Viral-derived complement inhibitors: current status and potential role in immunomodulation.
ABSTRACT: The complement system is one of the body's major innate immune defense mechanisms in vertebrates. Its function is to detect foreign bodies and promote their elimination through opsonisation or lysis. Complement proteins play an important role in the immunopathogenesis of several disorders. However, excessive complement activation does not confer more protection but instead leads to several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. With inappropriate activation of the complement system, activated complement proteins and glycoproteins may damage both healthy and diseased tissues. Development of complement inhibitors represents an effective approach in controlling dysregulated complement activity and reducing disease severity, yet few studies have investigated the nature and role of novel complement inhibitory proteins of viral origin. Viral complement inhibitors have important implications in understanding the importance of complement inhibition and their role as a promising novel therapeutic approach in diseases caused by dysregulated complement function. In this review, we discuss the role and importance of complement inhibitors derived from several viruses in the scope of human inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Project description:The neonatal fragment crystallizable (Fc) receptor (FcRn) functions as a recycling mechanism to prevent degradation and extend the half-life of IgG and albumin in the circulation. Several FcRn inhibitors selectively targeting IgG recycling are now moving rapidly toward clinical practice in neurology and hematology. These molecules accelerate the destruction of IgG, reducing pathogenic IgG and IgG immune complexes, with no anticipated effects on IgA, IgM, IgE, complement, plasma cells, B cells, or other cells of the innate or adaptive immune systems. FcRn inhibitors have potential for future use in a much wider variety of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases. Given the imminent clinical use, potential for broader utility, and novel mechanism of action of FcRn inhibitors, here we review data from 4 main sources: (a) currently available activity, safety, and mechanism-of-action data from clinical trials of FcRn inhibitors; (b) other procedures and treatments that also remove IgG (plasma donation, plasma exchange, immunoadsorption); (c) diseases resulting in loss of IgG; and (d) primary immunodeficiencies with potential mechanistic similarities to those induced by FcRn inhibitors. These data have been evaluated to provide practical considerations for the assessment, monitoring, and reduction of any potential infection risk associated with FcRn inhibition, in addition to highlighting areas for future research.
Project description:The complement system is an enzyme cascade that helps defend against infection. Many complement proteins occur in serum as inactive enzyme precursors or reside on cell surfaces. Complement components have many biologic functions and their activation can eventually damage the plasma membranes of cells and some bacteria. Although a direct link between complement activation and autoimmune diseases has not been found, there is increasing evidence that complement activation significantly contributes to the pathogenesis of a large number of inflammatory diseases that may have autoimmune linkage. The inhibition of complement may therefore be very important in a variety of autoimmune diseases since their activation may be detrimental to the individual involved. However, a complete and long-term inhibition of complement may have some contra side effects such as increased susceptibility to infection. The site of complement activation will, however, determine the type of inhibitor to be used, its route of application and dosage level. Compared with conventional drugs, complement inhibitors may be the best option for treatment of autoimmune diseases. The review takes a critical look at the relative merits of therapies being developed to tackle inappropriate complement activation that are likely to result in sporadic autoimmune diseases or worsen already existing one. It covers the complement system, general aspects of complement inhibition therapy, therapeutic strategies and examples of complement inhibitors. It concludes by highlighting on the possibility that a better inhibitor of complement activation when found will help provide a formidable treatment for autoimmune diseases as well as preventing one.
