Functional properties of membrane cofactor protein of complement.
ABSTRACT: Membrane cofactor protein (MCP or gp45-70) of the complement system is a cofactor for factor I-mediated cleavage of fluid-phase C3b and C3b-like C3, which opens the thioester bond. In the present study the activity of MCP was further characterized. Unexpectedly, in the absence of factor I, MCP stabilized the alternative- and, to a lesser extent, the classical-pathway cell-bound C3 convertases and thereby enhanced C3b deposition. Soluble MCP, if added exogenously, hardly functioned as cofactor for the cleavage of erythrocyte-bound C3b to iC3b; i.e. its activity, compared with the cofactor activity of factor H, was inefficient, since less than 10% of the bound C3b was MCP-sensitive. Further, exogenously added soluble MCP was also a weak cofactor for the cleavage of C3b bound to zymosan. Likewise, factor I, in the presence of cells bearing MCP, cleaved fluid-phase C3b inefficiently. These results imply that MCP has very little extrinsic cofactor activity for factor I. In contrast, exogenously added MCP and factor I mediated efficient cleavage of erythrocyte-bound C3b if the concentration of Nonidet P40 was sufficient to solubilize the cells. Interestingly, soluble MCP and factor I degraded C3b attached to certain solubilized acceptor membrane molecules more readily than others. The cleavage reaction of fluid-phase and cell-bound C3b by soluble MCP and factor I produced iC3b, but no C3c and C3dg. These and prior data indicate that soluble MCP has potent cofactor activity for fluid-phase C3b or C3b bound to solubilized molecules, but acts inefficiently towards C3b on other cells. This functional profile is unique for a C3b/C4b binding protein and, taken together with its wide tissue distribution, suggests an important role for MCP in the regulation of the complement system.
Project description:The interactions of properdin with both surface-bound and fluid-phase C3 (the third component of complement) and its activation products have been investigated by using a purified preparation of the 'native' form. At physiological ionic strength, a weak interaction with cell-bound C3b (the larger activation fragment of C3) could be demonstrated. In the presence of Factor B this interaction was enhanced, and further enhancement was seen when C3bBb sites were formed on the erythrocytes. The avidities of properdin for cell-bound iC3b (the initial product of Factors I and H action on C3b) and C3b were compared at low ionic strength, with that measured for iC3b being less than that for C3b. In contrast, the affinities of properdin for fluid-phase C3b, iC3b and C3c (the larger product of Factors I and H or CR1 (the C3b receptor) action on iC3b) were all very similar, and apparently much weaker than that for cell-bound C3b. No interaction with either native C3 or, more surprisingly, C3i (haemolytically inactive C3) could be detected. Properdin also inhibited Factor I binding to, and action upon, cell-bound C3b, but did not inhibit Factor I action on fluid-phase C3b. These data permit a more detailed description of the roles of properdin in the alternative pathway of complement activation, emphasizing its importance in concentrating activation at the activating surface.
Project description:Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) associates with complement dysregulation caused by mutations and polymorphisms in complement activators and regulators. However, the reasons why some mutations in complement proteins predispose to aHUS are poorly understood. Here, we have investigated the functional consequences of three aHUS-associated mutations in C3, R592W, R161W and I1157T. First, we provide evidence that penetrance and disease severity for these mutations is modulated by inheritance of documented "risk" haplotypes as has been observed with mutations in other complement genes. Next, we show that all three mutations markedly reduce the efficiency of factor I-mediated C3b cleavage when catalyzed by membrane cofactor protein (MCP), but not when catalyzed by factor H. Biacore analysis showed that each mutant C3b bound sMCP (recombinant soluble MCP; CD46) at reduced affinity, providing a molecular basis for its reduced cofactor activity. Lastly, we show by electron microscopy structural analysis a displacement of the TED domain from the MG ring in C3b in two of the C3 mutants that explains these defects in regulation. As a whole our data suggest that aHUS-associated mutations in C3 selectively affect regulation of complement on surfaces and provide a structural framework to predict the functional consequences of the C3 genetic variants found in patients.
