[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The second component of complement (C2) is a multi-domain serine protease that provides catalytic activity for the C3 and C5 convertases of the classical and lectin pathways of human complement. The formation of these convertases requires the Mg(2+)-dependent binding of C2 to C4b and the subsequent cleavage of C2 by C1s or MASP2, respectively. The crystal structure of full-length C2 is not yet available, although the structure of its C-terminal catalytic segment C2a has been determined. The crystal structure of the N-terminal segment C2b of C2 determined to 1.8 A resolution presented here reveals the arrangement of its three CCP domains. The domains are arranged differently compared with most other CCP-domain assemblies, but their arrangement is similar to that found in the Ba part of the full-length factor B structure. The crystal structures of C2a, C2b and full-length factor B are used to generate a model for C2 and a discussion of the domain association and possible interactions with C4b during formation of the C4b-C2 complex is presented. The results of this study also suggest that upon cleavage by C1s, C2a domains undergo conformational rotation while bound to C4b and the released C2b domains may remain folded together similar to as observed in the intact protein.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The multi-domain serine protease C2 provides the catalytic activity for the C3 and C5- convertases of the classical and lectin pathways of complement activation. Formation of these convertases requires the Mg(2+)-dependent binding of C2 to C4b, and the subsequent cleavage of C2 by C1s or MASP2, respectively. The C-terminal fragment C2a consisting of a serine protease (SP) and a von Willebrand factor type A (vWFA) domain, remains attached to C4b, forming the C3 convertase, C4b2a. Here, we present the crystal structure of Mg(2+)-bound C2a to 1.9 A resolution in comparison to its homolog Bb, the catalytic subunit of the alternative pathway C3 convertase, C3bBb. Although the overall domain arrangement of C2a is similar to Bb, there are certain structural differences. Unexpectedly, the conformation of the metal ion-dependent adhesion site and the position of the alpha7 helix of the vWFA domain indicate a co-factor-bound or open conformation. The active site of the SP domain is in a zymogen-like inactive conformation. On the basis of these structural features, we suggest a model for the initial steps of C3 convertase assembly.
Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2007; 367(1):224-33. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human complement system is an important component of innate immunity. Complement-derived products mediate functions contributing to pathogen killing and elimination. However, inappropriate activation of the system contributes to the pathogenesis of immunological and inflammatory diseases. Complement component 3 (C3) occupies a central position because of the manifold biological activities of its activation fragments, including the major fragment, C3b, which anchors the assembly of convertases effecting C3 and C5 activation. C3 is converted to C3b by proteolysis of its anaphylatoxin domain, by either of two C3 convertases. This activates a stable thioester bond, leading to the covalent attachment of C3b to cell-surface or protein-surface hydroxyl groups through transesterification. The cleavage and activation of C3 exposes binding sites for factors B, H and I, properdin, decay accelerating factor (DAF, CD55), membrane cofactor protein (MCP, CD46), complement receptor 1 (CR1, CD35) and viral molecules such as vaccinia virus complement-control protein. C3b associates with these molecules in different configurations and forms complexes mediating the activation, amplification and regulation of the complement response. Structures of C3 and C3c, a fragment derived from the proteolysis of C3b, have revealed a domain configuration, including six macroglobulin domains (MG1-MG6; nomenclature follows ref. 5) arranged in a ring, termed the beta-ring. However, because neither C3 nor C3c is active in complement activation and regulation, questions about function can be answered only through direct observations on C3b. Here we present a structure of C3b that reveals a marked loss of secondary structure in the CUB (for 'complement C1r/C1s, Uegf, Bmp1') domain, which together with the resulting translocation of the thioester domain provides a molecular basis for conformational changes accompanying the conversion of C3 to C3b. The total conformational changes make many proposed ligand-binding sites more accessible and create a cavity that shields target peptide bonds from access by factor I. A covalently bound N-acetyl-l-threonine residue demonstrates the geometry of C3b attachment to surface hydroxyl groups.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sera and synovial fluids from 88 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were examined for circulating immune complexes by three assays: monoclonal rheumatoid factor radioimmunoassay, Clq binding assay, and Raji cell radioassay. Paired samples were available for 82 patients. Immune complexes were detected with high frequency in the synovial fluid by each assay (75% by the monoclonal rheumatoid factor radioimmunoassay, 95% by the Clq binding assay, and 61% by the Raji cell radioassay). In rheumatoid arthritis sera, immune complexes were detected with high frequency by the Clq binding assay (85%) and the monoclonal rheumatoid factor radioimmunoassay (70%) but infrequently by the Raji cell radioassay (26%). The presence of immune complexes in serum was most frequently accompanied by the