Binding of complement inhibitor C4b-binding protein to a highly virulent S. pyogenes M1 strain is mediated by protein H and enhances adhesion to and invasion of endothelial cells.

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Streptococcus pyogenes AP1, a strain of the highly virulent M1 serotype, uses exclusively protein H to bind the complement inhibitor C4b-binding protein (C4BP). We found a strong correlation between the ability of AP1 and its isogenic mutants lacking protein H to inhibit opsonisation with complement C3b and binding of C4BP. C4BP bound to immobilized protein H or AP1 bacteria retained its cofactor activity for degradation of 125I-C4b. Further, C4b deposited from serum onto AP1 bacterial surfaces was processed into C4c/C4d fragments, which did not occur on strains unable to bind C4BP. Recombinant C4BP mutants, which (i) lack certain CCP domains, or (ii) have mutations in single aa as well as (iii) mutants with additional aa between different CCP domains were used to determine that the binding is mainly mediated by a patch of positively charged amino acid residues at the interface of domains CCP1 and CCP2. Using recombinant protein H fragments, we narrowed down the binding site to the N-terminal domain A. With a peptide microarray, we identified one single 18 amino acid long peptide comprising residues 92-109, which specifically bound C4BP. Biacore was used to determine KD = 6x10-7 M between protein H and a single subunit of C4BP. C4BP binding also correlated with elevated levels of adhesion and invasion to endothelial cells. Taken together, we identified the molecular basis of C4BP-protein H interaction and found that it is not only important for decreased opsonisation but also for invasion of endothelial cells by Streptococcus pyogenes.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Basic Medicine
  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32172-32183
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

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