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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lysine 322 in the human IgG3 C(H)2 domain is crucial for antibody dependent complement activation.

The classical complement activation cascade of the immune system is initiated by multivalent binding of its first component, C1q, to the Fc region of immunoglobulins in immune complexes. The C1q binding site on mouse IgG2b has been shown to contain the amino acids Glu 318, Lys 320 and Lys 322 in the C(H)2 domain (Duncan, A.R., Winter, G.,1988. The binding site for C1q on IgG. Nature 322 738-740). Identical or closely related motifs are found on all IgGs in all species, and the binding site has therefore been thought to be universal. However, the results from another study indicate that the site is different in human IgG1 molecules (Morgan, A., Jones, N.D., Nesbitt, A.M., et al., 1995. The N-terminal end of the C(H)2 domain of chimeric human IgG1 anti-HLA-DR is necessary for C1q, Fc gamma RI and Fc gamma RIII binding. Immunology 86 319-324). To determine the site(s) responsible for complement activation in anti-NIP-mouse/human IgG3 antibodies, we have mutated amino acids Lys 276, Tyr 278, Asp 280, Glu 318, Lys 320 and Lys 322 in two beta-strands in the C(H)2 domains of human IgG3. In addition, we mutated the Glu 333, which resides in close proximity to the postulated C1q- binding site of mouse IgG2b, as well as Leu 235 in the lower hinge region. All mutants were tested in Antibody Dependent Complement Mediated Lysis (ADCML)(4) assays, where the antigen concentration on target cells was varied and human serum was complement source. Only the mutants that lacked the positively charged side chain of lysine in position 322 showed strong reduction in ADCML, particularly at low antigen density on target cells. Alanine scanning of positions 318 and 320 did not affect ADCML, contrary to what was observed for mouse IgG2b. Neither did a leucine to glutamic acid mutation in position 235 have the effect that has been reported for human IgG1. These results suggest that the complement binding site on human IgG3 molecules is different from that found on mouse IgG2b, and possibly on human IgG1 as well. Thus the contact site may not be conserved.[1]


  1. Lysine 322 in the human IgG3 C(H)2 domain is crucial for antibody dependent complement activation. Thommesen, J.E., Michaelsen, T.E., Løset GA, n.u.l.l., Sandlie, I., Brekke, O.H. Mol. Immunol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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