James M Kovacs

University of Colorado, Denver, CO, United States

Are you James M Kovacs?

Claim your profile

Publications (11)44.87 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During complement activation the C3 protein is cleaved, and C3 activation fragments are covalently fixed to tissues. Tissue-bound C3 fragments are a durable biomarker of tissue inflammation, and these fragments have been exploited as addressable binding ligands for targeted therapeutics and diagnostic agents. We have generated cross-reactive murine monoclonal antibodies against human and mouse C3d, the final C3 degradation fragment generated during complement activation. We developed 3 monoclonal antibodies (3d8b, 3d9a, and 3d29) that preferentially bind to the iC3b, C3dg, and C3d fragments in solution, but do not bind to intact C3 or C3b. The same 3 clones also bind to tissue-bound C3 activation fragments when injected systemically. Using mouse models of renal and ocular disease, we confirmed that, following systemic injection, the antibodies accumulated at sites of C3 fragment deposition within the glomerulus, the renal tubulointerstitium, and the posterior pole of the eye. To detect antibodies bound within the eye, we used optical imaging and observed accumulation of the antibodies within retinal lesions in a model of choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Our results demonstrate that imaging methods that use these antibodies may provide a sensitive means of detecting and monitoring complement activation-associated tissue inflammation.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 04/2013; · 15.39 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The interactions between the complement receptor type 2 (CR2) and the C3 complement fragments C3d, C3dg, and iC3b are essential for the initiation of a normal immune response. A crystal-derived structure of the two N-terminal short consensus repeat (SCR1-2) domains of CR2 in complex with C3d has previously been elucidated. However, a number of biochemical and biophysical studies targeting both CR2 and C3d appear to be in conflict with these structural data. Previous mutagenesis and heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy studies directed toward the C3d-binding site on CR2 have indicated that the CR2-C3d cocrystal structure may represent an encounter/intermediate or nonphysiological complex. With regard to the CR2-binding site on C3d, mutagenesis studies by Isenman and coworkers [Isenman, D. E., Leung, E., Mackay, J. D., Bagby, S. & van den Elsen, J. M. H. (2010). Mutational analyses reveal that the staphylococcal immune evasion molecule Sbi and complement receptor 2 (CR2) share overlapping contact residues on C3d: Implications for the controversy regarding the CR2/C3d cocrystal structure. J. Immunol. 184, 1946-1955] have implicated an electronegative "concave" surface on C3d in the binding process. This surface is discrete from the CR2-C3d interface identified in the crystal structure. We generated a total of 18 mutations targeting the two (X-ray crystallographic- and mutagenesis-based) proposed CR2 SCR1-2 binding sites on C3d. Using ELISA analyses, we were able to assess binding of mutant forms of C3d to CR2. Mutations directed toward the concave surface of C3d result in substantially compromised CR2 binding. By contrast, targeting the CR2-C3d interface identified in the cocrystal structure and the surrounding area results in significantly lower levels of disruption in binding. Molecular modeling approaches used to investigate disparities between the biochemical data and the X-ray structure of the CR2-C3d cocrystal result in highest-scoring solutions in which CR2 SCR1-2 is docked within the concave surface of C3d.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2010; 404(4):697-710. · 3.91 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human complement receptor type 2 (CR2 and CD21) is a cell membrane receptor, with 15 or 16 extracellular short consensus repeats (SCRs), that promotes B lymphocyte responses and bridges innate and acquired immunity. The most distally located SCRs, SCR1-2, mediate the interaction of CR2 with its four known ligands (C3d, EBV gp350, IFNalpha, and CD23). To ascertain specific interacting residues on CR2, we utilized NMR studies wherein gp350 and IFNalpha were titrated into (15)N-labeled SCR1-2, and chemical shift changes indicative of specific inter-molecular interactions were identified. With backbone assignments made, the chemical shift changes were mapped onto the crystal structure of SCR1-2. With regard to gp350, the binding region of CR2 is primarily focused on SCR1 and the inter-SCR linker, specifically residues Asn(11), Arg(13), Ala(22), Arg(28), Ser(32), Arg(36), Lys(41), Lys(57), Tyr(64), Lys(67), Tyr(68), Arg(83), Gly(84), and Arg(89). With regard to IFNalpha, the binding is similar to the CR2-C3d interaction with specific residues being Arg(13), Tyr(16), Arg(28), Ser(42), Lys(48), Lys(50), Tyr(68), Arg(83), Gly(84), and Arg(89). We also report thermodynamic properties of each ligand-receptor pair determined using isothermal titration calorimetry. The CR2-C3d interaction was characterized as a two-mode binding interaction with K(d) values of 0.13 and 160 microm, whereas the CR2-gp350 and CR2-IFNalpha interactions were characterized as single site binding events with affinities of 0.014 and 0.035 microm, respectively. The compilation of chemical binding maps suggests specific residues on CR2 that are uniquely important in each of these three binding interactions.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2010; 285(35):27251-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Immunology - MOL IMMUNOL. 01/2010; 47(13):2258-2258.