate immunity via their carbohydrate-binding activities. Two types of ficolins have been identified in mice, ficolin A, and ficolin B. However, their structure and function are not fully understood. In this study, we isolated the cDNA encoding a novel variant of ficolin A having a shorter collagen-like domain and a longer gap sequence, which was generated from the ficolin A gene by alternative splicing. We delineated the structure and function of mouse ficolins, including this splicing variant, by preparing the respective recombinants. Recombinant ficolin A, its splicing variant, and ficolin B showed multimeric structures and revealed binding to both N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylgalactosamine. Interestingly, ficolin B specifically recognized sialic acid residues. Ficolin A and its variant, but not ficolin B, bound to mannose-binding lectin (MBL)-associated serine protease-2 (Masp-2) and small MBL-associated protein (smap), and the resulting complexes showed a potent complement activating capacity. In addition, smap competed with Masp-2 in association with ficolin A and its variant, and inhibited the complement activation by the ficolin A (or ficolin A variant)/MASP-2 complex, indicating its regulatory role in the lectin pathway. These results suggest that ficolin A and its variant function as recognition molecules of the lectin pathway, and ficolin B plays a distinct role through its unique carbohydrate-binding specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Complement Activation*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lectins / chemistry
  • Lectins / genetics
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Mannose-Binding Protein-Associated Serine Proteases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Lectins
  • ficolin
  • Kifap3 protein, mouse
  • MASP-2 protein, mouse
  • Mannose-Binding Protein-Associated Serine Proteases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB222271