Project description:The complement system consists of a network of plasma and membrane proteins that modulate tissue homeostasis and contribute to immune surveillance by interacting with the innate and adaptive immune systems. Dysregulation, impairment or inadvertent activation of complement components contribute to the pathogenesis of some autoimmune neurological disorders and could even contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. In this Review, we summarize current knowledge about the main functions of the complement pathways and the involvement of complement in neurological disorders. We describe the complex network of complement proteins that target muscle, the neuromuscular junction, peripheral nerves, the spinal cord or the brain and discuss the autoimmune mechanisms of complement-mediated myopathies, myasthenia, peripheral neuropathies, neuromyelitis and other CNS disorders. We also consider the emerging role of complement in some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and even schizophrenia. Finally, we provide an overview of the latest complement-targeted immunotherapies including monoclonal antibodies, fusion proteins and peptidomimetics that have been approved, that are undergoing phase I–III clinical trials or that show promise for the treatment of neurological conditions that respond poorly to existing immunotherapies. In this Review, Dalakas et al. discuss the complement system, the role it plays in autoimmune neurological disease and neurodegenerative disease, and provide an overview of the latest therapeutics that target complement and that can be used for or have potential in neurological disorders. Key points Complement has an important physiological role in host immune defences and tissue remodelling. The physiological role of complement extends to the regulation of synaptic development. Complement has a key pathophysiological role in autoimmune neurological diseases and mediates the actions of pathogenic autoantibodies, such as acetylcholine receptor antibodies and aquaporin 4 antibodies. For some autoimmune neurological diseases, such as myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders, approved complement-targeted treatments are now available. Complement also seems to be of pathogenic relevance in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease, in which innate immune-driven inflammation is receiving increasing attention. The field of complement-targeted therapeutics is rapidly expanding, with several FDA-approved agents and others currently in phase II and phase III clinical trials.
Project description:The pathogenesis of schizophrenia is considered to be multi-factorial, with likely gene-environment interactions (GEI). Genetic and environmental risk factors are being identified with increasing frequency, yet their very number vastly increases the scope of possible GEI, making it difficult to identify them with certainty. Accumulating evidence suggests a dysregulated complement pathway among the pathogenic processes of schizophrenia. The complement pathway mediates innate and acquired immunity, and its activation drives the removal of damaged cells, autoantigens and environmentally derived antigens. Abnormalities in complement functions occur in many infectious and autoimmune disorders that have been linked to schizophrenia. Many older reports indicate altered serum complement activity in schizophrenia, though the data are inconclusive. Compellingly, recent genome-wide association studies suggest repeat polymorphisms incorporating the complement 4A (C4A) and 4B (C4B) genes as risk factors for schizophrenia. The C4A/C4B genetic associations have re-ignited interest not only in inflammation-related models for schizophrenia pathogenesis, but also in neurodevelopmental theories, because rodent models indicate a role for complement proteins in synaptic pruning and neurodevelopment. Thus, the complement system could be used as one of the 'staging posts' for a variety of focused studies of schizophrenia pathogenesis. They include GEI studies of the C4A/C4B repeat polymorphisms in relation to inflammation-related or infectious processes, animal model studies and tests of hypotheses linked to autoimmune diseases that can co-segregate with schizophrenia. If they can be replicated, such studies would vastly improve our understanding of pathogenic processes in schizophrenia through GEI analyses and open new avenues for therapy.
Project description:Autoimmune diseases reflect a breakdown in self-tolerance that results from defects in thymic deletion of potentially autoreactive T cells (central tolerance) and in T-cell intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that normally control potentially autoreactive T cells in the periphery (peripheral tolerance). The mechanisms leading to autoimmune diseases are multifactorial and depend on a complex combination of genetic, epigenetic, molecular, and cellular elements that result in pathogenic inflammatory responses in peripheral tissues driven by self-antigen-specific T cells. In this article, we describe the different checkpoints of tolerance that are defective in autoimmune diseases as well as specific events in the autoimmune response which represent therapeutic opportunities to restore long-term tolerance in autoimmune diseases. We present evidence for the role of different pathways in animal models and the therapeutic strategies targeting these pathways in clinical trials in autoimmune diseases.
Project description:The complement system is an elegantly regulated biochemical cascade formed by the collective molecular recognition properties and proteolytic activities of more than two dozen membrane-bound or serum proteins. Complement plays diverse roles in human physiology, such as acting as a sentry against invading microorganisms, priming of the adaptive immune response, and removal of immune complexes. However, dysregulation of complement can serve as a trigger for a wide range of human diseases, which include autoimmune, inflammatory, and degenerative conditions. Despite several potential advantages of modulating complement with small-molecule inhibitors, small-molecule drugs are highly underrepresented in the current complement-directed therapeutics pipeline. In this study, we have employed a cheminformatics drug discovery approach based on the extensive structural and functional knowledge available for the central proteolytic fragment of the cascade, C3b. Using parallel in silico screening methodologies, we identified 45 small molecules that putatively bind C3b near ligand-guided functional hot spots. Surface plasmon resonance experiments resulted in the validation of seven dose-dependent C3b-binding compounds. Competition-based biochemical assays demonstrated the ability of several C3b-binding compounds to interfere with binding of the original C3b ligand that guided their discovery. In vitro assays of complement function identified a single complement inhibitory compound, termed cmp-5, and mechanistic studies of the cmp-5 inhibitory mode revealed it acts at the level of C5 activation. This study has led to the identification of a promising new class of C3b-binding small-molecule complement inhibitors and, to our knowledge, provides the first demonstration of cheminformatics-based, complement-directed drug discovery.