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An accurate determination of the intrinsic hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of amino acid side-chains in peptides and proteins is fundamental in understanding many area of research, including protein folding and stability, peptide and protein function, protein-protein interactions and peptide/protein oligomerization, as well as the design of protocols for purification and characterization of peptides and proteins. Our definition of intrinsic hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of side-chains is the maximum possible hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of side-chains in the absence of any nearest-neighbor effects and/or any conformational effects of the polypeptide chain that prevent full expression of side-chain hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity. In this review, we have compared an experimentally derived intrinsic side-chain hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity scale generated from RP-HPLC retention behavior of de novo designed synthetic model peptides at pH 2 and pH 7 with other RP-HPLC-derived scales, as well as scales generated from classic experimental and calculation-based methods of octanol/water partitioning of Nalpha-acetyl-amino-acid amides or free energy of transfer of free amino acids. Generally poor correlation was found with previous RP-HPLC-derived scales, likely due to the random nature of the peptide mixtures in terms of varying peptide size, conformation and frequency of particular amino acids. In addition, generally poor correlation with the classical approaches served to underline the importance of the presence of a polypeptide backbone when generating intrinsic values. We have shown that the intrinsic scale determined here is in full agreement with the structural characteristics of amino acid side-chains.
    Biopolymers 09/2009; 92(6):573-95. · 2.88 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Complement receptor 2 (CR2, CD21) is a cell membrane protein, with 15 or 16 extracellular short consensus repeats (SCRs), that promotes B lymphocyte responses and bridges innate and acquired immunity. The most distally located SCRs (SCR1-2) mediate the interaction of CR2 with its four known ligands (C3d, Epstein-Barr virus gp350, interferon-alpha, and CD23). Inhibitory monoclonal antibodies against SCR1-2 block binding of all ligands. To develop ligand-specific inhibitors that would also assist in identifying residues unique to each receptor-ligand interaction, phage were selected from randomly generated libraries by panning with recombinant SCR1-2, followed by specific ligand-driven elution. Derived peptides were tested by competition ELISA. One peptide, C3dp1 (APQHLSSQYSRT) exhibited ligand-specific inhibition at midmicromolar IC(50). C3d was titrated into (15)N-labeled SCR1-2, which revealed chemical shift changes indicative of specific intermolecular interactions. With backbone assignments made, the chemical shift changes were mapped onto the crystal structure of SCR1-2. With regard to C3d, the binding surface includes regions of SCR1, SCR2, and the inter-SCR linker, specifically residues Arg(13), Tyr(16), Arg(28), Tyr(29), Ser(32), Thr(34), Lys(48), Asp(56), Lys(57), Tyr(68), Arg(83), Gly(84), Asn(101), Asn(105), and Ser(109). SCR1 and SCR2 demonstrated distinct binding modes. The CR2 binding surface incorporating SCR1 is inconsistent with a previous x-ray CR2-C3d co-crystal analysis but consistent with mutagenesis, x-ray neutron scattering, and inhibitory monoclonal antibody epitope mapping. Titration with C3dp1 yielded chemical shift changes (Arg(13), Tyr(16), Thr(34), Lys(48), Asp(56), Lys(57), Tyr(68), Arg(83), Gly(84), Asn(105), and Ser(109)) overlapping with C3d, indicating that C3dp1 interacts at the same CR2 site as C3d.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2009; 284(14):9513-20. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Immunology - MOL IMMUNOL. 01/2008; 45(16):4096-4096.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The value of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and the field of proteomics would be greatly enhanced by accurate prediction of retention times of peptides of known composition. The present study investigates the hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of amino acid side-chains at the N- and C-termini of peptides while varying the functional end-groups at the termini. We substituted all 20 naturally occurring amino acids at the N- and C-termini of a model peptide sequence, where the functional end-groups were N(alpha)-acetyl-X- and N(alpha)-amino-X- at the N-terminus and -X-C(alpha)-carboxyl and -X-C(alpha)-amide at the C-terminus. Amino acid coefficients were subsequently derived from the RP-HPLC retention behaviour of these peptides and compared to each other as well as to coefficients determined in the centre of the peptide chain (internal coefficients). Coefficients generated from residues substituted at the C-terminus differed most (between the -X-C(alpha)-carboxyl and -X-C(alpha)-amide peptide series) for hydrophobic side-chains. A similar result was seen for the N(alpha)-acetyl-X- and N(alpha)-amino-X- peptide series, where the largest differences in coefficient values were observed for hydrophobic side-chains. Coefficients derived from substitutions at the C-terminus for hydrophobic amino acids were dramatically different compared to internal coefficients for hydrophobic side-chains, ranging from 17.1 min for Trp to 4.8 min for Cys. In contrast, coefficients derived from substitutions at the N-terminus showed relatively small differences from the internal coefficients. Subsequent prediction of peptide retention time, within an error of just 0.4 min, was achieved by a predictive algorithm using a combination of internal coefficients and coefficients for the C-terminal residues. For prediction of peptide retention time, the sum of the coefficients must include internal and terminal coefficients.
