Cd46 Membrane Cofactor Protein

M Kathryn Liszewski and John P Atkinson, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA

Copyright © 1998 Elsevier Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The complement system consists of a group of sequentially interacting proteins that promote the inflammatory response and facilitate the destruction of microorganisms. The system must be tightly regulated to prevent activation in the fluid phase (i.e. no target) and on host tissue (i.e. inappropriate target). Nearly half of the complement proteins serve in regulation. One such inhibitory protein is CD46, membrane cofactor protein (MCP). This regulator is a type one transmembrane protein that serves as a cofactor for the factor I-mediated proteolytic cleavage and inactivation of C3b and C4b deposited on self tissue. CD46 performs this role intrinsically in that it protects the cell on which it is expressed, not neighboring cells. CD46 is also the measles virus receptor and is involved in the adherence of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus) to epithelial cells. CD46 belongs to a group of structurally, functionally and genetically related proteins called the regulators of complement activation (RCA) that includes decay-accelerating factor (DAF; CD55), complement receptors 1 (CR1; CD35) and 2 (CR2; CD21), and the plasma proteins factor H and C4-binding protein.

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