Origin of the classical complement pathway: Lamprey orthologue of mammalian C1q acts as a lectin.
ABSTRACT: The lectin complement pathway in innate immunity is closely related to the classical complement pathway in adaptive immunity, with respect to the structures and functions of their components. Both pathways are initiated by complexes consisting of collagenous proteins and serine proteases of the mannose-binding lectin (MBL)-associated serine protease (MASP)/C1r/C1s family. It has been speculated that the classical pathway emerged after the lectin pathway, and that the activation mechanism of the latter was partially conserved. The classical and lectin pathways can be traced back to at least cartilaginous fish and ascidian (urochordata), respectively. To elucidate the evolution of the complement system, we isolated and characterized a GlcNAc-binding lectin from sera of lamprey (agnathans), the most primitive vertebrate that lacks the classical pathway. Lamprey GlcNAc-binding lectin was an oligomer consisting of 24-kDa subunits. cDNA and phylogenetic analyses revealed that the lamprey GlcNAc-binding lectin is an orthologue of mammalian C1q, a collagenous subcomponent of the first component involved in binding to immunoglobulins in the classical pathway. Lamprey C1q copurified with MASP-A, a serine protease of the MASP/C1r/C1s family, which exhibited proteolytic activity against lamprey C3. Surface plasmon resonance analysis showed that lamprey C1q specifically bound to GlcNAc, but not various other carbohydrates tested. These results suggest that C1q may have emerged as a lectin and may have functioned as an initial recognition molecule of the complement system in innate immunity before the establishment of adaptive immunity such as immunoglobulins in the cartilaginous fish.
Project description:Understanding the structural organisation and mode of action of the initiating complex of the classical pathway of complement activation (C1) has been a central goal in complement biology since its isolation almost 50 years ago. Nevertheless, knowledge is still incomplete, especially with regard to the interactions between its subcomponents C1q, C1r and C1s that trigger activation upon binding to a microbial target. Recent studies have provided new insights into these interactions, and have revealed unexpected parallels with initiating complexes of the lectin pathway of complement: MBL-MASP and ficolin-MASP. Here, we develop and expand these concepts and delineate their implications towards the key aspects of complement activation via the classical and lectin pathways.
Project description:The classical and lectin pathways of complement activation neutralize pathogens and stimulate key immunological processes. Both pathways are initiated by collagen-containing, soluble pattern recognition molecules associated with specific serine proteases. In the classical pathway, C1q binds to Ab-Ag complexes or bacterial surfaces to activate C1r and C1s. In the lectin pathway, mannan-binding lectin and ficolins bind to carbohydrates on pathogens to activate mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease 2. To characterize the interactions leading to classical pathway activation, we have analyzed binding between human C1q, C1r, and C1s, which associate to form C1, using full-length and truncated protease components. We show that C1r and C1s bind to C1q independently. The CUB1-epidermal growth factor fragments contribute most toward binding, but CUB2 of C1r, but not of C1s, is also important. Each C1rs tetramer presents a total of six binding sites, one for each of the collagenous domains of C1q. We also demonstrate that subcomponents of the lectin and classical pathways cross-interact. Thus, although the stoichiometries of complexes differ, interactions are analogous, with equivalent contacts between recognition and protease subcomponents. Importantly, these new data are contrary to existing models of C1 and enable us to propose a new model using mannan-binding lectin-mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease interactions as a template.
Project description:Recent studies have revealed profound developmental consequences of mutations in genes encoding proteins of the lectin pathway of complement activation, a central component of the innate immune system. Apart from impairment of immunity against microorganisms, it is known that hereditary deficiencies of this system predispose one to autoimmune conditions. Polymorphisms in complement genes are linked to, for example, atypical hemolytic uremia and age-dependent macular degeneration. The complement system comprises three convergent pathways of activation: the classical, the alternative, and the lectin pathway. The recently discovered lectin pathway is less studied, but polymorphisms in the plasma pattern-recognition molecule mannan-binding lectin (MBL) are known to impact its level, and polymorphisms in the MBL-associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2) result in defects of complement activation. Recent studies have described roles outside complement and immunity of another MBL-associated serine protease, MASP-3, in the etiology of 3MC syndrome, an autosomal-recessive disorder involving a spectrum of developmental features, including characteristic facial dysmorphism. Syndrome-causing mutations were identified in MASP1, encoding MASP-3 and two additional proteins, MASP-1 and MAp44. Furthermore, an association was discovered between 3MC syndrome and mutations in COLEC11, encoding CL-K1, another molecule of the lectin pathway. The findings were confirmed in zebrafish, indicating that MASP-3 and CL-K1 underlie an evolutionarily conserved pathway of embryonic development. Along with the discovery of a role of C1q in pruning synapses in mice, these recent advances point toward a broader role of complement in development. Here, we compare the functional immunologic consequences of "conventional" complement deficiencies with these newly described developmental roles.
