Induced B7-H1 expression on human renal tubular epithelial cells by the sublytic terminal complement complex C5b-9.
ABSTRACT The co-inhibitory molecule B7-H1 has been broadly detectable on human inflammatory renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs) and is proposed to limit tubular damage through down-regulation of tubulointerstitial infiltration T cell activation. Nevertheless, factors that initiate B7-H1 expression on TECs remain unclarified. The terminal complement complex C5b-9, which deposits diffusely on tubules and glomerules of diseased kidneys, is now recognized as a mediator that triggers cellular activation rather than inducing cell death. Whether the up-regulation of B7-H1 on tubules is also induced by C5b-9 is uncertain. Here, after assembling functional sublytic C5b-9 on the membranes of TECs based on purified complement components, we found that B7-H1 gene transcription and protein synthesis was enhanced by C5b-9. Promoter constructs in a luciferase assay, site-directed mutagenesis and laser scanning confocal microscopy assay (LSCM) revealed that the transcription factor NF-kappaB is primarily responsible for C5b-9-mediated B7-H1 expression. To further detect the physiologic function of B7-H1, triggering B7-H1 with its agonist mAb (clone 5H1) profoundly enhanced Fas expression on C5b-9-treated TECs and thus induced TEC apoptosis. Interestingly, pretreatment of TECs with Fas blocking antibodies prevented this effect. Our results propose that C5b-9 regulates tubular pathogenesis in glomerulonephritis or other renal autoimmune diseases, possibly through enhances cell apoptosis mediated by B7-H1 signals, in addition to it directly promotes tubular damage.