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Homologous complement activation is restricted on cells by the complement regulators, decay-accelerating factor (DAF), membrane cofactor protein (MCP) and CD59. These proteins act in concert with other membrane structures to protect cells from homologous complement attack. In contrast, cells are usually sensitive to heterologous complement attack. It has been suggested that species-specific restriction of complement activation can be attributed to the inability of regulators to inhibit across species. We have investigated the capacities of human, rat and mouse analogues of DAF to regulate homologous and heterologous complement. Cells transfected with cDNA encoding these analogues were protected from heterologous complement attack. C3b-deposition experiments indicated that whilst cells were best protected by DAF from the same species, all three analogues inhibited human, rat and mouse complement. Comparable results were obtained in haemolysis assays using soluble, recombinant forms of the proteins. Inhibition of the classical pathway (CP) was best achieved with homologous DAF, although human DAF also inhibited rat complement, rat DAF also inhibited human complement and mouse DAF inhibited complement from all species. Human DAF was the best inhibitor of alternative pathway (AP)-mediated attack, inhibiting complement from all species. Mouse DAF inhibited mouse and rat AP, whilst rat DAF inhibited only rat AP. These data indicate that human and rodent analogues of DAF are not species restricted and highlights interesting differences in the capacity to regulate AP and CP. This has implications in broader fields of research, such as xenotransplantation, where cross-species regulation of complement is of paramount importance.


alternative pathway


Chinese hamster ovary


classical pathway


decay-accelerating factor

EA, antibody-coated E; GPI

glycosyl phosphatidylinositol

iC3b, inactive C3b; HRP

horseradish peroxidase

GVB, gelatin veronal buffer; MAC

membrane attack complex


membrane cofactor protein


phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C


short consensus repeat