Project description:Complement component C1, the complex that initiates the classical pathway of complement activation, is a 790-kDa assembly formed from the target-recognition subcomponent C1q and the modular proteases C1r and C1s. The proteases are elongated tetramers that become more compact when they bind to the collagen-like domains of C1q. Here, we describe a series of structures that reveal how the subcomponents associate to form C1. A complex between C1s and a collagen-like peptide containing the C1r/C1s-binding motif of C1q shows that the collagen binds to a shallow groove via a critical lysine side chain that contacts Ca(2+)-coordinating residues. The data explain the Ca(2+)-dependent binding mechanism, which is conserved in C1r and also in mannan-binding lectin-associated serine proteases, the serine proteases of the lectin pathway activation complexes. In an accompanying structure, C1s forms a compact ring-shaped tetramer featuring a unique head-to-tail interaction at its center that replicates the likely arrangement of C1r/C1s polypeptides in the C1 complex. Additional structures reveal how C1s polypeptides are positioned to enable activation by C1r and interaction with the substrate C4 inside the cage-like assembly formed by the collagenous stems of C1q. Together with previously determined structures of C1r fragments, the results reported here provide a structural basis for understanding the early steps of complement activation via the classical pathway.
Project description:Recent identification of a C3-like gene in sea urchins revealed the presence of a complement system in invertebrates. To elucidate further the components and function of the pre-vertebrate complement system, we attempted to isolate an ascidian (urochordata) C3 convertase. After identification of C3 cDNA from Halocynthia roretzi, a Japanese ascidian, reverse transcriptase-PCR amplification of hepatopancreas RNA was performed using primers encoding highly conserved amino acid sequences of the vertebrate Bf and C2 serine protease domain. Two candidate sequences were identified, and the corresponding cDNA clones were isolated from a hepatopancreas library. Surprisingly, neither clone is related to Bf/C2 but rather share the same domain structure of mammalian C1r/C1s/MASP (mannan binding protein-associated serine protease), and are more related evolutionarily to mammalian MASP than to mammalian C1r or C1s. The identification of the tunicate MASP clones, amplified with primers designed to amplify Bf or C2, suggests that the lectin pathway antedated the classical and alternative pathways of complement activation.
Project description:The complement system plays a key role in host defense against pneumococcal infection. Three different pathways, the classical, alternative and lectin pathways, mediate complement activation. While there is limited information available on the roles of the classical and the alternative activation pathways of complement in fighting streptococcal infection, little is known about the role of the lectin pathway, mainly due to the lack of appropriate experimental models of lectin pathway deficiency. We have recently established a mouse strain deficient of the lectin pathway effector enzyme mannan-binding lectin associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2) and shown that this mouse strain is unable to form the lectin pathway specific C3 and C5 convertases. Here we report that MASP-2 deficient mice (which can still activate complement via the classical pathway and the alternative pathway) are highly susceptible to pneumococcal infection and fail to opsonize Streptococcus pneumoniae in the none-immune host. This defect in complement opsonisation severely compromises pathogen clearance in the lectin pathway deficient host. Using sera from mice and humans with defined complement deficiencies, we demonstrate that mouse ficolin A, human L-ficolin, and collectin 11 in both species, but not mannan-binding lectin (MBL), are the pattern recognition molecules that drive lectin pathway activation on the surface of S. pneumoniae. We further show that pneumococcal opsonisation via the lectin pathway can proceed in the absence of C4. This study corroborates the essential function of MASP-2 in the lectin pathway and highlights the importance of MBL-independent lectin pathway activation in the host defense against pneumococci.
Project description:The complement system is an important antimicrobial and inflammation-generating component of the innate immune system. The classical pathway of complement is activated upon binding of the 774-kDa C1 complex, consisting of the recognition molecule C1q and the tetrameric protease complex C1r2s2, to a variety of activators presenting specific molecular patterns such as IgG- and IgM-containing immune complexes. A canonical model entails a C1r2s2 with its serine protease domains tightly packed together in the center of C1 and an intricate intramolecular reaction mechanism for activation of C1r and C1s, induced upon C1 binding to the activator. Here, we show that the serine protease domains of C1r and C1s are located at the periphery of the C1r2s2 tetramer both when alone or within the nonactivated C1 complex. Our structural studies indicate that the C1 complex adopts a conformation incompatible with intramolecular activation of C1, suggesting instead that intermolecular proteolytic activation between neighboring C1 complexes bound to a complement activating surface occurs. Our results rationalize how a multitude of structurally unrelated molecular patterns can activate C1 and suggests a conserved mechanism for complement activation through the classical and the related lectin pathway.
