Structure of complement C6 suggests a mechanism for initiation and unidirectional, sequential assembly of membrane attack complex (MAC).
ABSTRACT: The complement membrane attack complex (MAC) is formed by the sequential assembly of C5b with four homologous proteins as follows: one copy each of C6, C7, and C8 and 12-14 copies of C9. Together these form a lytic pore in bacterial membranes. C6 through C9 comprise a MAC-perforin domain flanked by 4-9 "auxiliary" domains. Here, we report the crystal structure of C6, the first and longest of the pore proteins to be recruited by C5b. Comparisons with the structures of the C8??? heterodimer and perforin show that the central domain of C6 adopts a "closed" (perforin-like) state that is distinct from the "open" conformations in C8. We further show that C6, C8?, and C8? contain three homologous subdomains ("upper," "lower," and "regulatory") related by rotations about two hinge points. In C6, the regulatory segment includes four auxiliary domains that stabilize the closed conformation, inhibiting release of membrane-inserting elements. In C8?, rotation of the regulatory segment is linked to an opening of the central ?-sheet of its clockwise partner, C8?. Based on these observations, we propose a model for initiation and unidirectional propagation of the MAC in which the auxiliary domains play key roles: in the assembly of the C5b-8 initiation complex; in driving and regulating the opening of the ?-sheet of the MAC-performin domain of each new recruit as it adds to the growing pore; and in stabilizing the final pore. Our model of the assembled pore resembles those of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysins but is distinct from that recently proposed for perforin.
Project description:The complement membrane attack complex (MAC) forms transmembrane pores in pathogen membranes. The first step in MAC assembly is cleavage of C5 to generate metastable C5b, which forms a stable complex with C6, termed C5b-6. C5b-6 initiates pore formation via the sequential recruitment of homologous proteins: C7, C8, and 12-18 copies of C9, each of which comprises a central MAC-perforin domain flanked by auxiliary domains. We recently proposed a model of pore assembly, in which the auxiliary domains play key roles, both in stabilizing the closed conformation of the protomers and in driving the sequential opening of the MAC-perforin β-sheet of each new recruit to the growing pore. Here, we describe an atomic model of C5b-6 at 4.2 Å resolution. We show that C5b provides four interfaces for the auxiliary domains of C6. The largest interface is created by the insertion of an interdomain linker from C6 into a hydrophobic groove created by a major reorganization of the α-helical domain of C5b. In combination with the rigid body docking of N-terminal elements of both proteins, C5b becomes locked into a stable conformation. Both C6 auxiliary domains flanking the linker pack tightly against C5b. The net effect is to induce the clockwise rigid body rotation of four auxiliary domains, as well as the opening/twisting of the central β-sheet of C6, in the directions predicted by our model to activate or prime C6 for the subsequent steps in MAC assembly. The complex also suggests novel small molecule strategies for modulating pathological MAC assembly.
Project description:C8 is one of five complement proteins that assemble on bacterial membranes to form the lethal pore-like "membrane attack complex" (MAC) of complement. The MAC consists of one C5b, C6, C7, and C8 and 12-18 molecules of C9. C8 is composed of three genetically distinct subunits, C8?, C8?, and C8?. The C6, C7, C8?, C8?, and C9 proteins are homologous and together comprise the MAC family of proteins. All contain N- and C-terminal modules and a central 40-kDa membrane attack complex perforin (MACPF) domain that has a key role in forming the MAC pore. Here, we report the 2.5 Å resolution crystal structure of human C8 purified from blood. This is the first structure of a MAC family member and of a human MACPF-containing protein. The structure shows the modules in C8? and C8? are located on the periphery of C8 and not likely to interact with the target membrane. The C8? subunit, a member of the lipocalin family of proteins that bind and transport small lipophilic molecules, shows no occupancy of its putative ligand-binding site. C8? and C8? are related by a rotation of ?22° with only a small translational component along the rotation axis. Evolutionary arguments suggest the geometry of binding between these two subunits is similar to the arrangement of C9 molecules within the MAC pore. This leads to a model of the MAC that explains how C8-C9 and C9-C9 interactions could facilitate refolding and insertion of putative MACPF transmembrane ?-hairpins to form a circular pore.
