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J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 15;275(37):28569-74.

Properdin, the positive regulator of complement, is highly C-mannosylated.

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Friedrich-Miescher Institut, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland.


Properdin is the positive regulator of the alternative pathway of complement activation. The 53-kDa protein is essentially composed of six thrombospondin type 1 repeats, all of which contain the WXXW motif, the recognition sequence for C-mannosylation. C-Mannosylation is a post-translational modification of tryptophan residues in which, in contrast to the well known N- and O-glycosylation, the carbohydrate is attached via a C-C bond to C-2 of the indole moiety of tryptophan. C-Mannosylation was first found in human RNase 2 and interleukin-12. The terminal complement proteins C6-C9 also carry this modification as part of their thrombospondin type 1 repeats. We studied the C-mannosylation pattern of human properdin by mass spectrometry and Edman degradation. Properdin contains 20 tryptophans of which 17 are part of a WXXW motif. Fourteen tryptophans were found to be modified 100%. This is the first example of a protein in which the majority of tryptophan residues occurs in the C-mannosylated form. These results show that C-mannosylated proteins occur at several steps along the complement activation cascade. Therefore, this system would be ideal to investigate the function of C-mannosylation.

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