Project description:The long pentraxin 3 (PTX3), serum amyloid P component (SAP), and C-reactive protein belong to the pentraxin family of pattern recognition molecules involved in tissue homeostasis and innate immunity. They interact with C1q from the classical complement pathway. Whether this also occurs via the analogous mannose-binding lectin (MBL) from the lectin complement pathway is unknown. Thus, we investigated the possible interaction between MBL and the pentraxins. We report that MBL bound PTX3 and SAP partly via its collagen-like domain but not C-reactive protein. MBL-PTX3 complex formation resulted in recruitment of C1q, but this was not seen for the MBL-SAP complex. However, both MBL-PTX3 and MBL-SAP complexes enhanced C4 and C3 deposition and opsonophagocytosis of Candida albicans by polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Interaction between MBL and PTX3 led to communication between the lectin and classical complement pathways via recruitment of C1q, whereas SAP-enhanced complement activation occurs via a hitherto unknown mechanism. Taken together, MBL-pentraxin heterocomplexes trigger cross-activation of the complement system.
Project description:Scabies is an infectious skin disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei and has been classified as one of the six most prevalent epidermal parasitic skin diseases infecting populations living in poverty by the World Health Organisation. The role of the complement system, a pivotal component of human innate immunity, as an important defence against invading pathogens has been well documented and many parasites have an arsenal of anti-complement defences. We previously reported on a family of scabies mite proteolytically inactive serine protease paralogues (SMIPP-Ss) thought to be implicated in host defence evasion. We have since shown that two family members, SMIPP-S D1 and I1 have the ability to bind the human complement components C1q, mannose binding lectin (MBL) and properdin and are capable of inhibiting all three human complement pathways. This investigation focused on inhibition of the lectin pathway of complement activation as it is likely to be the primary pathway affecting scabies mites. Activation of the lectin pathway relies on the activation of MBL, and as SMIPP-S D1 and I1 have previously been shown to bind MBL, the nature of this interaction was examined using binding and mutagenesis studies. SMIPP-S D1 bound MBL in complex with MBL-associated serine proteases (MASPs) and released the MASP-2 enzyme from the complex. SMIPP-S I1 was also able to bind MBL in complex with MASPs, but MASP-1 and MASP-2 remained in the complex. Despite these differences in mechanism, both molecules inhibited activation of complement components downstream of MBL. Mutagenesis studies revealed that both SMIPP-Ss used an alternative site of the molecule from the residual active site region to inhibit the lectin pathway. We propose that SMIPP-Ss are potent lectin pathway inhibitors and that this mechanism represents an important tool in the immune evasion repertoire of the parasitic mite and a potential target for therapeutics.
Project description:Pentraxins and complement defense collagens are soluble recognition proteins that sense pathogens and altered-self elements, and trigger immune responses including complement activation. PTX3 has been shown to interact with the globular recognition domains (gC1q) of the C1q protein of the classical complement pathway, thereby modulating complement activity. The C1q-PTX3 interaction has been characterized previously by site-specific mutagenesis using individual gC1q domains of each of the three C1q chains. The present study is aimed at revisiting this knowledge taking advantage of full-length recombinant C1q. Four mutations targeting exposed amino acid residues in the gC1q domain of each of the C1q chains (LysA200Asp-LysA201Asp, ArgB108Asp-ArgB109Glu, TyrB175Leu, and LysC170Glu) were introduced in recombinant C1q and the interaction properties of the mutants were analyzed using surface plasmon resonance. All C1q mutants retained binding to C1r and C1s proteases and mannose-binding lectin-associated serine proteases, indicating that the mutations did not affect the function of the collagen-like regions of C1q. The effect of these mutations on the interaction of C1q with PTX3 and IgM, and both the PTX3- and IgM-mediated activation of the classical complement pathway were investigated. The LysA200Asp-LysA201Asp and LysC170Glu mutants retained partial interaction with PTX3 and IgM, however they triggered efficient complement activation. In contrast, the ArgB108Asp-ArgB109Glu mutation abolished C1q binding to PTX3 and IgM, and significantly decreased complement activation. The TyrB175Leu mutant exhibited decreased PTX3- and IgM-dependent complement activation. Therefore, we provided evidence that, in the context of the full length C1q protein, a key contribution to the interaction with both PTX3 and IgM is given by the B chain Arg residues that line the side of the gC1q heterotrimer, with a minor participation of a Lys residue located at the apex of gC1q. Furthermore, we generated recombinant forms of the human PTX3 protein bearing either D or A at position 48, a polymorphic site of clinical relevance in a number of infections, and observed that both allelic variants equally recognized C1q.