The Journal of biological chemistry

Metabolism of activated complement component C3 is mediated by the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein/alpha(2)-macroglobulin receptor.

PMID 10608878


Complement component 3 (C3) and alpha(2)-macroglobulin evolved from a common, evolutionarily old, ancestor gene. Low density lipoprotein-receptor-related protein/alpha(2)-macroglobulin receptor (LRP/alpha(2)MR), a member of the low density lipoprotein receptor family, is responsible for the clearance of alpha(2)-macroglobulin-protease complexes. In this study, we examined whether C3 has conserved affinity for LRP/alpha(2)MR. Ligand blot experiments with human (125)I-C3 on endosomal proteins show binding to a 600-kDa protein, indistinguishable from LRP/alpha(2)MR by the following criteria: it is competed by receptor-associated protein (the 39-kDa receptor-associated protein that impairs binding of all ligands to LRP/alpha(2)MR) and by lactoferrin and Pseudomonas exotoxin, other well known ligands of the multifunctional receptor. Binding of C3 is sensitive to reduction of the receptor and is Ca(2+)-dependent. All these features are typical for cysteine-rich binding repeats of the low density lipoprotein receptor family. In LRP/alpha(2)MR, they are found in four cassettes (2, 8, 10, and 11 repeats). Ligand blotting to chicken LR8 demonstrates that a single 8-fold repeat is sufficient for binding. Confocal microscopy visualizes initial surface labeling of human fibroblasts incubated with fluorescent labeled C3, which changes after 5 min to an intracellular vesicular staining pattern that is abolished in the presence of receptor-associated protein. Cell uptake is abolished in mouse fibroblasts deficient in LRP/alpha(2)MR. Native plasma C3 is not internalized. We demonstrate that the capacity to internalize C3 is saturable and exhibits a K(D) value of 17 nM. After intravenous injection, rat hepatocytes accumulate C3 in sedimentable vesicles with a density typical for endosomes. In conclusion, our ligand blot and uptake studies demonstrate the competence of the LRP/alpha(2)MR to bind and endocytose C3 and provide evidence for an LRP/alpha(2)MR-mediated system participating in C3 metabolism.

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