Project description:Activation of the complement system results in formation of membrane attack complexes (MACs), pores that disrupt lipid bilayers and lyse bacteria and other pathogens. Here, we present the crystal structure of the first assembly intermediate, C5b6, together with a cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction of a soluble, regulated form of the pore, sC5b9. Cleavage of C5 to C5b results in marked conformational changes, distinct from those observed in the homologous C3-to-C3b transition. C6 captures this conformation, which is preserved in the larger sC5b9 assembly. Together with antibody labeling, these structures reveal that complement components associate through sideways alignment of the central MAC-perforin (MACPF) domains, resulting in a C5b6-C7-C8?-C8?-C9 arc. Soluble regulatory proteins below the arc indicate a potential dual mechanism in protection from pore formation. These results provide a structural framework for understanding MAC pore formation and regulation, processes important for fighting infections and preventing complement-mediated tissue damage.
Project description:The membrane attack complex (MAC) is a hetero-oligomeric protein assembly that kills pathogens by perforating their cell envelopes. The MAC is formed by sequential assembly of soluble complement proteins C5b, C6, C7, C8 and C9, but little is known about the rate-limiting steps in this process. Here, we use rapid atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging to show that MAC proteins oligomerize within the membrane, unlike structurally homologous bacterial pore-forming toxins. C5b-7 interacts with the lipid bilayer prior to recruiting C8. We discover that incorporation of the first C9 is the kinetic bottleneck of MAC formation, after which rapid C9 oligomerization completes the pore. This defines the kinetic basis for MAC assembly and provides insight into how human cells are protected from bystander damage by the cell surface receptor CD59, which is offered a maximum temporal window to halt the assembly at the point of C9 insertion.
Project description:Terminal complement membrane attack complex (MAC) formation is induced initially by C5b, followed by the sequential condensation of the C6, C7, C8. Polymerization of C9 to the C5b-8 complex forms the C5b-9 (or MAC). The C5b-9 forms lytic or non lytic pores in the cell membrane destroys membrane integrity. The biological functionalities of MAC has been previously investigated by using either the mice deficient in C5 and C6, or MAC's regulator CD59. However, there is no available C9 deficient mice (mC9(-/-)) for directly dissecting the role of C5b-9 in the pathogenesis of human diseases. Further, since C5b-7 and C5b-8 complexes form non lytic pore, it may also plays biological functionality. To better understand the role of terminal complement cascades, here we report a successful generation of mC9(-/-). We demonstrated that lack of C9 attenuates anti-erythrocyte antibody-mediated hemolysis or LPS-induced acute shock. Further, the rescuing effect on the acute shock correlates with the less release of IL-1? in mC9(-/-), which is associated with suppression of MAC-mediated inflammasome activation in mC9(-/-). Taken together, these results not only confirm the critical role of C5b-9 in complement-mediated hemolysis and but also highlight the critical role of C5b-9 in inflammasome activation.
Project description:Human C8 is one of five complement components (C5b, C6, C7, C8, and C9) that assemble on bacterial membranes to form a porelike structure referred to as the "membrane attack complex" (MAC). C8 contains three genetically distinct subunits (C8 alpha, C8 beta, C8 gamma) arranged as a disulfide-linked C8 alpha-gamma dimer that is noncovalently associated with C8 beta. C6, C7 C8 alpha, C8 beta, and C9 are homologous. All contain N- and C-terminal modules and an intervening 40-kDa segment referred to as the membrane attack complex/perforin (MACPF) domain. The C8 gamma subunit is unrelated and belongs to the lipocalin family of proteins that display a beta-barrel fold and generally bind small, hydrophobic ligands. Several hundred proteins with MACPF domains have been identified based on sequence similarity; however, the structure and function of most are unknown. Crystal structures of the secreted bacterial protein Plu-MACPF and the human C8 alpha MACPF domain were recently reported and both display a fold similar to those of the bacterial pore-forming cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs). In the present study, we determined the crystal structure of the human C8 alpha MACPF domain disulfide-linked to C8 gamma (alphaMACPF-gamma) at 2.15 A resolution. The alphaMACPF portion has the predicted CDC-like fold and shows two regions of interaction with C8 gamma. One is in a previously characterized 19-residue insertion (indel) in C8 alpha and fills the entrance to the putative C8 gamma ligand-binding site. The second is a hydrophobic pocket that makes contact with residues on the side of the C8 gamma beta-barrel. The latter interaction induces conformational changes in alphaMACPF that are likely important for C8 function. Also observed is structural conservation of the MACPF signature motif Y/W-G-T/S-H-F/Y-X(6)-G-G in alphaMACPF and Plu-MACPF, and conservation of several key glycine residues known to be important for refolding and pore formation by CDCs.
