Mechanisms for the spontaneous formation of covalently linked polymers of the terminal membranolytic complement protein (C9).

K. Yamamoto, S. Migita

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Purified human C9 spontaneously polymerizes upon prolonged incubation at 37 degrees C, and a fraction of these C9 polymers becomes resistant to dissociation by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and reducing agents. We examined possible mechanisms for this spontaneous covalent linking of C9. The following results are consistent with the conclusion that the formation of the covalently linked C9 polymer involves disulfide linking. 1) In addition to the SDS/dithiothreitol (DTT)-resistant C9 polymer (Mr = 950,000), disulfide-linked C9 dimers and trimers were formed upon incubation of C9 at 37 degrees C for 64 h. 2) The C9 polymer formed upon incubation at 37 degrees C for 64 h was resistant to dissociation by 6 M guanidine hydrochloride, 20 mM DTT but was dissociated by 6 M guanidine thiocyanate alone, yielding disulfide-linked C9 oligomers. 3) The formation of the SDS/DTT-resistant C9 polymer was completely inhibited by 1 mM iodoacetamide and 5,5'-dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB), while DTNB enhanced the formation of disulfide-linked C9 oligomers. 4) A significant amount of free sulfhydryl group was detected in the polymerized C9 samples with various SH-specific reagents, though native C9 reacted with none of these reagents. In addition, inhibition by 1 mM iodoacetamide of C9 disulfide linking inhibited the self-association of C9 as analyzed by gel filtration on TSK-G4000 SW, whereas enhancement by 1mM DTNB of C9 disulfide linking enhanced C9 self-association. Thus, these results indicate that C9 disulfide linking that occurs upon C9 polymerization is an intrinsic property of C9 which is of importance in the formation of the stable C9 polymer structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7887-7889
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 10 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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