Mannose-binding proteins have been isolated from the liver of rats and humans and subsequently been found in the serum of rats, rabbits, and humans. We report the isolation of cDNA clones isolated from a human liver cDNA library that encodes a human mannose-binding protein. The primary structure has three domains: (a) an NH2-terminal cysteine-rich segment of 19 amino acids which appears to be involved in the formation of interchain disulfide bonds that would stabilize multimeric forms of the protein; (b) a collagen-like region consisting of 19 repeats of the sequence Gly-x-y; and (c) a COOH-terminal putative carbohydrate-binding domain consisting of 148 residues. This human mannose-binding protein bears 51% overall homology (allowing three gaps) with a rat mannose-binding protein C and 48% homology (allowing seven gaps) with a rat mannose-binding protein A. Like these homologous rat proteins, the human mannose-binding protein COOH-terminal sequences are homologous to the carbohydrate recognition portion of several other lectin-like proteins including mammalian hepatic receptors, an insect-soluble hemolymph, and a sea urchin lectin found in coelomic fluid. The apoproteins of dog and human surfactant and the human lymphocyte IgE Ec receptor have not been shown to have lectin-like properties, yet by homology are members of this family of lectin-like proteins. The human mannose-binding protein is preceded by a typical hydrophobic signal sequence and its hepatic secretion is induced as part of the acute-phase response consistent with its probable role in host defense.

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