Specificity of the thioester-containing reactive site of human C3 and its significance to complement activation.
ABSTRACT: The specificity of the thioester-containing site in three plasma proteins is regulated by elements of their protein structures other than the thioester bond itself. Human C4A and alpha 2-macroglobulin preferentially form amide linkages while human C3 primarily forms ester linkages with hydroxyl groups. We have examined the thioester in C3 and found evidence of strong preferences for certain carbohydrates, indications of selectivity for specific positions on those carbohydrates and a preference for terminal sugars in polysaccharides. A testable set of rules are derived from these findings which predict preferred attachment sites on polysaccharides. A computer model of the effect of different reactivities on activation of the alternative pathway of complement suggested that organisms might greatly alter their susceptibility to complement with small changes in carbohydrate structure. While a random selection of 20 biological particles showed no correlation between activation and C3b attachment efficiency, subsets of related organisms differing primarily in their surface polysaccharide exhibited stronger correlations. The strongest correlation occurred in a series of the yeasts (Cryptococcus neoformans) possessing capsular polysaccharides with one, two, three or four branching xylose sugars per repeating unit. These organisms exhibited capture efficiencies for metastable C3b from 12% (one-xylose strain) to 41% (four-xylose strain).
Project description:The thioester bond in complement components C3 and C4 and the protease inhibitor alpha2-macroglobulin have traditionally been thought of as fulfilling the dual roles of mediating covalent attachment and maintaining the native conformational states of these molecules. We previously reported that several human C3 thioester-region mutants, including variants E1012Q and C1010A, in the latter of which thioester-bond formation is precluded, display an unexpected phenotype. Despite the lack of a thioester bond in these mutants, they appear to adopt a native-like conformation as suggested by the finding that they are cleavable by the classical pathway C3 convertase, C4b2a, whereas the C3b-like C3(H2O) species is not. Subsequently, a species referred to as C3(NH3)* was described which potentially could account for the observations with the above mutants. C3(NH3)* is a transient species formed on aminolysis of native C3 that can spontaneously re-form the thioester bond. Importantly, it has a mobility on cation-exchange HPLC that is distinct from both native C3 and C3(H2O), but like the native molecule, it is cleavable by an alternative-pathway C3 convertase. In this study we showed by using cation-exchange HPLC as an additional conformational probe that C3 C1010A and E1012Q mutant proteins did not resemble C3(NH3)*. Instead they displayed a chromatographic behaviour that was indistinguishable from that of native C3. To assess the general applicability of these observations, we engineered the equivalent mutations into human C4, specifically C4 C1010A and C4 E1012Q. As expected, thioester-bond formation did not occur in either of these C4 mutants, but in contrast with the results with C3 we found no evidence for the formation of a stable native-like conformation in either C4 mutant, as assessed using cleavability by C1s as the conformational probe. A possible interpretation of our data is that the adoption of the native conformational state during biosynthesis of C3 and C4 is an energetically permissible process, even if it is not locked in via thioester-bond formation. Whereas this conformational state is stable in mature C3, it is unstable in mature C4, perhaps reflecting the additional post-translational cleavage of C4 before its secretion.
Project description:The solution structure of complement C3b is crucial for the understanding of complement activation and regulation. C3b is generated by the removal of C3a from C3. Hydrolysis of the C3 thioester produces C3u, an analog of C3b. C3b cleavage results in C3c and C3d (thioester-containing domain; TED). To resolve functional questions in relation to C3b and C3u, analytical ultracentrifugation and x-ray and neutron scattering studies were used with C3, C3b, C3u, C3c, and C3d, using the wild-type allotype with Arg(102). In 50 mm NaCl buffer, atomistic scattering modeling showed that both C3b and C3u adopted a compact structure, similar to the C3b crystal structure in which its TED and macroglobulin 1 (MG1) domains were connected through the Arg(102)-Glu(1032) salt bridge. In physiological 137 mm NaCl, scattering modeling showed that C3b and C3u were both extended in structure, with the TED and MG1 domains now separated by up to 6 nm. The importance of the Arg(102)-Glu(1032) salt bridge was determined using surface plasmon resonance to monitor the binding of wild-type C3d(E1032) and mutant C3d(A1032) to immobilized C3c. The mutant did not bind, whereas the wild-type form did. The high conformational variability of TED in C3b in physiological buffer showed that C3b is more reactive than previously thought. Because the Arg(102)-Glu(1032) salt bridge is essential for the C3b-Factor H complex during the regulatory control of C3b, the known clinical associations of the major C3S (Arg(102)) and disease-linked C3F (Gly(102)) allotypes of C3b were experimentally explained for the first time.
