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J Immunol. 2001 Dec 1;167(11):6374-81.

Beta-amyloid fibrils activate the C1 complex of complement under physiological conditions: evidence for a binding site for A beta on the C1q globular regions.

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Laboratoire d'Enzymologie Mol├ęculaire, Institut de Biologie Structurale, Grenoble, France.


Previous studies based on the use of serum as a source of C have shown that fibrils of beta-amyloid peptides that accumulate in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease have the ability to bind C1q and activate the classical C pathway. The objective of the present work was to test the ability of fibrils of peptide Abeta1-42 to trigger direct activation of the C1 complex and to carry out further investigations on the site(s) of C1q involved in the interaction with Abeta1-42. Using C1 reconstituted from purified C1q, C1r, and C1s, it was shown that Abeta1-42 fibrils trigger direct C1 activation both in the absence of C1 inhibitor and at C1 inhibitor:C1 ratios up to 8:0, i.e., under conditions consistent with the physiological context in serum. The truncated peptide Abeta12-42 and the double mutant (D7N, E11Q) of Abeta1-42 did not yield C1 activation, providing further evidence that the C1 binding site of beta-amyloid fibrils is located in the acidic N-terminal 1-11 region of the Abeta1-42 peptide. Binding studies performed using a solid phase assay provided strong evidence that C1q interacts with Abeta1-42 fibrils through its C-terminal globular regions. In contrast to previous studies based on a different experimental design, no significant involvement of the C1q collagen-like domain was detected. These findings were confirmed by additional experiments based on C1 activation and C4 consumption assays. These observations provide direct evidence of the ability of beta-amyloid fibrils to trigger activation of the classical C pathway and further support the hypothesis that C activation may be a component of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

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