Insights into complement convertase formation based on the structure of the factor B-cobra venom factor complex.
ABSTRACT: Immune protection by the complement system critically depends on assembly of C3 convertases on the surface of pathogens and altered host cells. These short-lived protease complexes are formed through pro-convertases, which for the alternative pathway consist of the complement component C3b and the pro-enzyme factor B (FB). Here, we present the crystal structure at 2.2-A resolution, small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy (EM) data of the pro-convertase formed by human FB and cobra venom factor (CVF), a potent homologue of C3b that generates more stable convertases. FB is loaded onto CVF through its pro-peptide Ba segment by specific contacts, which explain the specificity for the homologous C3b over the native C3 and inactive products iC3b and C3c. The protease segment Bb binds the carboxy terminus of CVF through the metal-ion dependent adhesion site of the Von Willebrand factor A-type domain. A possible dynamic equilibrium between a 'loading' and 'activation' state of the pro-convertase may explain the observed difference between the crystal structure of CVFB and the EM structure of C3bB. These insights into formation of convertases provide a basis for further development of complement therapeutics.
Project description:Generation of the alternative pathway C3-convertase, the central amplification enzyme of the complement cascade, initiates by the binding of factor B (fB) to C3b to form the proconvertase, C3bB. C3bB is subsequently cleaved by factor D (fD) at a single site in fB, producing Ba and Bb fragments. Ba dissociates from the complex, while Bb remains bound to C3b, forming the active alternative pathway convertase, C3bBb. Using single-particle electron microscopy we have determined the 3-dimensional structures of the C3bB and the C3bBb complexes at approximately 27A resolution. The C3bB structure shows that fB undergoes a dramatic conformational change upon binding to C3b. However, the C3b-bound fB structure was easily interpreted after independently fitting the atomic structures of the isolated Bb and Ba fragments. Interestingly, the divalent cation-binding site in the von Willebrand type A domain in Bb faces the C345C domain of C3b, whereas the serine-protease domain of Bb points outwards. The structure also shows that the Ba fragment interacts with C3b separately from Bb at the level of the alpha'NT and CUB domains. Within this conformation, the long and flexible linker between Bb and Ba is likely exposed and accessible for cleavage by fD to form the active convertase, C3bBb. The architecture of the C3bB and C3bBb complexes reveals that C3b could promote cleavage and activation of fB by actively displacing the Ba domain from the von Willebrand type A domain in free fB. These structures provide a structural basis to understand fundamental aspects of the activation and regulation of the alternative pathway C3-convertase.
Project description:Cobra venom factor (CVF) is a functional analog of human complement component C3b, the active fragment of C3. Similar to C3b, in human and mammalian serum, CVF binds factor B, which is then cleaved by factor D, giving rise to the CVFBb complex that targets the same scissile bond in C3 as the authentic complement convertases C4bC2a and C3bBb. Unlike the latter, CVFBb is a stable complex and an efficient C5 convertase. We solved the crystal structure of CVF, isolated from Naja naja kouthia venom, at 2.6 A resolution. The CVF crystal structure, an intermediate between C3b and C3c, lacks the TED domain and has the CUB domain in an identical position to that seen in C3b. The similarly positioned CUB and slightly displaced C345c domains of CVF could play a vital role in the formation of C3 convertases by providing important primary binding sites for factor B.
Project description:Activation of the complement cascade induces inflammatory responses and marks cells for immune clearance. In the central complement-amplification step, a complex consisting of surface-bound C3b and factor B is cleaved by factor D to generate active convertases on targeted surfaces. We present crystal structures of the pro-convertase C3bB at 4 angstrom resolution and its complex with factor D at 3.5 angstrom resolution. Our data show how factor B binding to C3b forms an open "activation" state of C3bB. Factor D specifically binds the open conformation of factor B through a site distant from the catalytic center and is activated by the substrate, which displaces factor D's self-inhibitory loop. This concerted proteolytic mechanism, which is cofactor-dependent and substrate-induced, restricts complement amplification to C3b-tagged target cells.
Project description:Complement is essential for the protection against infections; however, dysregulation of complement activation can cause onset and progression of numerous inflammatory diseases. Convertase enzymes play a central role in complement activation and produce the key mediators of complement: C3 convertases cleave C3 to generate chemoattractant C3a and label target cells with C3b, which promotes phagocytosis; C5 convertases cleave C5 into chemoattractant C5a, and C5b, which drives formation of the membrane attack complex. Since convertases mediate nearly all complement effector functions, they are ideal targets for therapeutic complement inhibition. A unique feature of convertases is their covalent attachment to target cells, which effectively confines complement activation to the cell surface. However, surface localization precludes detailed analysis of convertase activation and inhibition. In our previous work, we developed a model system to form purified alternative pathway (AP) C5 convertases on C3b-coated beads and quantify C5 conversion via functional analysis of released C5a. Here, we developed a C3aR cell reporter system that enables functional discrimination between C3 and C5 convertases. By regulating the C3b density on the bead surface, we observe that high C3b densities are important for conversion of C5, but not C3, by AP convertases. Screening of well-characterized complement-binding molecules revealed that differential inhibition of AP C3 convertases (C3bBb) and C5 convertases [C3bBb(C3b)n] is possible. Although both convertases contain C3b, the C3b-binding molecules Efb-C/Ecb and FHR5 specifically inhibit C5 conversion. Furthermore, using a new classical pathway convertase model, we show that these C3b-binding proteins not only block AP C3/C5 convertases but also inhibit formation of a functional classical pathway C5 convertase under well-defined conditions. Our models enable functional characterization of purified convertase enzymes and provide a platform for the identification and development of specific convertase inhibitors for treatment of complement-mediated disorders.