Project description:An important effector function of the human complement system is to directly kill Gram-negative bacteria via Membrane Attack Complex (MAC) pores. MAC pores are assembled when surface-bound convertase enzymes convert C5 into C5b, which together with C6, C7, C8 and multiple copies of C9 forms a transmembrane pore that damages the bacterial cell envelope. Recently, we found that bacterial killing by MAC pores requires local conversion of C5 by surface-bound convertases. In this study we aimed to understand why local assembly of MAC pores is essential for bacterial killing. Here, we show that rapid interaction of C7 with C5b6 is required to form bactericidal MAC pores on Escherichia coli. Binding experiments with fluorescently labelled C6 show that C7 prevents release of C5b6 from the bacterial surface. Moreover, trypsin shaving experiments and atomic force microscopy revealed that this rapid interaction between C7 and C5b6 is crucial to efficiently anchor C5b-7 to the bacterial cell envelope and form complete MAC pores. Using complement-resistant clinical E. coli strains, we show that bacterial pathogens can prevent complement-dependent killing by interfering with the anchoring of C5b-7. While C5 convertase assembly was unaffected, these resistant strains blocked efficient anchoring of C5b-7 and thus prevented stable insertion of MAC pores into the bacterial cell envelope. Altogether, these findings provide basic molecular insights into how bactericidal MAC pores are assembled and how bacteria evade MAC-dependent killing.
Project description:The effect of nine monoclonal antibodies to complement component C8 on the interaction of C9 with preformed cell-surface C5b-8 complexes and on the functional insertion of C8 into the membrane-attack complex (MAC) was investigated. None of the antibodies prevented C9 insertion into a preformed C5b-8 complex. One antibody (F1) directed to the C8 alpha subunit clearly inhibited formation of a functional MAC. It is proposed that this antibody prevents the C8 alpha subunit unfolding and distorting the bilayer to allow C9 insertion.
Project description:Human C8 and C9 have a key role in forming the pore-like "membrane attack complex" (MAC) of complement on bacterial cells. A possible mechanism for membrane insertion of these proteins was suggested when studies revealed a structural similarity between the MACPF domains of the C8? and C8? subunits and the pore-forming bacterial cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs). This similarity includes a pair of ?-helical bundles that in the CDCs refold during pore formation to produce two transmembrane ?-hairpins (TMH1 and TMH2). C9 is the major pore-forming component of the MAC and is also likely to contain two TMH segments because of its homology to C8? and C8?. To determine their potential for membrane insertion, the TMH sequences in C8? and those predicted to be in C9 were substituted for the TMH sequences in perfringolysin O (PFO), a well-characterized CDC. Only chimeric proteins containing TMH2 from C8? (PFO/?T2) or C9 (PFO/C9T2) could be expressed in soluble, active form. The PFO/?T2 and PFO/C9T2 chimeras retained significant hemolytic activity, formed pore-like structures on membranes, and could combine with PFO to form hemolytically active mixed complexes that were functionally similar to PFO alone. These results provide experimental evidence in support of the hypothesis that TMH segments in C8? and those predicted to be in C9 have a direct role in MAC membrane penetration and pore formation.
Project description:Target cell lysis by complement is achieved by the assembly and insertion of the membrane attack complex (MAC) composed of glycoproteins C5b through C9. The lytic activity of shark complement involves functional analogues of mammalian C8 and C9. Mammalian C8 is composed of alpha, beta, and gamma subunits. The subunit structure of shark C8 is not known. This report describes a 2341 nucleotide sequence that translates into a polypeptide of 589 amino acid residues, orthologue to mammalian C8alpha and has the same modular architecture with conserved cysteines forming the peptide bond backbone. The C8gamma-binding cysteine is conserved in the perforin-like domain. Hydrophobicity profile indicates the presence of hydrophobic residues essential for membrane insertion. It shares 41.1% and 47.4% identity with human and Xenopus C8alpha respectively. Southern blot analysis showed GcC8alpha exists as a single copy gene expressed in most tissues except the spleen with the liver being the main site of synthesis. Phylogenetic analysis places it in a clade with C8alpha orthologs and as a sister taxa to the Xenopus.