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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Oct 10;114(41):10948-10953. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1707364114. Epub 2017 Sep 26.

Complement-activation fragment C4a mediates effector functions by binding as untethered agonist to protease-activated receptors 1 and 4.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
2
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; d.ricklin@unibas.ch lambris@upenn.edu.
3
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

C4a is a small protein released from complement component C4 upon activation of the complement system's classical and lectin pathways, which are important constituents of innate immune surveillance. Despite the structural similarity between C4a and well-described anaphylatoxins C3a and C5a, the binding partner and biological function of C4a have remained elusive. Using a cell-based reporter assay, we screened C4a against a panel of both known and orphan G protein-coupled receptors and now provide evidence that C4a is a ligand for protease-activated receptor (PAR)1 and PAR4. Whereas C4a showed no activity toward known anaphylatoxin receptors, it acted as an agonist for both PAR1 and PAR4 with nanomolar activity. In human endothelial cells, ERK activation by C4a was mediated through both PAR1 and PAR4 in a Gαi-independent signaling pathway. Like other PAR1 activators, C4a induced calcium mobilization through the PAR1/Gαq/PLCβ signaling axis. Moreover, C4a increased stress fiber formation and enhanced endothelial permeability, both of which were reduced by PAR1 antagonists. In sum, our study identifies C4a as an untethered agonist for PAR1 and PAR4 with effects on cellular activation and endothelial permeability, thereby revealing another instance of cross-talk between the complement system and other host defense pathways.

KEYWORDS:

C4a; PAR1; PAR4; complement; endothelial cells

PMID:
28973891
PMCID:
PMC5642699
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1707364114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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