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PLoS One. 2019 Apr 8;14(4):e0214514. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214514. eCollection 2019.

CD46 knock-out using CRISPR/Cas9 editing of hTERT immortalized human cells modulates complement activation.

Author information

Evercyte GmbH, Vienna, Austria.
Horizon Genomics GmbH, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Medicine III, Division of Nephrology and Dialysis, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Biotechnology, BOKU Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Austrian Cluster for Tissue Regeneration, Vienna, Austria.
Christian Doppler Laboratory for Biotechnology of Skin Aging, Vienna, Austria.


The kidney is especially sensitive to diseases associated with overactivation of the complement system. While most of these diseases affect kidney glomeruli and the microvasculature, there is also evidence for tubulointerstitial deposition of complement factors. Complement inactivating factors on cell membranes comprise CD55, CD59 and CD46, which is also termed membrane cofactor protein (MCP). CD46 has been described as localized to glomeruli, but especially also to proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTECs). However, human cell culture models to assess CD46 function on RPTECs are still missing. Therefore, we here performed gene editing of RPTEC/TERT1 cells generating a monoclonal CD46-/- cell line that did not show changes of the primary cell like characteristics. In addition, factor I and CD46-mediated cleavage of C4b into soluble C4c and membrane deposited C4d was clearly reduced in the knock-out cell line as compared to the maternal cells. Thus, human CD46-/- proximal tubular epithelial cells will be of interest to dissect the roles of the epithelium and the kidney in various complement activation mediated tubulointerstitial pathologies or in studying CD46 mediated uropathogenic internalization of bacteria. In addition, this gives proof-of-principle, that telomerized cells can be used in the generation of knock-out, knock-in or any kind of reporter cell lines without losing the primary cell characteristics of the maternal cells.

Conflict of interest statement

JG, and RGV are co-founders and shareholders of Evercyte GmbH. RGV, MWi, and TF are employees of Evercyte GmbH. TB and DL are employees of Horizon Genomics. Neither Evercyte GmbH nor Horizon Genomics GmbH played a role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript and only provided financial support in the form of authors' salaries and research materials. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. All other authors declare no conflict of interest. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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