Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Chemical chaperones curcumin and 4-phenylbutyric acid improve secretion of mutant factor H R127H by fibroblasts from a factor H-deficient patient.

PMID 22904312


Factor H (FH) is one of the most important regulatory proteins of the alternative pathway of the complement system. Patients with FH deficiency have a higher risk for development of infections and kidney diseases because of the uncontrolled activation and subsequent depletion of the central regulatory component C3 of the complement system. In this study, we investigated the consequences of the Arg(127)His mutation in FH (FH(R127H)) previously described in an FH-deficient patient, on the secretion of this protein by skin fibroblasts in vitro. We observed that, although the patient cells stimulated with IFN-γ were able to synthesize FH(R127H), the mutant protein was largely retained within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), whereas normal human fibroblasts stimulated with IFN-γ secrete FH without retention in the ER. Moreover, the retention of FH(R127H) provoked enlargement of ER cisterns after treatment with IFN-γ. A similar ER retention was observed in Cos-7 cells expressing the mutant FH(R127H) protein. Despite this deficiency in secretion, we show that the FH(R127H) mutant is capable of functioning as a cofactor in the Factor I-mediated cleavage of C3. We then evaluated whether a treatment could increase the secretion of FH, and observed that the patient's fibroblasts treated with the chemical chaperones 4-phenylbutiric acid or curcumin increased the secretion rate of FH. We propose that these chemical chaperones could be used as alternative therapeutic agents to increase FH plasma levels in FH-deficient patients caused by secretion delay of this regulatory protein.