Project description:Properdin enhances complement-mediated opsonization of targeted cells and particles for immune clearance. Properdin occurs as dimers, trimers and tetramers in human plasma, which recognize C3b-deposited surfaces, promote formation, and prolong the lifetime of C3bBb-enzyme complexes that convert C3 into C3b, thereby enhancing the complement-amplification loop. Here, we report crystal structures of monomerized properdin, which was produced by co-expression of separate N- and C-terminal constructs that yielded monomer-sized properdin complexes that stabilized C3bBb. Consistent with previous low-resolution X-ray and EM data, the crystal structures revealed ring-shaped arrangements that are formed by interactions between thrombospondin type-I repeat (TSR) domains 4 and 6 of one protomer interacting with the N-terminal domain (which adopts a short transforming-growth factor B binding protein-like fold) and domain TSR1 of a second protomer, respectively. Next, a structure of monomerized properdin in complex with the C-terminal domain of C3b showed that properdin-domain TSR5 binds along the C-terminal ?-helix of C3b, while two loops, one from domain TSR5 and one from TSR6, extend and fold around the C3b C-terminus like stirrups. This suggests a mechanistic model in which these TSR5 and TSR6 "stirrups" bridge interactions between C3b and factor B or its fragment Bb, and thereby enhance formation of C3bB pro-convertases and stabilize C3bBb convertases. In addition, properdin TSR6 would sterically block binding of the protease factor I to C3b, thus limiting C3b proteolytic degradation. The presence of a valine instead of a third tryptophan in the canonical Trp-ladder of TSR domains in TSR4 allows a remarkable ca. 60°-domain bending motion of TSR4. Together with variable positioning of TSR2 and, putatively, TSR3, this explains the conformational flexibility required for properdin to form dimers, trimers, and tetramers. In conclusion, the results indicate that binding avidity of oligomeric properdin is needed to distinguish surface-deposited C3b molecules from soluble C3b or C3 and suggest that properdin-mediated interactions bridging C3b-B and C3b-Bb enhance affinity, thus promoting convertase formation and stabilization. These mechanisms explain the enhancement of complement-mediated opsonization of targeted cells and particle for immune clearance.
Project description:The activated fragment of C3 (C3b) and factor B form the C3 proconvertase (C3bB), which is cleaved by factor D to C3 convertase (C3bBb). Older studies (Conrad, D. H., Carlo, J. R., and Ruddy, S. (1978)J. Exp. Med.147, 1792-1805; Pangburn, M. K., and Müller-Eberhard, H. J. (1978)Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.75, 2416-2420; Kazatchkine, M. D., Fearon, D. T., and Austen, K. F. (1979)J. Immunol.122, 75-81) indicated that the complement alternative pathway regulator factor H (FH) competes with factor B for C3b binding; however, the capability of FH to prevent C3bB assembly has not been formally investigated. Moreover, in the few published studies FH did not favor C3bB dissociation. Whether FH may affect C3bBb formation from C3bB is unknown. We set up user-friendly assays based on combined microplate/Western blotting techniques that specifically detect either C3bB or C3bBb, with the aim of investigating the effect of FH on C3bB assembly and decay and C3bBb formation and decay. We document that FH does not affect C3bB assembly, indicating that FH does not efficiently compete with factor B for C3b binding. We also found that FH does not dissociate C3bB. FH showed a strong C3bBb decay-accelerating activity, as reported previously, and also exerted an apparent inhibitory effect on C3bBb formation. The latter effect was not fully attributable to a rapid FH-mediated dissociation of C3bBb complexes, because blocking decay with properdin and C3 nephritic factor did not restore C3bBb formation. FH almost completely prevented release of the smaller cleavage subunit of FB (Ba), without modifying the amount of C3bB complexes, suggesting that FH inhibits the conversion of C3bB to C3bBb. Thus, the inhibitory effect of FH on C3bBb formation is likely the sum of inhibition of C3bB conversion to C3bBb and of C3bBb decay acceleration. Further studies are required to confirm these findings in physiological cell-based settings.
