• vitronectin;
  • complement inhibition;
  • terminal complement complex


Vitronectin (complement S-protein), a multifunctional glycoprotein, inhibits complement-mediated cytolysis at two identified stages of terminal complement complex (TCC) formation: blocking of C5b-7 membrane binding, and prevention of C9 polymerization. However, the functional domain(s) of vitronectin involved in these reactions remains incompletely defined. In order to identify the complement inhibition site, a 12-kD heparin binding fragment and two other internal fragments (53kD and 43 kD) of vitronectin were isolated after cyanogen bromide (CNBr) treatment of the native molecule. Potent inhibition of guinea pig erythrocyte (GPE) reactive lysis was demonstrated with native vitronectin, total CNBr digest and the 53-kD and 43-kD fragments, but only very poorly by the heparin binding 12-kD peptide. Similarly, the 43-kD fragment blocked the binding of C5b-7 to immobilized vitronectin, whereas the 12-kD fragment had no effect. These data localize the C5b-7 binding site to a 43-kD internal region. Further characterization of the fragments was carried out in an assay which detected C9 polymerization in the presence of C5b-8. Polymerized material was separated by PAGE, detected by autoradiography and quantified after excision from the gels. Results showed that polymerization did not occur in the presence of the 53-kD and 43-kD fragments. However, the 12-kD heparin binding fragment had no effect. It is proposed that prevention of C5b-8-induced C9 polymerization resides at a site in an internal region of the vitronectin molecule.