    Journal of Chromatography A 03/2007; 1141(2):212-25. · 4.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) has proved extremely versatile over the past 25 yr for the isolation and purification of peptides varying widely in their sources, quantity and complexity. This article covers the major modes of HPLC utilized for peptides (size-exclusion, ion-exchange, and reversed-phase), as well as demonstrating the potential of a novel mixed-mode hydrophilic interaction/cation-exchange approach developed in this laboratory. In addition to the value of these HPLC modes for peptide separations, the value of various HPLC techniques for structural characterization of peptides and proteins will be addressed, e.g., assessment of oligomerization state of peptides/proteins by size-exclusion chromatography and monitoring the hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of amphipathic alpha-helical peptides, a vital precursor for the development of novel antimicrobial peptides. The value of capillary electrophoresis for peptide separations is also demonstrated. Preparative reversed-phase chromatography purification protocols for sample loads of up to 200 mg on analytical columns and instrumentation are introduced for both peptides and recombinant proteins.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 02/2007; 386:3-55. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Side-chain backbone interactions (or "effects") between nearest neighbours may severely restrict the conformations accessible to a polypeptide chain and thus represent the first step in protein folding. We have quantified nearest-neighbour effects (i to i+1) in peptides through reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) of model synthetic peptides, where L- and D-amino acids were substituted at the N-terminal end of the peptide sequence, adjacent to a L-Leu residue. These nearest-neighbour effects (expressed as the difference in retention times of L- and D-peptide diastereomers at pHs 2 and 7) were frequently dramatic, depending on the type of side-chain adjacent to the L-Leu residue, albeit such effects were independent of mobile phase conditions. No nearest-neighbour effects were observed when residue i is adjacent to a Gly residue. Calculation of minimum energy conformations of selected peptides supported the view that, whether a L- or D-amino acid is substituted adjacent to L-Leu, its orientation relative to this bulky Leu side-chain represents the most energetically favourable configuration. We believe that such energetically favourable, and different, configurations of L- and D-peptide diastereomers affect their respective interactions with a hydrophobic stationary phase, which are thus quantified by different RP-HPLC retention times. Side-chain hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity coefficients were generated in the presence of these nearest-neighbour effects and, despite the relative difference in such coefficients generated from peptides substituted with L- or D-amino acids, the relative difference in hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity between different amino acids in the L- or D-series is maintained. Overall, our results demonstrate that such nearest-neighbour effects can clearly restrict conformational space of an amino acid side-chain in a polypeptide chain.
    Journal of Chromatography A 09/2006; 1123(2):212-24. · 4.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    James M Kovacs, Colin T Mant, Robert S Hodges
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Understanding the hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of amino acid side chains in peptides/proteins is one the most important aspects of biology. Though many hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity scales have been generated, an "intrinsic" scale has yet to be achieved. "Intrinsic" implies the maximum possible hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of side chains in the absence of nearest-neighbor or conformational effects that would decrease the full expression of the side-chain hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity when the side chain is in a polypeptide chain. Such a scale is the fundamental starting point for determining the parameters that affect side-chain hydrophobicity and for quantifying such effects in peptides and proteins. A 10-residue peptide sequence, Ac-X-G-A-K-G-A-G-V-G-L-amide, was designed to enable the determination of the intrinsic values, where position X was substituted by all 20 naturally occurring amino acids and norvaline, norleucine, and ornithine. The coefficients were determined by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography using six different mobile phase conditions involving different pH values (2, 5, and 7), ion-pairing reagents, and the presence and absence of different salts. The results show that the intrinsic hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of amino acid side chains in peptides (proteins) is independent of pH, buffer conditions, or whether C(8) or C(18) reversed-phase columns were used for 17 side chains (Gly, Ala, Cys, Pro, Val, nVal, Leu, nLeu, Ile, Met, Tyr, Phe, Trp, Ser, Thr, Asn, and Gln) and dependent on pH and buffer conditions, including the type of salt or ion-pairing reagent for potentially charged side chains (Orn, Lys, His, Arg, Asp, and Glu).
    Biopolymers 02/2006; 84(3):283-97. · 2.88 Impact Factor