Project description:The complement system is a conserved component of innate immunity that fulfills diverse roles in defense and homeostasis. Inappropriate activation of complement contributes to many inflammatory diseases, however, which has led to a renewed emphasis on development of therapeutic complement inhibitors. Activation of complement component C3 is required for amplification of complement and is achieved through two multisubunit proteases called C3 convertases. Of these, the alternative pathway (AP) C3 convertase is responsible for a majority of the C3 activation products in vivo, which renders it an attractive target for inhibitor discovery. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of two related slow off-rate modified DNA aptamers (SOMAmer) reagents that inhibit formation of the AP C3 convertase by binding to the proprotease, factor B (FB). These aptamers, known as SL1102 (31 bases) and SL1103 (29 bases), contain uniform substitutions of 5-(<i>N</i>-2-naphthylethylcarboxyamide)-2'-deoxyuridine for deoxythymidine. SL1102 and SL1103 bind FB with <i>K</i> <sub>d</sub> values of 49 and 88 pM, respectively, and inhibit activation of C3 and lysis of rabbit erythrocytes under AP-specific conditions. Cocrystal structures of SL1102 (3.4 Å) and SL1103 (3.1 Å) bound to human FB revealed that SL1102 and SL1103 recognize a site at the juncture of the CCP1, CCP3, and vWF domains of FB. Consistent with these structures and previously published information, these aptamers inhibited FB binding to C3b and blocked formation of the AP C3 convertase. Together, these results demonstrate potent AP inhibition by modified DNA aptamers and expand the pipeline of FB-binding molecules with favorable pharmacologic properties.
Project description:Complement is an essential component of innate immunity. Its activation results in the assembly of unstable protease complexes, denominated C3/C5 convertases, leading to inflammation and lysis. Regulatory proteins inactivate C3/C5 convertases on host surfaces to avoid collateral tissue damage. On pathogen surfaces, properdin stabilizes C3/C5 convertases to efficiently fight infection. How properdin performs this function is, however, unclear. Using electron microscopy we show that the N- and C-terminal ends of adjacent monomers in properdin oligomers conform a curly vertex that holds together the AP convertase, interacting with both the C345C and vWA domains of C3b and Bb, respectively. Properdin also promotes a large displacement of the TED (thioester-containing domain) and CUB (complement protein subcomponents C1r/C1s, urchin embryonic growth factor and bone morphogenetic protein 1) domains of C3b, which likely impairs C3-convertase inactivation by regulatory proteins. The combined effect of molecular cross-linking and structural reorganization increases stability of the C3 convertase and facilitates recruitment of fluid-phase C3 convertase to the cell surfaces. Our model explains how properdin mediates the assembly of stabilized C3/C5-convertase clusters, which helps to localize complement amplification to pathogen surfaces.
Project description:Common polymorphisms in complement alternative pathway (AP) proteins C3 (C3(R102G)), factor B (fB(R32Q)), and factor H (fH(V62I)) are associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other pathologies. Our published work showed that fB(R32Q) influences C3 convertase formation, whereas fH(V62I) affects factor I cofactor activity. Here we show how C3(R102G) (C3S/F) influences AP activity. In hemolysis assays, C3(102G) activated AP more efficiently (EC(50) C3(102G): 157 nM; C3(102R): 191 nM; P < 0.0001). fB binding kinetics and convertase stability were identical, but native and recombinant fH bound more strongly to C3b(102R) (K(D) C3b(102R): 1.0 μM; C3b(102G): 1.4 μM; P < 0.0001). Accelerated decay was unaltered, but fH cofactor activity was reduced for C3b(102G), favoring AP amplification. Combining disease "risk" variants (C3(102G), fB(32R), and fH(62V)) in add-back assays yielded sixfold higher hemolytic activity compared with "protective" variants (C3(102R), fB(32Q), and fH(62I); P < 0.0001). These data introduce the concept of a functional complotype (combination of polymorphisms) defining complement activity in an individual, thereby influencing susceptibility to AP-driven disease.
Project description:Complement acts as a danger-sensing system in the innate immune system, and its activation initiates a strong inflammatory response and cleavage of the proteins C3 and C5 by proteolytic enzymes, the convertases. These contain a non-catalytic substrate contacting subunit (C3b or C4b) in complex with a protease subunit (Bb or C2a). We determined the crystal structures of the C3b homologue cobra venom factor (CVF) in complex with C5, and in complex with C5 and the inhibitor SSL7 at 4.3 Å resolution. The structures reveal a parallel two-point attachment between C5 and CVF, where the presence of SSL7 only slightly affects the C5-CVF interface, explaining the IgA dependence for SSL7-mediated inhibition of C5 cleavage. CVF functions as a relatively rigid binding scaffold inducing a conformational change in C5, which positions its cleavage site in proximity to the serine protease Bb. A general model for substrate recognition by the convertases is presented based on the C5-CVF and C3b-Bb-SCIN structures. Prior knowledge concerning interactions between the endogenous convertases and their substrates is rationalized by this model.