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Matsushita M.,Tokai University | Endo Y.,Fukushima Medical University | Fujita T.,Fukushima General Hygiene Institute
Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis

The complement system is an effector mechanism in immunity. It is activated in three ways, the classical, alternative and lectin pathways. The lectin pathway is initiated by the binding of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) or ficolins to carbohydrates on the surfaces of pathogens. In humans, MBL and three types of ficolins (L-ficolin, H-ficolin, and M-ficolin) are present in plasma. Of these lectins, at least, MBL, L-ficolin, and H-ficolin are complexed with three types of MBL-associated serine proteases (MASPs), MASP-1, MASP-2, and MASP-3 and their truncated proteins (MAp44 and sMAP). In the lectin pathway, the lectin-MASP complex (i.e., a complex of lectin, MASPs and their truncated proteins) binds to pathogens, resulting in the activation of C4 and C2 to generate a C3 convertase capable of activating C3. MASP-2 is involved in the activation of C4 and C2. MASP-1 activates C2 and MASP-2. The functions of MASP-3, sMAP, and MAp44 in the lectin pathway remain unknown. MASP-1 and MASP-3 also have a role in the alternative pathway. MBL and ficolins are able to bind to a variety of pathogens depending on their carbohydrate binding specificity, resulting in the activation of the lectin pathway. Deficiencies of the components of the lectin pathway are associated to susceptibility to infection, indicating an important role of the lectin pathway in innate immunity. The lectin-MASP complex is also involved in innate immunity by activating the coagulation system. Recent findings suggest a crucial role of MASP-3 in development. © 2013 L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland. Source

Matsushita M.,Tokai University | Kilpatrick D.,Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service | Shiraki H.,Yokohama College of Pharmacy | Liu Y.,Wuhan University | And 4 more authors.
Methods in Molecular Biology

Ficolins constitute a group of lectins involved in innate immunity. L-Ficolin, H-ficolin, and M-ficolin are present in human serum. The human ficolins differ in carbohydrate-binding specificity, but they have in common the ability to recognize the acetyl group. L-Ficolin and H-ficolin are associated with serine proteases termed MASPs (MBL-associated serine proteases) and their truncated proteins, and the complexes (L/H-ficolin-MASP) activate the lectin pathway of complement upon binding to their ligands. Recombinant M-ficolin is also able to form a complex with MASP, resulting in complement activation. L-Ficolin and H-ficolin can be purified as a complex with MASP from serum by utilizing their binding specificities. These ficolin-MASP complexes have an ability to activate C4. Human ficolins are quantified by ELISA using specific antibodies or ligands. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media, New York. Source

Genster N.,Copenhagen University | Takahashi M.,Fukushima Medical University | Sekine H.,Fukushima Medical University | Endo Y.,Fukushima Medical University | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Immunology

The lectin pathway of the complement system is initiated when the pattern-recognition molecules, mannose-binding lectin (MBL), ficolins or collectin-11, bind to invading pathogens or damaged host cells. This leads to activation of MBL/ficolin/collectin-11 associated serine proteases (MASPs), which in turn activate downstream complement components, ultimately leading to elimination of the pathogen. Mice deficient in the key molecules of lectin pathway of complement have been generated in order to build knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of the lectin pathway in health and disease. Despite differences in the genetic arrangements of murine and human orthologues of lectin pathway molecules, the knockout mice have proven to be valuable models to explore the effect of deficiency states in humans. In addition, new insight and unexpected findings on the diverse roles of lectin pathway molecules in complement activation, pathogen infection, coagulation, host tissue injury and developmental biology have been revealed by in vivo investigations. This review provides an overview of the mice deficient in lectin pathway molecules and highlights some of the most important findings that have resulted from studies of these. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Endo Y.,Fukushima Medical University | Matsushita M.,Tokai University | Fujita T.,Fukushima Medical University | Fujita T.,Fukushima General Hygiene Institute
International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology

In the innate immune system, a variety of recognition molecules provide the first-line host defense to prevent infection and maintain endogenous homeostasis. Ficolin is a soluble recognition molecule, which senses pathogen-associated molecular patterns on microbes and aberrant sugar structures on self-cells. It consists of a collagen-like stalk and a globular fibrinogen-like domain, the latter binding to carbohydrates such as N-acetylglucosamine. Ficolins have been widely identified in animals from higher invertebrates to mammals. In mammals, ficolins form complexes with mannose-binding lectin-associated serine proteases (MASPs), and ficolin-MASP complexes trigger complement activation via the lectin pathway. Once activated, complement mediates many immune responses including opsonization, phagocytosis, and cytokine production. Although the precise function of each ficolin is still under investigation, accumulating information suggests that ficolins have a crucial role in host defense by recognizing a variety of microorganisms and interacting with effector proteins. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

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