The secondary structure of the von Willebrand factor type A domain in factor B of human complement by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Its occurrence in collagen types VI, VII, XII and XIV, the integrins and other proteins by averaged structure predictions

J Mol Biol. 1994 Apr 22;238(1):104-19. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.1994.1271.


The type A domain of the von Willebrand Factor is found also in the complement proteins factor B (FB), C2, CR3 and CR4, the integrins, collagen types VI, VII, XII and XIV, and other proteins. FB is a component of the alternative pathway of the complement system of immune defence, and is cleaved into the fragments Bb and Ba during complement activation. Bb contains a von Willebrand Factor type A (vWF) domain of unknown secondary structure and a serine proteinase (SP) domain, whereas Ba contains three short consensus repeat/complement control protein (SCR/CCP) domains. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy on a recombinant vWF domain and on FB and its Bb and Ba fragments shows a broad amide I band. In H2O buffer, second derivative spectra of the amide I band show subcomponents at 1654 to 1657 cm-1, which is typical of alpha-helix, and at 1676 to 1685 cm-1 and 1636 to 1637 cm-1, which are typical of beta-strand. alpha-Helix was detected in the vWF domain, the Bb fragment and FB, and the proportion of alpha-helix present decreased in that order. This shows that the vWF domain contains appreciable amounts of alpha-helix, while the SP and SCR/CCP domains are almost entirely beta-sheet in their secondary structures. Quantitative integration of the vWF FT-IR spectrum showed that this contained 31% alpha-helix and 36% beta-sheet. In 2H2O buffer, the alpha-helix content in the vWF domain is sensitive to the solvent, while the beta-sheet content is less so. An alignment of 75 vWF type A sequences from 25 proteins was used for averaged secondary structure predictions of the total length of 206 residues by the Robson and Chou-Fasman methods. In support of the FT-IR analysis, a total of at least five well-predicted alpha-helices (35% of residues) and at least five well-predicted beta-strands (21% of residues) were identified by both predictive methods, all of which were interspersed by regions of coil or turn conformations. Eight of the ten predicted alpha-helices and beta-strands form an alternating arrangement with each other. Since the predicted alpha-helices are mostly amphipathic, and since the alpha-helix FT-IR band is sensitive to solvent, the alpha-helices are inferred to be on the protein surface.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Collagen / chemistry
  • Complement Factor B / chemistry*
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Integrins / chemistry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Secondary*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • von Willebrand Factor / chemistry*


  • COL14A1 protein, human
  • Glycoproteins
  • Integrins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Collagen
  • Complement Factor B