presence of complexes in fluid, regardless of the method of detection; moreover, the levels of immune complexes in synovial fluid were generally higher than in paired serum. Further, the levels of immune complexes as measured by the Clq binding assay correlated with certain parameters of clinical activity, while the monoclonal rheumatoid factor radioimmunoassay and Raji cell radioassay correlated with extraarticular features (excluding nodules) of rheumatoid arthritis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The availability of the human genome sequence allowed us to identify a human complement-related, C1r-like protease gene (c1r-LP) located 2 kb centromeric of the C1r gene (c1r). Compared with c1r, c1r-LP carries a large deletion corresponding to exons 4-8 of c1r. The open reading frame of the C1r-LP cDNA predicts a 50 kDa modular protein displaying 52% amino acid residue identity with the corresponding regions of C1r and 75% identity with a previously described murine C1r-LP. The serine protease domain of C1r-LP, despite an overall similarity with the AGY group of complement serine proteases, has certain structural features characteristic of C2 and factor B, thus raising interesting evolutionary questions. Northern blotting demonstrated the expression of C1r-LP mRNA mainly in the liver and ELISA demonstrated the presence of the protein in human serum at a concentration of 5.5+/-0.9 microg/ml. Immunoprecipitation experiments failed to demonstrate an association of C1r-LP with the C1 complex in serum. Recombinant C1r-LP exhibits esterolytic activity against peptide thioesters with arginine at the P1 position, but its catalytic efficiency (kcat/K(m)) is lower than that of C1r and C1s. The enzymic activity of C1r-LP is inhibited by di-isopropyl fluorophosphate and also by C1 inhibitor, which forms stable complexes with the protease. Most importantly, C1r-LP also expresses proteolytic activity, cleaving pro-C1s into two fragments of sizes identical with those of the two chains of active C1s. Thus C1r-LP may provide a novel means for the formation of the classical pathway C3/C5 convertase.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C-terminal fragment, Bb, of factor B combines with C3b to form the pivotal C3-convertase, C3bBb, of alternative complement pathway. Bb consists of a von Willebrand factor type A (vWFA) domain that is structurally similar to the I domains of integrins and a serine protease (SP) domain that is in inactive conformation. The structure of the C3bBb complex would be important in deciphering the activation mechanism of the SP domain. However, C3bBb is labile and not amenable to X-ray diffraction studies. We engineered a disulfide bond in the vWFA domain of Bb homologous to that shown to lock I domains in active conformation. The crystal structures of Bb(C428-C435) and its inhibitor complexes reveal that the adoption of the "active" conformation by the vWFA domain is not sufficient to activate the C3-convertase catalytic apparatus and also provide insights into the possible mode of C3-convertase activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C-terminal fragment, Bb, of factor B combines with C3b to form the pivotal C3-convertase, C3bBb, of alternative complement pathway. Bb consists of a von Willebrand factor type A (vWFA) domain that is structurally similar to the I domains of integrins and a serine protease (SP) domain that is in inactive conformation. The structure of the C3bBb complex would be important in deciphering the activation mechanism of the SP domain. However, C3bBb is labile and not amenable to X-ray diffraction studies. We engineered a disulfide bond in the vWFA domain of Bb homologous to that shown to lock I domains in active conformation. The crystal structures of BbC428-C435 and its inhibitor complexes reveal that the adoption of the “active” conformation by the vWFA domain is not sufficient to activate the C3-convertase catalytic apparatus and also provide insights into the possible mode of C3-convertase activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human C-reactive protein (CRP) binds apoptotic cells and alters blood clearance of injected chromatin in mice. To test whether CRP participates in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we examined disease development in lupus-prone (NZB x NZW)F(1) (NZB/NZW) mice expressing a human CRP transgene (hCRPtg/BW).
Mortality was monitored, proteinuria was determined by dipstick, and serum levels of human CRP and anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in NZB/NZW and hCRPtg/BW mice. Thin sections of kidneys were analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy to compare deposition of IgG, IgM, C3, and human CRP, and electron microscopy was used to reveal differences in ultrastructure. In situ hybridization was performed to detect human CRP messenger RNA expression.
The hCRPtg/BW mice had less proteinuria and longer survival than NZB/NZW mice. They also had lower IgM and higher IgG anti-dsDNA titers than NZB/NZW mice, although the differences were transient and small. In hCRPtg/BW mice, accumulation of IgM and IgG in the renal glomeruli was delayed, reduced, and more mesangial than in NZB/NZW mice, while end-stage accumulation of IgG, IgM, and C3 in the renal cortex was prevented. There was less glomerular podocyte fusion, basement membrane thickening, mesangial cell proliferation, and occlusion of capillary lumens in hCRPtg/BW mice, but dense deposits in the mesangium were increased. With disease progression in hCRPtg/BW mice, there was little rise in the plasma CRP level, but CRP in the kidneys became increasingly apparent due to local, disease-independent, age-related expression of the transgene.