Project description:As a key part of the innate immune system, complement plays an important role not only in defending against invading pathogens but also in many other biological processes. Inappropriate or excessive activation of complement has been linked to many autoimmune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as ischemia-reperfusion injury and cancer. A wide array of low molecular weight complement inhibitors has been developed to target various components of the complement cascade. Their efficacy has been demonstrated in numerous in vitro and in vivo experiments. Though none of these inhibitors has reached the market so far, some of them have entered clinical trials and displayed promising results. This review provides a brief overview of the currently developed low molecular weight complement inhibitors, including short peptides and synthetic small molecules, with an emphasis on those targeting components C1 and C3, and the anaphylatoxin receptors.
Project description:Cutaneous leukocytoclastic vasculitis arises from immune complex deposition and dysregulated complement activation in small blood vessels. There are many causes, including dysregulated host response to infection, drug reactions, and various autoimmune conditions. It is increasingly recognised that some monogenic autoinflammatory diseases cause vasculitis, although genetic causes of vasculitis are extremely rare. We describe a child of consanguineous parents who presented with chronic cutaneous leukocytoclastic vasculitis, recurrent upper respiratory tract infection, and hypocomplementaemia. A homozygous p.His380Arg mutation in the complement factor I (CFI) gene CFI was identified as the cause, resulting in complete absence of alternative complement pathway activity, decreased classical complement activity, and low levels of serum factor I, C3, and factor H. C4 and C2 levels were normal. The same homozygous mutation and immunological defects were also identified in an asymptomatic sibling. CFI deficiency is thus now added to the growing list of monogenic causes of vasculitis and should always be considered in vasculitis patients found to have persistently low levels of C3 with normal C4.
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:BACKGROUND:On a global scale scabies is one of the most common dermatological conditions, imposing a considerable economic burden on individuals, communities and health systems. There is substantial epidemiological evidence that in tropical regions scabies is often causing pyoderma and subsequently serious illness due to invasion by opportunistic bacteria. The health burden due to complicated scabies causing cellulitis, bacteraemia and sepsis, heart and kidney diseases in resource-poor communities is extreme. Co-infections of group A streptococcus (GAS) and scabies mites is a common phenomenon in the tropics. Both pathogens produce multiple complement inhibitors to overcome the host innate defence. We investigated the relative role of classical (CP), lectin (LP) and alternative pathways (AP) towards a pyodermic GAS isolate 88/30 in the presence of a scabies mite complement inhibitor, SMSB4. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Opsonophagocytosis assays in fresh blood showed baseline immunity towards GAS. The role of innate immunity was investigated by deposition of the first complement components of each pathway, specifically C1q, FB and MBL from normal human serum on GAS. C1q deposition was the highest followed by FB deposition while MBL deposition was undetectable, suggesting that CP and AP may be mainly activated by GAS. We confirmed this result using sera depleted of either C1q or FB, and serum deficient in MBL. Recombinant SMSB4 was produced and purified from Pichia pastoris. SMSB4 reduced the baseline immunity against GAS by decreasing the formation of CP- and AP-C3 convertases, subsequently affecting opsonisation and the release of anaphylatoxin. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our results indicate that the complement-inhibitory function of SMSB4 promotes the survival of GAS in vitro and inferably in the microenvironment of the mite-infested skin. Understanding the tripartite interactions between host, parasite and microbial pathogens at a molecular level may serve as a basis to develop improved intervention strategies targeting scabies and associated bacterial infections.