Project description:Trypsin treatment of human factor H (H160) [enzyme/substrate ratio 1:100 (w/w), 30 min, 37 degrees C] generated a 38 kDa (H38) and a 142 kDa (H142) fragment linked by disulphide bonds (H38/142). The fragments were purified by reduction with 2-mercapto-ethanol, gel filtration on a Sephadex G-200 column and affinity chromatography with monoclonal anti-(factor H) antibody coupled to Sepharose 4B. This monoclonal antibody bound to a site in the 38 kDa fragment. To localize the C3b binding site in factor H we used two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (e.l.i.s.a.). For the first test, e.l.i.s.a. plates were coated with C3b; H160, H38/142, H38 and H142 were added, and their binding was monitored by goat anti-(factor H) and peroxidase-labelled rabbit anti-goat antibodies. Only intact factor H bound to the C3b-coated plates. For the second test, e.l.i.s.a. plates were coated with comparable amounts of factor H or its fragments, and C3b was offered at several dilutions. In contrast with the results from the first assay, C3b bound to intact factor H, H38/142 and H38 but not to H142, thus characterizing H38 as the fragment carrying the C3b-binding site. To identify the fragment responsible for the cofactor activity of factor H (cleavage of fluid-phase C3b by factor I), 125I-C3b was incubated with either H38 or H142 and factor I. H142 had no cofactor activity, whereas H38 had the same cofactor function as intact H. To further investigate the relationship between the C3b-binding site and the site of factor H essential for its cofactor activity, we made use of monoclonal antibodies directed against the H38. Those antibodies inhibiting the binding of C3b to H160 also inhibited the cofactor function, whereas those without effect on the C3b binding also did not interfere with the cofactor activity. This suggests that the C3b-binding site and the site essential for the cofactor activity of factor H are both localized in the 38 kDa tryptic fragment of factor H in close proximity or are identical.
Project description:Human granulocytes (polymorphonuclear leucocytes, PMN) possess a membrane cofactor protein (MCP, CD46), which is structurally and functionally distinct from the MCPs of other cell types: it shows a single broad band of 56-80 kDa (without the doublet pattern characteristic of MCP) on SDS/PAGE and has less affinity for complement component C3b. We purified PMN MCP using monoclonal antibodies in order to study the molecular differences between it and other MCPs. Several forms of PMN MCP with size heterogeneity were noted on SDS/PAGE and by immunoblotting. O-Glycanase treatment decreased this heterogeneity, yielding a fast-migrating component identical in position on SDS/PAGE to the O-glycanase-treated MCP of other cells. The cell-specific variation of MCP, therefore, arises from post-translational glycosylation and not from a difference in primary structure. The Factor I cofactor activity of PMN MCP was more efficient in cleaving the methylamine-treated complement components C4/C3 than was MCP from other cells, which shared a similar potency of cofactor activity on a weight basis. Two types of small-form PMN MCP were identified during purification. These were 42 kDa and 30 kDa in size; the former was recognized by M177 (a monoclonal antibody against the active site marker), possessed N-linked sugars [located on the short consensus repeats (SCRs)] but not O-linked ones (on the Ser/Thr-rich region), and retained cofactor activity for C3b/C4b cleavage, similar in potency to that of other MCPs. The functionally active soluble form of MCP was observed specifically in PMN. Protease inhibitors did not inhibit liberation of the fragments, although the generated fragments became susceptible to serine proteases. The findings show that the SCRs are the functional domain of MCP and that the MCP proteolysis found only in PMN may modulate the properties of PMN MCP. In conclusion, the structural features of PMN MCP largely reflect a variability in the O-linked sugars, and the decreased affinity for C3b may be in part attributable to proteolysis.
