Complement factor H (FH) and factor-H-like protein 1 (FHL-1) are human plasma proteins with regulatory functions in the alternative pathway of complement activation. FH and FHL-1 are organized in repetitive elements termed short consensus repeats (SCRs) and the seven SCRs of FHL-1 are identical with the N-terminal domain of the 20 SCRs of FH. The fourth SCR of both proteins (SCR 4) includes the sequence Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD), a motif that is responsible for the major adhesive activity of matrix proteins like fibronectin. A synthetic hexapeptide with the sequence ERGDAV derived from the RGD domain of FH/FHL-1 interferes with cell attachment to a fibronectin matrix. Although the identical motif is present in both FH and FHL-1, only FHL-1 acts as a matrix for cell spreading and attachment, thus the two proteins differ in function. The adhesive activity of FHL-1 is localized to the RGD-containing SCR 4 by the use of recombinant fragments. All three analysed anchorage-dependent cell lines (CCl64, C32 and MRC-5) adhere to an FHL-1 matrix. The use of synthetic peptides in competition assays, on either FHL-1-derived or fibronectin matrices, shows that the cellular receptors binding to the FH/FHL-1-derived RGD motif are related to or identical with integrin receptors which interact with fibronectin. The identification of a functional adhesive domain in the FH/FHL-1 sequence demonstrates, at least for FHL-1, a role in cell attachment and adhesion.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1997