Mutational analyses of the BbCRASP-1 protein of Borrelia burgdorferi identify residues relevant for the architecture and binding of host complement regulators FHL-1 and factor H.
Kraiczy P., Hanssen-Hübner C., Kitiratschky V., Brenner C., Besier S., Brade V., Simon MM., Skerka C., Roversi P., Lea SM., Stevenson B., Wallich R., Zipfel PF.
Borrelia burgdorferi exploits multiple strategies to evade host immune responses. One central immune escape mechanism is the inactivation of the host complement attack by acquisition host complement regulators FHL-1 and factor H via complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (BbCRASPs). The BbCRASP-1 protein is the first bacterial factor H/FHL-1-binding protein for which the atomic structure has been solved. Previously, 3 regions including the C terminus were identified as putative contact sites for the two complement regulators by the pepspot analysis. Based on the crystallographic structure an in vitro mutagenesis approach was conducted to identify amino acid residues which are relevant for FHL-1 and factor H binding by exchanging single or multiple residues in region 1 and the C-terminally located region 3. Single changes at 4 positions in region 1 either reduced (Lys136, Lys141, Glu147) or completely eliminated (Leu146) binding of both complement regulators. Substitutions clustered within the C-terminal region decreased (Glu234, Lys238, Tyr239, Lys241, Asp244, Thr245) or abolished binding (Lys240, Asp242, Leu246) of both complement regulators. Mapping the mutations onto the atomic structure of BbCRASP-1 reveals that, in contrast to earlier assumption, the C-terminal mutations act indirectly on FHL-1 and factor H binding, whilst the region 1 mutations map the site of direct complement regulator interaction. The elucidation of BbCRASP-1 structure - function may allow development of novel therapeutic strategies against Lyme disease.