In hCRPtg/BW mice, CRP protects against SLE by increasing blood and mesangial clearance of immune complexes and by preventing their accumulation in the renal cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C1r and C1s are highly specific serine proteases that initiate the classical pathway of complement activation. We recently demonstrated that, in the mouse, the genes encoding these proteins are duplicated. Analysis of the 5'-flanking region of the murine C1rA gene, the homologue of human C1r, revealed the presence of a novel gene encoding a C1r-like protein (c1r-LP). Although this gene carries a large deletion, it shows an overall structure similar to that of c1rA, suggesting that it may have arisen from a duplication of the C1r gene. The c1r-LP gene is expressed primarily in the liver, and is not regulated by lipopolysaccharide. The open reading frame of full-length cDNA clones encodes a pre-protein with a calculated molecular mass of 50.6 kDa which, except for an internal deletion of several modules, has a modular organization similar to that of C1r and shows 51% overall amino acid identity to corresponding regions of C1rA. Western blot analysis demonstrates the presence of C1r-LP in mouse serum. The serine protease domain of C1r-LP displays 60% amino acid residue identity to that of C1rA, however, certain atypical features of the active center, and primarily the absence of the activation/cleavage site, suggest that C1r-LP is either an atypical enzyme, or it lacks proteolytic activity, perhaps serving a regulatory function in the classical pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C1r and C1s are the serine proteases that form the catalytic unit of the C1 complex, the first component of complement. In the present study, we found that the genes encoding murine C1r and C1s are duplicated. One set of these genes, referred to as c1rA and c1sA, are primarily expressed in the liver and are therefore the homologues of the human C1r and C1s genes. The other two genes, termed c1rB and c1sB, are expressed exclusively in male reproductive tissues, specifically the coagulating gland and the prostate. The predicted C1rB and C1sB proteins share 96 and 93% amino acid identity with C1rA and C1sA respectively. Most of the substitutions are clustered in the serine protease domains, suggesting differences in catalytic efficiencies and/or substrate specificities or alternatively adaptation to different physiological environments. The high homology of C1rB and C1sB with C1rA and C1sA in the non-catalytic regions indicates that they are probably capable of assembling the C1 complex. The expression of alternative genes encoding isomorphs of activating components of complement in male reproductive tissues raises the possibility of new mechanisms of complement activation in the male genital tract or of novel functions for complement proteases in reproduction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C1r, the enzyme responsible for intrinsic activation of the C1 complex of complement, is a modular serine protease featuring an overall structural organization homologous to those of C1s and the mannan-binding lectin-associated serine proteases (MASPs). This review will initially summarize current information on the structure and function of C1r, with particular emphasis on the three-dimensional structure of its catalytic domain, which provides new insights into the activation mechanism of C1. The second part of this review will focus on recent discoveries dealing with a truncated, C1r-related protein, and the occurrence in the mouse of two isoforms, C1rA and C1rB, exhibiting tissue-specific expression patterns.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C-reactive protein is a member of the pentraxin family of oligomeric serum proteins which has been conserved through evolution, homologues having been found in every species in which they have been sought. Human C-reactive protein (hCRP) is the classical acute-phase reactant produced in large amounts in response to tissue damage and inflammation and is used almost universally as a clinical indicator of infection and inflammation. The role of hCRP in host defence and the calcium-dependent ligand-binding specificity of hCRP for phosphocholine moieties have long been recognized. In order to clarify the structural rearrangements associated with calcium binding, the reported affinity of calcium-depleted hCRP for polycations and other ligands, and the role of calcium in protection against denaturation and proteolysis, the structure of calcium-depleted hCRP has been determined by X-ray crystallography. Crystals of calcium-depleted hCRP are invariably twinned and those suitable for analysis are merohedral type II twins of point group 4 single crystals. The structure has been solved by molecular replacement using the calcium-bound hCRP structure [Shrive et al. (1996), Nature Struct. Biol. 3, 346-354]. It reveals two independent pentamers which form a face-to-face decamer across a dyad near-parallel to the twinning twofold axis. Cycles of intensity deconvolution, density modification (tenfold NCS) and model building, eventually including refinement, give a final R factor of 0.19 (R(free) = 0.20). Despite poor definition in some areas arising from the limited resolution of the data and from the twinning and disorder, the structure reveals the probable mode of twinning and the conformational changes, localized in one of the calcium-binding loops, which accompany calcium binding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: C2 is a serum glycoprotein that is essential for activation of the classical and lectin pathways of the complement system. We reported previously that in transiently transfected COS cells, C2 accumulates in the endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC). Transfection with a cDNA corresponding to a variant C2 mRNA in which exon 17 is spliced out, C2Delta(17), resulted in retention of the mutant polypeptide in the ER. We now show that calnexin, a lectin-like chaperone, colocalizes with wild-type (wt) C2 and C2Delta(17). Biosynthetic labeling and sequential immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that colocalization is due to a physical association between calnexin and C2. Immunofluorescence analysis indicated that calnexin was upregulated in cells transfected with either C2 species. Upregulation of calnexin was not affected by castanospermine, which inhibits glucosidases I and II. However, castanospermine inhibited translocation of calnexin to the ERGIC in wt C2 transfected cells. Upregulation of calnexin was also observed in cells transfected with the complement protein factor B, a glycoprotein with extensive structural and functional similarities to C2, but not in cells transfected with complement proteins C3 or factor D, which have no structural similarity to C2, and low or no glycan content, respectively. Calnexin upregulation by transfection with C2 or factor B, but not factor D, was also demonstrated by quantitative analysis of calnexin immunoprecipitates from biosynthetically labeled cells. Increased calnexin expression by overexpressed C2 and factor B appears to be triggered either by the high glycan content of these proteins or, since it also occurs in the presence of castanospermine, by shared features of the structure of these two proteins.