Author(s): Navratil JS, Watkins SC, Wisnieski JJ, Ahearn JM
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Abstract Complement protein C1q is required to maintain immune tolerance. The molecular mechanism responsible for this link has not been determined. We have previously demonstrated that C1q binds directly and specifically to surface blebs of apoptotic human keratinocytes, suggesting that it may participate in clearance of self Ags generated during programmed cell death. Here, we demonstrate that C1q also binds directly to apoptotic blebs of vascular endothelial cells and PBMC. These apoptotic cells are recognized by the globular heads of C1q, which bind specifically to the surface blebs, and deposition increases as the blebs mature on the cell surface. These observations suggest that C1q may participate in the clearance of apoptotic cells from the circulation and from the walls of the vascular lumen. The interaction of surface blebs with the globular heads of C1q suggests that surface blebs may be capable of directly activating the classical pathway of complement under certain circumstances, generating C4- and C3-derived ligands for receptors such as CR1, CR2, CR3, and CR4. Appropriate recognition of apoptotic cells by C1q and targeted clearance of the molecular contents of surface blebs to complement receptors may be critical for the maintenance of immune tolerance.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis