Mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease (MASP)-1 is crucial for lectin pathway activation in human serum whereas neither MASP-1 nor MASP-3 is required for alternative pathway function

Søren E. Degn, Lisbeth Jensen, Annette G. Hansen, Duygu Duman, Mustafa Tekin, Jens C. Jensenius, Steffen Thiel

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106 Scopus citations


The lectin pathway of complement is an important component of innate immunity. Its activation has been thought to occur via recognition of pathogens by mannan-binding lectin (MBL) or ficolins in complex with MBL-associated serine protease (MASP)-2, followed by MASP-2 autoactivation and cleavage of C4 and C2 generating the C3 convertase. MASP-1 and MASP-3 are related proteases found in similar complexes. MASP-1 has been shown to aid MASP-2 convertase generation by auxiliary C2 cleavage. In mice, MASP-1 and MASP-3 have been reported to be central also to alternative pathway function through activation of profactor D and factor B. In this study, we present functional studies based on a patient harboring a nonsense mutation in the common part of the MASP1 gene and hence deficient in both MASP-1 and MASP-3. Surprisingly, we find that the alternative pathway in this patient functions normally, and is unaffected by reconstitution with MASP-1 and MASP-3. Conversely, we find that the patient has a nonfunctional lectin pathway, which can be restored by MASP-1, implying that this component is crucial for complement activation. We show that, although MASP-2 is able to autoactivate under artificial conditions, MASP-1 dramatically increases lectin pathway activity at physiological conditions through direct activation of MASP-2. We further demonstrate that MASP-1 and MASP-2 can associate in the same MBL complex, and that such cocomplexes are found in serum, providing a scenario for transactivation of MASP-2. Hence, in functional terms, it appears that MASP-1 and MASP-2 act in a manner analogous to that of C1r and C1s of the classical pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3957-3969
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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