Project description:The slow but spontaneous and ubiquitous formation of C3(H2O), the hydrolytic and conformationally rearranged product of C3, initiates antibody-independent activation of the complement system that is a key first line of antimicrobial defense. The structure of C3(H2O) has not been determined. Here we subjected C3(H2O) to quantitative cross-linking/mass spectrometry (QCLMS). This revealed details of the structural differences and similarities between C3(H2O) and C3, as well as between C3(H2O) and its pivotal proteolytic cleavage product, C3b, which shares functionally similarity with C3(H2O). Considered in combination with the crystal structures of C3 and C3b, the QCMLS data suggest that C3(H2O) generation is accompanied by the migration of the thioester-containing domain of C3 from one end of the molecule to the other. This creates a stable C3b-like platform able to bind the zymogen, factor B, or the regulator, factor H. Integration of available crystallographic and QCLMS data allowed the determination of a 3D model of the C3(H2O) domain architecture. The unique arrangement of domains thus observed in C3(H2O), which retains the anaphylatoxin domain (that is excised when C3 is enzymatically activated to C3b), can be used to rationalize observed differences between C3(H2O) and C3b in terms of complement activation and regulation.
Project description:The sub-retinal pigment epithelial deposits that are a hallmark of age-related macular degeneration contain both C3b and millimolar levels of zinc. C3 is the central protein of complement, whereas C3u is formed by the spontaneous hydrolysis of the thioester bridge in C3. During activation, C3 is cleaved to form active C3b, then C3b is inactivated by Factor I and Factor H to form the C3c and C3d fragments. The interaction of zinc with C3 was quantified using analytical ultracentrifugation and x-ray scattering. C3, C3u, and C3b associated strongly in >100 ?M zinc, whereas C3c and C3d showed weak association. With zinc, C3 forms soluble oligomers, whereas C3u and C3b precipitate. We conclude that the C3, C3u, and C3b association with zinc depended on the relative positions of C3d and C3c in each protein. Computational predictions showed that putative weak zinc binding sites with different capacities exist in all five proteins, in agreement with experiments. Factor H forms large oligomers in >10 ?M zinc. In contrast to C3b or Factor H alone, the solubility of the central C3b-Factor H complex was much reduced at 60 ?M zinc and even more so at >100 ?M zinc. The removal of the C3b-Factor H complex by zinc explains the reduced C3u/C3b inactivation rates by zinc. Zinc-induced precipitation may contribute to the initial development of sub-retinal pigment epithelial deposits in the retina as well as reducing the progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration in higher risk patients.
Project description:Complement sensitizes pathogens for phagocytosis and lysis. We use electron microscopy to examine the structural transitions in the activation of the pivotal protein in the complement pathway, C3. In the cleavage product C3b, the position of the thioester domain moves approximately 100 Angstrom, which becomes covalently coupled to antigenic surfaces. In the iC3b fragment, cleavage in an intervening domain creates a long flexible linker between the thioester domain and the macroglobulin domain ring of C3. Studies on two products of nucleophile addition to C3 reveal a structural intermediate in activation, and a final product, in which the anaphylatoxin domain has undergone a remarkable movement through the macroglobulin ring.
