Structural investigation of C4b-binding protein by molecular modeling: localization of putative binding sites

Proteins. 1998 Jun 1;31(4):391-405. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0134(19980601)31:4<391::aid-prot6>;2-l.


C4b-binding protein (C4BP) contributes to the regulation of the classical pathway of the complement system and plays an important role in blood coagulation. The main human C4BP isoform is composed of one beta-chain and seven alpha-chains essentially built from three and eight complement control protein (CCP) modules, respectively, followed by a nonrepeat carboxy-terminal region involved in polymerization of the chains. C4BP is known to interact with heparin, C4b, complement factor I, serum amyloid P component, streptococcal Arp and Sir proteins, and factor VIII/VIIIa via its alpha-chains and with protein S through its beta-chain. The principal aim of the present study was to localize regions of C4BP involved in the interaction with C4b, Arp, and heparin. For this purpose, a computer model of the 8 CCP modules of C4BP alpha-chain was constructed, taking into account data from previous electron microscopy (EM) studies. This structure was investigated in the context of known and/or new experimental data. Analysis of the alpha-chain model, together with monoclonal antibody studies and heparin binding experiments, suggests that a patch of positively charged residues, at the interface between the first and second CCP modules, plays an important role in the interaction between C4BP and C4b/Arp/Sir/heparin. Putative binding sites, secondary-structure prediction for the central core, and an overall reevaluation of the size of the C4BP molecule are also presented. An understanding of these intermolecular interactions should contribute to the rational design of potential therapeutic agents aiming at interfering specifically some of these protein-protein interactions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Binding Sites
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Complement C4b / metabolism
  • Complement Inactivator Proteins*
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Glycoproteins*
  • Heparin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins*
  • Protozoan Proteins*
  • Receptors, Complement / chemistry*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Species Specificity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Complement Inactivator Proteins
  • Emm22 protein,Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Glycoproteins
  • MANF protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Proteins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Receptors, Complement
  • acidic repeat protein, Euglena gracilis
  • Complement C4b
  • Heparin