Project description:Purpose:Factor I (FI) is a serine protease regulator of the complement system. Genetic variants in CFI are associated with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AAMD). However, the clinical and functional impact of these variants is unknown. This study assessed the functional significance of rare CFI variants using a serum-based assay. Methods:Carriers of rare variants with (n = 78) and without AAMD (n = 28), and noncarriers with (n = 49) and without AMD (n = 44) were evaluated. Function of FI was determined by measuring the proteolytic cleavage of C3b to iC3b, using the cofactor protein, Factor H. Results:CFI variants were categorized into three groups based on antigenic and functional assessments. Type 1 variants (n = 18) in 35 patients with AAMD demonstrated low serum FI levels and a corresponding decrease in FI function. Type 2 variants (n = 6) in 7 individuals demonstrated normal serum FI antigenic levels but reduced degradation of C3b to iC3b. Type 3 variants (n = 15) in 64 individuals demonstrated normal antigenic levels and degradation of C3b to iC3b. However, iC3b generation was low when measured per unit of FI. Thus most rare CFI variants demonstrate either low antigenic levels (type 1) or normal levels but reduced function (types 2 or 3). Conclusions:Results provide for the first time a comprehensive functional assessment in serum of CFI rare genetic variants and further establish FI's key role in the pathogenesis of AAMD. Translational Relevance:Stratifying patients in the clinic with a rare CFI variant will facilitate screening and targeting patients most likely to benefit from complement therapies.
Project description:An imbalance between activation and inhibition of the complement system has been implicated in the etiologies of numerous common diseases. Allotypic variants of a key complement fluid-phase regulatory protein, complement factor H (CFH), are strongly associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of worldwide visual dysfunction, although its specific role in AMD pathogenesis is still not clear. CFH was isolated from individuals carrying combinations of two of the nonsynonymous coding variants most strongly associated with AMD risk, V62/H402 (risk haplotype variants), I62/Y402 (nonrisk haplotype variants), and V62/Y402. These proteins were used in two functional assays (cell surface- and fluid-phase-based) measuring cofactor activity of CFH in the factor I-mediated cleavage of C3b. Although no variant-specific differences in the cofactor activity were detected, when heparan sulfate (HS) was added to these assays, it accelerated the rate of C3b cleavage, and this effect could be modulated by degree of HS sulfation. Bruch's membrane/choroid, a site of tissue damage in AMD, contains high concentrations of glycosaminoglycans, including HS. Addition of human Bruch's membrane/choroid to the fluid-phase assay accelerated the C3b cleavage, and this effect was lost posttreatment of the tissue with heparinase III. Binding of CFH variants to Bruch's membrane/choroid isolated from elderly, non-AMD donor eyes, was similar, as was the functional activity of bound CFH. These findings refine our understanding of interactions of HS and complement and support the hypothesis that these interactions play a role in the transition between normal aging and AMD in Bruch's membrane/choroid.
Project description:The complement system labels microbes and host debris for clearance. Degradation of surface-bound C3b is pivotal to direct immune responses and protect host cells. How the serine protease factor I (FI), assisted by regulators, cleaves either two or three distant peptide bonds in the CUB domain of C3b remains unclear. We present a crystal structure of C3b in complex with FI and regulator factor H (FH; domains 1-4 with 19-20). FI binds C3b-FH between FH domains 2 and 3 and a reoriented C3b C-terminal domain and docks onto the first scissile bond, while stabilizing its catalytic domain for proteolytic activity. One cleavage in C3b does not affect its overall structure, whereas two cleavages unfold CUB and dislodge the thioester-containing domain (TED), affecting binding of regulators and thereby determining the number of cleavages. These data explain how FI generates late-stage opsonins iC3b or C3dg in a context-dependent manner, to react to foreign, danger or healthy self signals.