Project description:The cleavage of human complement component C5 to fragment C5b by the alternative pathway C5 convertase was studied. The alternative-pathway C5 convertase on zymosan can be represented by the empirical formula zymosan--C3b2BbP. Both properdin-stabilized C3 and C5 convertase activities decay with a half life of 34 min correlating with the loss of the Bb subunit. The C5 convertase functions in a stepwise fashion: first, C5 binds to C3b and this is followed by cleavage of C5 to C5b. The capacity to bind C3b is a stable feature of component C5, as C5b also has this binding capacity. Component C5, unlike component C3, does not form covalent bonds with zymosan after activation, and C5 is not inhibited by amines. Therefore C5, although similar in structure to C3, does not appear to contain the internal thioester group reported for C3 and C4.
Project description:In this study we investigate the hydrolysis of C3 to C3(H2O) and its ability to initiate activation via the alternative pathway (AP) of the complement system. The internal thioester bond within C3 is hydrolyzed by water in plasma because of its inherent lability. This results in the formation of non-proteolytically activated C3(H2O) which is believed have C3b-like properties and be able to form an active initial fluid phase C3 convertase together with Factor B (FB). The generation of C3(H2O) occurs at a low but constant rate in blood, but the formation can be greatly accelerated by the interaction with various surfaces or nucleophilic and chaotropic agents. In order to more specifically elucidate the relevance of the C3(H2O) for AP activation, formation was induced in solution by repeated freeze/thawing, methylamine or KCSN treatment and named C3(x) where the x can be any of the reactive nucleophilic or chaotropic agents. Isolation and characterization of C3(x) showed that it exists in several forms with varying attributes, where some have more C3b-like properties and can be cleaved by Factor I in the presence of Factor H. However, in common for all these variants is that they are less active partners in initial formation of the AP convertase compared with the corresponding activity of C3b. These observations support the idea that formation of C3(x) in the fluid phase is not a strong initiator of the AP. It is rather likely that the AP mainly acts as an amplification mechanism of complement activation that is triggered by deposition of target-bound C3b molecules generated by other means.
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:The structure of the complement-binding domain of Staphylococcus aureus protein Sbi (Sbi-IV) in complex with ligand C3d is presented. The 1.7Å resolution structure reveals the molecular details of the recognition of thioester-containing fragment C3d of the central complement component C3, involving interactions between residues of Sbi-IV helix ?2 and the acidic concave surface of C3d. The complex provides a structural basis for the binding preference of Sbi for native C3 over C3b and explains how Sbi-IV inhibits the interaction between C3d and complement receptor 2. A second C3d binding site on Sbi-IV is identified in the crystal structure that is not observed in related S. aureus C3 inhibitors Efb-C and Ehp. This binding mode perhaps hints as to how Sbi-IV, as part of Sbi, forms a C3b-Sbi adduct and causes futile consumption of C3, an extraordinary aspect of Sbi function that is not shared by any other known Staphylococcal complement inhibitor.
Project description:Complement is a large protein network in plasma that is crucial for human immune defenses and a major cause of aberrant inflammatory reactions. The C5 convertase is a multi-molecular protease complex that catalyses the cleavage of native C5 into its biologically important products. So far, it has been difficult to study the exact molecular arrangement of C5 convertases, because their non-catalytic subunits (C3b) are covalently linked to biological surfaces through a reactive thioester. Through development of a highly purified model system for C5 convertases, we here aim to provide insights into the surface-specific nature of these important protease complexes.Alternative pathway (AP) C5 convertases were generated on small streptavidin beads that were coated with purified C3b molecules. Site-specific biotinylation of C3b via the thioester allowed binding of C3b in the natural orientation on the surface. In the presence of factor B and factor D, these C3b beads could effectively convert C5. Conversion rates of surface-bound C3b were more than 100-fold higher than fluid-phase C3b, confirming the requirement of a surface. We determine that high surface densities of C3b, and its attachment via the thioester, are essential for C5 convertase formation. Combining our results with molecular modeling explains how high C3b densities may facilitate intermolecular interactions that only occur on target surfaces. Finally, we define two interfaces on C5 important for its recognition by surface-bound C5 convertases.We establish a highly purified model that mimics the natural arrangement of C5 convertases on a surface. The developed model and molecular insights are essential to understand the molecular basis of deregulated complement activity in human disease and will facilitate future design of therapeutic interventions against these critical enzymes in inflammation.