The Sle1c subinterval on distal murine chromosome 1 confers loss of tolerance to chromatin. Cr2, which encodes complement receptors 1 and 2 (CR1/CR2; CD35/CD21), is a strong candidate gene for lupus susceptibility within this interval based on structural and functional alterations in its protein products. CR1-related protein/gene Y (Crry) lies 10 kb from Cr2 and encodes a ubiquitously expressed complement regulatory protein that could also play a role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus. Crry derived from B6.Sle1c congenic mice migrated at a higher m.w. by SDS-PAGE compared with B6 Crry, as a result of differential glycosylation. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in the first short consensus repeat of Sle1c Crry introduced a novel N-linked glycosylation site likely responsible for this structural alteration. Five additional single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the signal peptide and short consensus repeat 1 of Sle1c Crry were identified. However, the cellular expression of B6 and B6.Sle1c Crry and their ability to regulate the classical pathway of complement were not significantly different. Although soluble Sle1c Crry regulated the alternative pathway of complement more efficiently than B6 Crry, as a membrane protein, it regulated the alternative pathway equivalently to B6 Crry. These data fail to provide evidence for a functional effect of the structural alterations in Sle1c Crry and suggest that the role of Cr2 in the Sle1c autoimmune phenotypes can be isolated in recombinant congenic mice containing both genes.
The complement cascade is an important part of the innate immune system, but pathological activation of this system causes tissue injury in several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including immune complex glomerulonephritis. We examined whether mice with targeted deletion of the gene for factor B (fB(-/-) mice) and selective deficiency in the alternative pathway of complement are protected from injury in the nephrotoxic serum (NTS) nephritis model of antibody-mediated glomerulonephritis. When the acute affects of the anti-glomerular basement membrane antibody were assessed, fB(-/-) mice developed a degree of injury similar to wild-type controls. If the mice were presensitized with sheep IgG or if the mice were followed for 5 mo postinjection, however, the fB(-/-) mice developed milder injury than wild-type mice. The immune response of fB(-/-) mice exposed to sheep IgG was similar to that of wild-type mice, but the fB(-/-) mice had less glomerular C3 deposition and lower levels of albuminuria. These results demonstrate that fB(-/-) mice are not significantly protected from acute heterologous injury in NTS nephritis but are protected from autologous injury in response to a planted glomerular antigen. Thus, although the glomerulus is resistant to antibody-initiated, alternative pathway-mediated injury, inhibition of this complement pathway may be beneficial in chronic immune complex-mediated diseases.
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