Project description:Structural knowledge of interactions amongst the ~ 40 proteins of the human complement system, which is central to immune surveillance and homeostasis, is expanding due primarily to X-ray diffraction of co-crystallized proteins. Orthogonal evidence, in solution, for the physiological relevance of such co-crystal structures is valuable since intermolecular affinities are generally weak-to-medium and inter-domain mobility may be important. In this current work, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) was used to investigate the 10 ?M K(D) (210 kD) complex between the N-terminal region of the soluble complement regulator, factor H (FH1-4), and the key activation-specific complement fragment, C3b. Using site-directed mutagenesis, seven cysteines were introduced individually at potentially informative positions within the four CCP modules comprising FH1-4, then used for fluorophore attachment. C3b possesses a thioester domain featuring an internal cycloglutamyl cysteine thioester; upon hydrolysis this yields a free thiol (Cys988) that was also fluorescently tagged. Labeled proteins were functionally active as cofactors for cleavage of C3b to iC3b except for FH1-4(Q40C) where conjugation with the fluorophore likely abrogated interaction with the protease, factor I. Time-resolved FRET measurements were undertaken to explore interactions between FH1-4 and C3b in fluid phase and under near-physiological conditions. These experiments confirmed that, as in the cocrystal structure, FH1-4 binds to C3b with CCP module 1 furthest from, and CCP module 4 closest to, the thioester domain, placing subsequent modules of FH near to any surface to which C3b is attached. The data do not rule out flexibility of the thioester domain relative to the remainder of the complex.
Project description:Many mutations associated with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) lie within complement control protein modules 19-20 at the C terminus of the complement regulator factor H (FH). This region mediates preferential action of FH on self, as opposed to foreign, membranes and surfaces. Hence, speculation on disease mechanisms has focused on deficiencies in regulation of complement activation on glomerular capillary beds. Here, we investigate the consequences of aHUS-linked mutations (R53H and R78G) within the FH N-terminal complement control protein module that also carries the I62V variation linked to dense-deposit disease and age-related macular degeneration. This module contributes to a four-module C3b-binding site (FH1-4) needed for complement regulation and sufficient for fluid-phase regulatory activity. Recombinant FH1-4(V62) and FH1-4(I62) bind immobilized C3b with similar affinities (K(D) = 10-14 μM), whereas FH1-4(I62) is slightly more effective than FH1-4(V62) as cofactor for factor I-mediated cleavage of C3b. The mutant (R53H)FH1-4(V62) binds to C3b with comparable affinity (K(D) ∼12 μM) yet has decreased cofactor activities both in fluid phase and on surface-bound C3b, and exhibits only weak decay-accelerating activity for C3 convertase (C3bBb). The other mutant, (R78G)FH1-4(V62), binds poorly to immobilized C3b (K(D) >35 μM) and is severely functionally compromised, having decreased cofactor and decay-accelerating activities. Our data support causal links between these mutations and disease; they demonstrate that mutations affecting the N-terminal activities of FH, not just those in the C terminus, can predispose to aHUS. These observations reinforce the notion that deficiency in any one of several FH functional properties can contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.
Project description:Complement C3 is a key fluid-phase protein of the immune system that covalently tags pathogenic cells and molecules for subsequent clearance. Previously, we reported that complement activation results in the formation of multiple C3b:plasma protein complexes in serum. However, it is not known if C3b attaches to any plasma protein in close proximity or preferentially binds damaged proteins. The objective of this study was to determine if C3b couples to plasma proteins in a non-native state and if this could be a potential mechanism to detect and clear damaged proteins from the blood. Using a purified in vitro system with alternative pathway proteins C3, factors B and D it was observed that guanidinium-HCl denaturation of three purified plasma proteins (albumin, alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor, vitamin D binding protein) greatly increased their capacity to form covalent complexes with C3b. However, native vitamin D binding protein, covalently attached to C3b, still retained the ability to bind its natural ligand G-actin, indicating that C3b links to plasma proteins in their native configuration but denaturation substantially increases this interaction. Serum complement activation generated a large number of C3b:plasma protein complexes that bound red blood cell membranes, suggesting a CR1-mediated clearance mechanism. Thermally denatured (60°C) serum activated the alternative pathway when added to fresh serum as evidenced by factor B cleavage and iC3b generation, but this heat-treated serum could not generate the pro-inflammatory peptide C5a. These results show that C3 recognizes and tags damaged plasma proteins for subsequent removal from the blood without triggering proinflammatory functions.