PMID: 17608619 , Related PDB id: 2P9R
Doan N, Gettins PG
Human alpha2-macroglobulin is composed of multiple domains, as predicted by homology with complement component C3.
Biochem J. 2007 Oct 1;407(1):23-30.
Human alpha2M (alpha2-macroglobulin) and the complement components C3 and C4 are thiol ester-containing proteins that evolved from the same ancestral gene. The recent structure determination of human C3 has allowed a detailed prediction of the location of domains within human alpha2M to be made. We describe here the expression and characterization of three alpha(2)M domains predicted to be involved in the stabilization of the thiol ester in native alpha2M and in its activation upon bait region proteolysis. The three newly expressed domains are MG2 (macroglobulin domain 2), TED (thiol ester-containing domain) and CUB (complement protein subcomponents C1r/C1s, urchin embryonic growth factor and bone morphogenetic protein 1) domain. Together with the previously characterized RBD (receptor-binding domain), they represent approx. 42% of the alpha2M polypeptide. Their expression as folded domains strongly supports the predicted domain organization of alpha2M. An X-ray crystal structure of MG2 shows it to have a fibronectin type-3 fold analogous to MG1-MG8 of C3. TED is, as predicted, an alpha-helical domain. CUB is a spliced domain composed of two stretches of polypeptide that flank TED in the primary structure. In intact C3 TED interacts with RBD, where it is in direct contact with the thiol ester, and with MG2 and CUB on opposite, flanking sides. In contrast, these alpha2M domains, as isolated species, show negligible interaction with one another, suggesting that the native conformation of alpha2M, and the consequent thiol ester-stabilizing domain-domain interactions, result from additional restraints imposed by the physical linkage of these domains or by additional domains in the protein.